It’s not really a disease, of course; I just tend to function better at night, when the world is quiet and dark. I get frustrated by this – I must sleep. But insomnia has plagued me off and on since I was a child; I sleep when I shouldn’t and then cannot rest when I should. Like now – it’s close to midnight, it’s garbage day tomorrow, plus work, plus children, and all I want to do is keep planning because for some strange reason planning is fun for me. The children are in bed; the dishes need doing, though, laundry waits, marking… but exhaustion is hovering behind me, too. I will fall into bed, dreading the quick arrival of morning – I do not like short nights. I would rather stay up and up, than get fewer than 8 hours, which is not a good idea and an eccentric thought. But logically, I know it makes more sense to sleep. So, I will feed the fish, turn off the lights, brush my teeth, put in my night-guard to protect what is left of my molars, and engage my meditative breathing. And the world will spin on through the darkness.
In the novel I am currently writing, the heroine (Rayvin) returns to her hometown after a relationship goes sour, both to help out a friend and to start over again. Now here’s the problem: should her friend be her own age (which is in the draft in progress), or should this woman be an older individual – like a surrogate mother, or a grandmother-figure? Which would be more interesting to a reader? What would grab you in a paranormal romance – a woman saving her best friend, or saving the woman who was like her own mother?
I just have to hold out as long as I can, writing when I can… but that is the career I would like to have.
I was watching the Princess Bride again, and I was finally able to articulate – after twenty-odd years of frequent viewings – a suspicion I have held all along: that the evil Prince and the Six-Fingered Man were lovers. My husband thinks I am over-analyzing, but think about it: they refer to each other familiarly, remarking on concern for each other’s health, in deeply personal tones and facial expressions; Humperdink clearly does not love or have any attraction for his fiance, the Princess Bride / Buttercup – we never see him kiss her or show any affection towards her. He’s more affectionate toward the Count! Yes, I’m overthinking it, but it would certainly add another layer to the story, wouldn’t it?
We love those stories, don’t we? We watch them on award shows, amazed that the risk they took to follow their dreams paid off… we read about them in magazines and see them interviewed, those individuals who put aside security for passion, and who made it work. I wondered, the other day, about the stories we don’t hear. We don’t like them, because we want stories of hope instead of discouragement. And yet the number of those who can dream and pursue it is probably staggeringly small – logically, confined to those nations or regions in which such things are possible. If you live in a place that is not safe, where your daily needs are met with great risk to yourself or others, your aspects at education few, then the advice to follow your dream is rather moot. You are in survival mode.
Now, how does that relate to myself? I feel like I’m in survival mode. I’m in a job which depresses me more than it makes me happy – not uncommon, I’m sure. I live in a safe, free country, but I have responsibilities which lock me into place. I cannot leave my job – my family would suffer. So as much as I am unhappy, I am making the best of it (difficult to do on a hard day like today turned out to be…), and hoping that the future will get better. Sometimes I take stock of what I am, what I can do, and wonder what a change in career could mean. I start to understand the panic that people feel who have been downsized after a decade or more in the same job.
I would like, one day, to do my master’s and then my phd. To do some meaningful research, work at a university or a college, teaching people who really want to be learning. I teach young people who want to learn, but more often I have students who seem to just be killing time, and that’s what brings me down. I have to try not to let it happen, but I digress. I had once thought of trying to get into radio, or advertising. After all, teaching is selling, to a large degree. Museums also interest me. But these jobs are sparse, it’s not a good time to change things up; I have seniority, pension, benefits. I am fortunate, I know it. I just get tired of feeling unhappy. I should be satisfied – I am grateful. But how long can one go on feeling unhappy? Trapped? When you’re an adolescent, you still see all these doors open, possibilities… when you’re an adult, some of them seem to close, and then that’s it. I know someone might say that’s not true.
Maybe I just need to boost my serotonin levels. New medication has an increase coming on Sunday.
Part of struggling with depression is dealing with the desire to sleep all the time. It’s just easier than anything else, and I love dreaming – I am a lucid dreamer, I have learned how to read in my dreams, and often I get great ideas for writing in my dreams. I just want to stay in bed, but as a temporary single mom, it’s not possible. On snowy days, though, when the last thing I want to do is go outside because I’ve had enough of my coat and I’m sick of my boots… it’s harder to ignore the soft, comfy pillow and warm comforter waiting to cuddle me.
I dearly wish that I could take my family some place hot and tropical this spring, or at least to a fun place away from home. Two years ago, we all went to Toronto over a few days of March Break, and visited the Ontario Science Centre. They had a terrific time. Unfortunately, my husband is still in school becoming a paramedic, so we’re on my income only, plus a significant portion of that is supporting his education – the good news is, his course is paid for, but the bad news is that it’s costing an astronomical amount in gas for the car – he must travel an hour and a half every day, one way. Instead of three hours of driving he’s been trying to stay some nights with a friend, which does help, but he can’t always do that. So we’re trapped by circumstance (like so many others, I know)… I also realized that I’m whining, when I am lucky to get the week off at all – the majority of parents in my community don’t get time off at March Break. I should be grateful just to get the time. And I am – I’ll be able to do some decent spring cleaning. It’s just hard when you hear colleagues talking about their plans for travel. And students – a lot of parents who are able to take the time off will travel with their children, too. I wonder what the statistics are, for numbers going on vacation for a week?
Strangely enough, I do my best creative thinking in the shower… something about the water washing away all other distractions, cleansing my aura… I need a tape recorder in my bathroom!