I was so tired last night that I lay down on my bed “for a few minutes” around 11:30 p.m. I don’t know why I always think it will be for just “a few minutes” because what always happens is that I wake up hours later, with the lights blaring in every room, fully clothed and still wearing my contact lenses. Last night was no exception, of course.
I woke up around 4:30 a.m., and then couldn’t really get back to sleep again because I started thinking about Wednesdays, which are, from now on, going to be one of my “days off”. 2009 was a disastrous year for me because I was so stressed out about money that I never really allowed myself to have “down time”. Of course, I did end up having “down time” but it was mainly because I got so frustrated and depressed by working myself too hard that I ended up being forced to stop working instead of actually choosing to have fun and relax. The main result of this was that I never really could have fun and relax because I always had this nagging feeling that I was slacking off and should be doing something else. This a pattern I’ve followed since I was eighteen, and I don’t know why it’s so fucking hard to break it. I don’t understand why I have a lot of self-knowledge, which I then proceed to ignore to fall back into my bad habits.
Anyway, I digress….so back to the main story. So, here I am at 4:30 a.m., thinking about Wednesdays, wondering how to spend them. I’d like to make Wednesday a “creativity day”, a time when I attempt to write a short story, or just do anything creative and fun. It terrifies me to think that I might “only” be a teacher. I know teaching is a noble profession, and it’s definitely something I enjoy and want to make part of my life forever, but I just don’t want it to be the only thing I do. I’d like to start writing fiction and perhaps also creative non-fiction but I don’t know if I have it in me. I mean, if I want to write, why the fuck haven’t I written anything before now?! I’m fucking thirty-two years old, for Christ’s sake! Surely I’d have started years ago if I truly had something to write about. Maybe I also want to write for all the wrong reasons…you know, just so I can say “Oh, I’m a writer” and think of myself as a creative person. Maybe I don’t have a creative bone in my body, and I should just accept the fact that I’m going to be a teacher, have kids, retire and then die, just like everybody fucking else in the world.
By 5:30 a.m., I was still wide awake, trying to come up with a short story idea (I thought about writing one which incorporates a Scottish myth) but still listening to the little voice deep inside me whispering “You can’t do it! You can’t do it! Who do you think you are?!” Eventually I remembered a woman in my book group who is a published novelist…but, well, her book is awful. I don’t want to be mean (ultimately I admire her for having the determination, will-power and work ethic to get the damn thing written…and she did also pace it well) but, oh my God, I just know I can write something better than a completely unrealistic, “feel good”, happy ending type novel. This calmed me down a wee bit and I was eventually able to fall asleep. Now, I know it isn’t very nice to use somebody else’s literary deficiences as a sleep aid or as a boost to my own creativity, but, hell, give me a damn break. I needed to get to sleep somehow.
Unfortunately, I was then re-awakened at 6:30 a.m. by a text from a friend of mine in Berlin, a painter. It was strange that she should text me just after I’d been agonizing about being creative. I have always really envied her life and creativity because she’s devoted herself to her art since a very young age, and moves in bohemian, artistic circles. I wouldn’t say that I want to be her, but I have always wanted to live my life more like her. Her text said that a friend of hers (an annoying, pretentious, rich English girl whom I’ve never liked) accused her of stealing her painting ideas. I’ve never really understood why my friend likes this girl so much (I suppose they must just have some sort of connection through painting), but their frienship has always been so fraught with stress and drama, so it seems like far too much effort to me. God, there is enough pain in the world without having friends who add to it! My friend also told me that a famous gallery owner had come to see her show, had wined, dined and bedded her, all while promising her the world…and, then…neglected to get back in touch again.
I don’t know if there’s any significance in receiving a text from my “creative friend” just after I’d been agonizing about my own creativity. Probably not. Probably it means nothing. Or maybe the text was to remind me that writing, and being creative, isn’t going to be a panacea for all that it is wrong with my life. Who knows.
I finally fell asleep again and had the weirdest dream. I won’t go into too much detail (reading about other people’s dreams is kinda boring, huh?) but suffice it to say that I was a trainee teacher in a school that was being taken over by strange, evil orange tabby cats (in the vein of Garfield). They kept appearing, then vanishing, and turning up somewhere else in the classroom. I was drawing a picture of a leaf-less tree in winter on the blackboard when one turned up and knocked over all my belongings. Next, all the teachers were out in the car park, discussing, quite nonchalantly where they were going to be transferred (as if it were normal for evil Garfield-like cats to destroy your previous school!). “MM” was there, too (he was a trainee teacher also, apparently) and a very young teacher came up and whispered something to him, so it was obvious that they’d had sex at some point. I asked “MM” if they’d had sex before he met me, but he never answered, so I took that to mean he had had an affair with the teacher. She was still around, gloating, so I kicked the crap out of her, and then started to beat up “MM”, too in the hope that he would finally admit the truth. He never did, and the dream ended with us standing in my living room with “MM” looking away from me.
The strange thing is that I then sent “MM” a text about this dream (it felt so real!) and I got the following message back:
“Oh baby. I also dreamt you were having an affair. I was breaking everything around me and woke up very sad”.
What does it all mean, Sigmund?!