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I have a pretty active nightlife. Occasionally, I find myself performing sultry tunes in a smoky lounge, or feverishly dancing with handsome men under the flashy lights of a discotheque, but these things don’t happen as often as I’d like. More often than not, I’m desperate. Desperately trying to save my children from a catastrophe, desperately searching for a clean, private stall in a public restroom, or having conversations with dead people, desperately trying to convey things I wish I’d said while they were still living.
People often say to me, “Are you okay? You look tired.”
I am okay, but I am also very tired. I am more active in my sleep than I could ever be during the waking hours. It has been this way for as long as I can remember, and it is exhausting. Each morning, when hubby wakes up, he might remember a few scattered details of one dream. I start remembering from the moment my eyes open, and details are still coming to me while I nosh on my lunchtime grilled southwest chicken salad.
Sometimes, the memories of my dreams stay with me longer than my real life memories. Perhaps this is a psychological condition, but it is the story of my life…or my dreams, I’m not sure which.
Since the age of four I have been having public restroom nightmares. I am fairly certain the dreams stem from an incident in a department store. I inadvertently went into the men’s room, but didn’t realize my mistake until I saw a man’s eyeball peering at me through the gap in the stall door. And then, he entered the stall with me.
When I exited the restroom, my surprised mother exclaimed, “Do you realize you went through the wrong door? Did you see the man who just went in there?”
Um, yeah. You could say I saw him. She pointed to the signs, and gave me a short lesson on how to tell the difference between men’s and women’s. I don’t think it occurred to her that anything had happened in that brief span of time, but perverts don’t need a lot of time to do their damage. My public service announcement for the week: Don’t send little kids into a public restroom alone.
Recently, I have discovered that I have some level of control over my dreams. My sister said this is called lucid dreaming. Typically, I have the public restroom dream several times a week. But last month I was able to practice lucid dreaming, and I haven’t had that particular nightmare since. It was odd. I reminded myself before I went to sleep that I could control what happens. When the clogged toilets began to overflow and the stall doors disappeared, and people started coming in from every direction, I made it stop. It took a good deal of mental effort, but I found a clean toilet, with a curtain (I couldn’t quite conjure up a door), and while I was taking care of business, I started talking and laughing with the women with whom I had forced to wait instead of allowing the typical dream sequence of everyone barging in on me. By the end of the dream, I was washing my hands in a clean sink, my new friends had invited me to a party, and (I think this is key), I left the restroom. In forty years, I had never before walked out; only awakened feeling traumatized.
Now, if I could just figure out how to lucidly dream myself back into the discotheque. I know exactly what I’ll wear. The other night, I won a highly coveted fashion award for designing the perfect white, sequined, halter dress.
Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Facebook (Ginger Truitt-Author) and Twitter (@GingerTruitt).