Dreaming

When I was a young girl watching Oprah with my mom after school each day, (I know, cool mom, right?) I took in a lot of wisdom that probably should have been reserved for me much later in life. 

One of my favorite things Oprah said (and I’m about 90% sure I’ve talked about this before, but bear with me) is that life touches you on the arm, then it pokes you, then it slaps you, and finally, it throws up a brick wall (or something to that effect.)

In essence, life is trying to help you figure it out. It sends you messages, little by little, until you get it. But humans, in our infinite intelligence, think that we can do it on our own. Which is when life throws up a brick wall, as if to say, do you get it now??? 

For me, when I start dreaming about something, I know I’ve hit a brick wall. 

That is, I don’t dream about things, or have truly vivid dreams, until I’ve reached my breaking point. (No caffeine, no late night snacks, just pure unadulterated stress makes my brain think up crazy situations just to get me to see reason.)

And last night? I dreamt that every time I left the room, one of the people I was living with was strangled. And then, the strangler would come to me and choke me. And somehow, I would get free, and he would choke someone else and then come looking for me. 

Needless to say, I woke up feeling like someone had had his hands on my neck and it was hard to fall back to sleep. 

So, what’s the meaning here? Well, I believe in every mystical realm and activity under the sun (tarot cards, crystals, herbal medicine, etc.) but I don’t need a scrying mirror to see my brain’s message: you are feeling strangled and suffocated in your life. 

That’s it. I just need to start doing things I love again. And the feelings of being stifled will stop. Brick wall meet sledgehammer. 

And sometimes, it’s just that easy. Try to acknowledge your brain and let it know that you hear it. That you are listening. 

Because for me? I can definitely say now that the message is wholeheartedly received. 

Dreamy

I don’t dream very often. Or rather, to be absolutely correct, I don’t remember my dreams very often. I put my head on the pillow and the next thing I know is that my alarm is going off, and it shouldn’t go off for another 7 hours and–oh, it’s time to wake up. 

And as for dreams? There’s no time. I have to get my beauty rest and worry about the future of the human race before bed. Who even has enough time to dream? 

Well, unfortunately, all of us. At least once in awhile. And probably Freud has a lot to say about it, but for me, when It comes time to dream, it’s intense. And the symbolism is so obvious and so apparent that I’m almost embarrassed for myself in my sleep. It’s like I wake up and just cringe. Oh. So I was naked in front of the whole school because I’m worried about the talent show. Right. No, no, that makes perfect sense. 

So, if you’re like me, and you don’t really dream, then pay attention when you do. 

Your brain is really trying to tell you something and its best course of action is to slip it into your thoughts when you’re sleeping (since it knows it’s too busy during the day). The least that you can do is listen to it. 

Your Life is a Woman on Acid

I originally saw this video on Mentalfloss, and if you have never visited Mentalfloss, you should leave this blog right now and go experience that wonderful site.

Now, if you haven’t slipped down a black hole of knowledge there, and you are back reading this blog, then I need you to watch this video. And turn your sound on. (I know, I know. I’m asking a lot of you today.)

For some reason, this video really stuck with me. For one, the woman sounds exactly like a Disney princess. So, it is basically like a Disney princess doing acid. For another, you don’t know who to feel sorry for: the doctor who does not understand “reality,” or the woman who can’t put “reality” into words. The entire thing is a bit unsettling.

But not for the reasons that you might think. It’s not unsettling because the woman has ingested an hallucinogenic drug. And it’s not unsettling that we, like voyeurs, are watching her attempt to understand the world around her.

It’s the skeptic tone in the doctor’s voice that is so strange. She even notes that his presence does not allow her to become “one” with everything. I know that he is trying to be a good scientist. He is trying to get an objective account of what she is seeing. But for some reason, I felt that I had heard a voice like his before.

And I realized that I had. It came from everyone in the world who ever refused to believe in what someone was saying. I started to realize that the woman was just anyone who had ever had an opinion, a dream, or an idea. And the man was someone who did not believe in the sanctity of that opinion, dream, or idea. You will notice in the video that he does not move to ease her discomfort when she is completely confused about why he can’t see beautiful colors or shapes in the corner. He does not try to make her feel better by telling her that he sees it, too. He simply allows her to think whatever she wants. And she’s visibly frustrated by his non-reaction.

This is the dynamic of the entire world. One person understands and sees a reality unlike the rest of us. And other people don’t understand. Other people are technically not even on the same plane. Other people are confused or bothered by our perception of the world.

But that doesn’t mean you should stop believing. It doesn’t mean you should stop describing what you understand. Whether it be religion, equality, or your own success. Like this woman, you need to be strong in your conviction, even in the face of people who literally do not share your vision.

You have to understand that this woman truly believes in what she is seeing. Her fear is real. Her wonder is real. Her love is real. The only question is: can you say the same of yourself?

You’re Invited

I think people are still waiting for the weekend. I think people are still counting down the days until it’s vacation. I think people are still waiting until they have more time. I think people are still waiting for their sign. I think people are still accepting advice from their horoscope. I think people are still waiting to be told they are good enough.

I don’t think people understand that there isn’t a green light for them. There isn’t a white checkered flag. There isn’t a pit crew waiting to change their tires. Everything is set into motion the minute we are born, and if we are lucky, the clock will still be wound when we are long gone.

But for whatever reason, people don’t think that this is their life right now. They are told  that they need to be adults before their opinion matters. They need to be taller to ride this ride. They need to be older to make this phone call. Then, as adults, they watch their dreams die, and it feels like nothing ever mattered at all.

The truth is you are the Captain Oh! Captain of your life, and no one can tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with it. The entire world is your oyster and—okay, so you think, I’ve acknowledged this. I know I should be embracing the world. So, what happens next? Where is the giant novelty check with my name on it?

I think we have all been a tad mislead in this department. Everyone tells you that opportunity knocks. But that’s not altogether true. Opportunity only knocks when your doorbell is broken. And you break or disconnect your doorbell when  you expect people to just walk in because you’ve been waiting for them to arrive. Opportunity knocks when you’ve made that the only option.

But people don’t do this. Instead, people wait for their fairy godmother to give them a lottery ticket to catapult them into their dream life. People expect to be escorted to their carriage so that it can take them down the smoothest path of most happiness and least resistance.

Believe me, I’ve been waiting, too. Waiting for words to spill out on a page. Waiting for my abs to show up (they’re always late to the party). Waiting for my life to be what I want it to be.

So, just in case you have been waiting like me:

You’re Invited!

What: The rest of your life

When: Right now

Where: Wherever you please

Here it is. Here is the invitation to get out there and make a difference. To show the world that you aren’t good at accepting the status quo. To transform yourself into the person that you’ve always wanted to be while keeping your roots firmly in place. To finally look forward to each new day, instead of looking back.

I love the saying: “Life is what gets in the way when you are making plans.” Because that’s just it. Everyone is so concerned about living that they forget to actually, well, live. It’s like taking pictures at a party of everyone smiling and having fun so that you can look back at the photos in a few years and then forgetting to actually smile and have fun at the party when you are there.

This is it, people. This is your life. The curtain is open, and the audience is waiting for you to do something besides stand and breathe. They’re ready for your solo or monologue, and you are most certainly ready to give it. So, what are you waiting for? I can tell you what you aren’t waiting for now: an invitation. You have one. So, get out there and shine.

Hold On, I Have to Pee

I’m so sorry about not posting yesterday, but when I have off from work, I take off from my entire life (including this blog).

However, I did go to the gym. And I realized something while I was there. No, I didn’t learn how painful it is to be twisted into a yoga pretzel. No, I didn’t learn how many drops of sweat could fall on a treadmill before it short-circuited. No, I didn’t learn whether people could actually see how long my leg hair was through my pants, especially since I forgot to shave.

I learned that it is really important to go to the bathroom before you start working out. I personally take a Zumba class, as I have noted before, and I learned that jumping, twisting, and twirling can take a toll on your muscles, as well as your bladder.

But this isn’t news. Anyone who has been to the gym directly after dinner can tell you that it is best to wait a bit before trying to burn off the calories.

Rather, it’s the crazy, metaphorical perspective that I gained from this ordinary experience that is really mind-blowing.

You see, after the fourth time I halfheartedly kicked my leg up in the air to dance along and try to escape the notice of the instructor while similarly hoping to quell the discomfort that was aching in my abdomen, I realized that I was purposefully holding myself back by not going to the bathroom.

And that, in a greater sense, is the same feeling that anyone might be having about his or her life. This urgency inside that simultaneously holds us back from what we want to be doing and yet pushes us forward toward something new so that we are stuck somewhere in between.

Real or not, most people view obstacles as excuses to not try as hard at something. Usually, we hold ourselves back because we are too scared or nervous for the future. So, we try to convince ourselves that we don’t deserve the opportunity that we might want or even that we are too good for it. We try to tell ourselves that we are right to get in our own way so that we won’t get hurt. For awhile last night, I didn’t mind that I had to pee because I didn’t have to work out as hard, and that, as anyone who exercises knows, was okay with me. It was an excuse that I maintained for myself that helped me in the moment, but also sabotaged my future (hopefully, fitter) self.

Because the truth is you’re only hurting yourself if you hold yourself back.

All you have to do (which is all I had to do, too) is release. I simply had to go to the bathroom to have full range of movement, if I had decided to do so. And since life is all about choices, you can apply to a new job, find a mate, or yes, even achieve your dreams if you simply choose to stop holding yourself back.

I agree that it can sometimes be painful, difficult, or downright uncomfortable to put your best foot forward, to invest your energy and effort into something. But it is even more so when you realize how much time you have wasted by not believing in yourself. Just like going to the bathroom, you are the only one standing (or sitting) in your way.