Emotions bind us. Sleep is for the weak. Dreams are fleeting messages.
|Restless Sleep and Fleeting Dreams|
When I lie anywhere, embraced by the comfort of my bed or rocked by the rattle of the moving train, waiting for my consciousness to slip, I scrutinize significant past events: the unacceptable report card, the girl I still haven’t talked to yet, the friendship finally broken. I fantasize about my future and what if’s. What kind of person would I be when I grow up? Where am I going with my life? Often I dwell upon the thought of being an angel, perfect and not saddled by emotions as I rule the skies from above.
On average, a person spends a third of their lives sleeping. The biological benefits of sleep, however, are often less clear than those of food, water, and exercise. Nevertheless, the undeniable appeal of its hypnosis draws us all every day. Physically, sleep is just hours spent every night doing nothing but souring our breath, drying our throats, and messing our hair as we sink into the world of our dreams.
Successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations flash before us. Eyes remain closed and the air is still as virtual nukes go off in our minds and dazzling phenomena occur in our subconscious awareness. Many times, when I wake up, I wake up to the vivid memory of myself dreaming but when I lie on my bed pondering, the dream itself suddenly becomes a slippery, troublesome thing to grasp, the events and truth of the dream in the unreachable, undusted edge of my mind. The dream, like a late sneeze, tickles its way up my awareness, but hesitates to show its true nature at the last moment. The vague nature of the dream lurks in my head as I attempt to learn of its roots, but almost always, it is an itch that cannot be reached.
Dreams and nightmares are most often associated with anxiety. This is why dreams are sometimes the worst. I do remember that as a child, I often had a recurring dream of me losing my parents as I screamed hopelessly into a crowd of people, backs turned. I would wake up sweaty, panting and afraid to close my eyes again. My parents, my mom in particular, were my “everything” as a child and I was scared to lose them. After checking to see that my parents were still alive, rather than sleep, I often chose to either stare in the darkness of the night for hours on end or ask my little brother to sleep with me.
I am caught in a vicious cycle of sleep. I stay up to study for the test or two that always seem to be given too frequently, and do the projects that always are put off to the due date. I come home exhausted and I nap an unsatisfying sleep. I force myself to wake up at night to answer the several IM boxes that were left unattended and start my homework. When I go to bed late, the troublesome events of my day and the stray thoughts of tomorrow begin to ferment. My consciousness, once again begins its daily drift from my mind, but at the same time I feel tension in my lower abdomen that crawls its way up to my chest and squeeze my heart. I feel my heart begin to beat at an inhumane, unsustainable pace. My body is paralyzed. My arms are pinned by imaginary boulders, my lips, bound, my eyes, taped shut. When I wake from these episodes, I often wake with a huge gasp for air like during my childhood nightmares, my heart somehow returning to a lazy pace. I went to my doctor once to discuss this. He told me that even though the fear was real, the danger wasn’t. I was just suffering from sleep paralysis. I was advised to get more sleep and “better manage my stress”. After seeing him, I arrived home tired from the long day and napped.
When the spring break of 2011 approached, I slept little the night before to wrap up my unfinished essays, one of which was excused for over two weeks. This was because I planned to sleep over with some of my close friends. Even though we ended up just sleeping under two hours, it was a time when I finally cut myself loose. That night, I tucked away thoughts of school and thoughts of the friendship that I wished didn’t end. Unlike the nights when I stayed up, flustered by the heavy loads of work and burdened with parts of my failing social life, I actually slept a sound, two hour sleep and bathed in its reprieve even if I woke up quite groggily from not getting enough of it.
When I arrived home after the “sleepover”, I crashed. I lied in my bed for fourteen hours sleeping a blissful, harmonious sleep. I remember the dream I dreamt so clearly the next morning, that because I was afraid to forget it, I privately blogged it on my Tumblr. In it, I was surrounded by everyone: friends, enemies, people whose names I only knew. It was my birthday. Notably, there was a short Korean girl, Jennifer, who I didn’t really know and there was a girl, Christine, who I felt robbed me of a once-close friend. In real life, Jennifer is secretive, so much so that she would refuse to reveal her former crushes to her friends until maybe a year later. I always wanted to know her secrets. In the dream, Christine locked lips with a boy I suspected was being crushed on by someone else, threw insults at me and revealed all my personal secrets, but Jennifer stepped in and decimated her. I woke up, realizing that the friend who would defend me like Jennifer did was no longer there for me but for those fourteen hours, even though it was a different girl, Jennifer was that kind of friend, and I knew all about her. For those fourteen hours, Christine was the slut everyone and I hated.
In Final Fantasy VII, there is a character, Angeal, who is an experimented bio-soldier. He regards himself as a monster because of his origins and his wings, and becomes a traitor. Zack, his former pupil, soon confronts him to question his motives. Zack claims that the wings “weren’t the wings of a monster”, but “angel’s wings.” To this, Angeal questions what “angels fight for” and what “angels dream of”. Turning Zack’s claim against him, Angeal says that angels dream of one thing – “to be human”,
Still, when I’m not up doing homework or exploring the internet, I stay up wishing for my soul to be cleansed by divine energy as I rose up, sprouting an angel’s wings. I would wash away the problems of my life, then those of my friends, then those of the world. I would put to sleep, the many others who stay awake at night sweaty, teary, or both. But maybe God or his angelic followers would never give me or any human that kind of power because maybe angels do long to be human, for their emotions. Maybe, emotions don’t saddle us. It’s obvious that they make us what we are, but that’s why we need them, even with the pain they bring because they also bring us our joys, our smiles. Sometimes, when I’m going to sleep angry, I’ll punch the wall next to my bed, wonder why I did this or that, or why I let her go. I’ll criticize myself a little bit, the rare “manly” tear here, the occasional silent prayer to the deaf angels there, but I will know that it is because swirling and churning inside me, both a blessing and a curse, I have my emotions, my dreams.
Yes, I still have my dreams.