Monday, September 16, 2013

The Best I've Got

I'm very much disappointed in myself. For reasons you'll soon understand. But for now, just know that that's where my head is.

Dreams are weird. Every night, whether or not you remember it, your brain is building somewhere around seven different worlds in an attempt to keep itself busy while your clumsy corporeal form gets the rest it requires. Your brain isn't tryna do that. Your brain is that kid everyone knew in college who never seemed to need sleep. Ever.

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Detailed environments are invented and recalled. Things you're sure you'd long forgotten will rise to the surface. Absolute bananas nonsense things will happen, and you'll go along with it like it's normal as garbage stir fry dinner on a Tuesday night.

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Then, of course, there's waking life. The moment you wake up, you've got feelings you need to deal with. Happy feelings - if you've just dreamt about your arms falling off. Sad feelings - if moments ago you were in your 4th year at Hogwarts. Paralyzing terror - if and when the sickest, deepest depths of your most sinister brain fold was in charge of dreams that night.

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I've always been fascinated by dreams. More specifically, lucid dreams. In a lucid dream, you are completely aware of the fact that you are dreaming. It's rare. At least, for me it is. And I consider myself to be an exceptional being, so let's stick with rare. Is everyone good with that? Voiceless audience? Good.

There have been a handful of times in my life where there has been definite potential to turn my run-of-the-mill dream into a lucid one. When that thought comes into my head - are you dreaming right now? - one of three things will happen.

1.) I'll voice it, and the dream people around me will tell me that I'm an idiot. I will take the insult graciously, and go back to cutting whale hair.

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2.) I'll voice it, I'll believe it, and I'll freak out. I'll do whatever it takes to wake myself up.

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Waking myself up is priority. Terrible things will happen if I don't. My first instinct is always to jump off of buildings, because if I die, I wake up. Right? No. I learned that in order to wake up, I have to be mentally grounded. I have to tell myself truths. I'll say out loud, "My name is Kristin, I'm from Connecticut," and as soon as I say Connecticut, I'm awake. It works every time.

Of course once I wake up, I'm mad. Mad at my brain for not taking advantage of the opportunity.

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3.) The third scenario is the most rare. I'll realize I'm dreaming, and I'll keep my shit together enough to understand - and this is the whole point - that I can do literally anything I want. There are no rules. Physics isn't a thing anymore. My imagination is the limit. Incidentally, that's the title of my new book. It's a book of recipes, and every ingredient is cheese.

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I had a scenario three experience very recently. One of those extremely rare moments where I realize I'm dreaming, and I keep my shit together. It did not end well. I hesitate to even tell this story. My greatest shame. But oh, look. Here I go.

So in the dream, I'm on an airplane. A private jet, to be more specific. I'm with two unknowns, and we're going to some sort of awesome place. At this point I'm blissfully unaware that this is not my actual life. Completely oblivious to the fact that in reality, at that moment, I am sleeping spread-eagle without covers on my twin-sized bed, damp with sweaty dew because I'm trying to brave the rest of the summer without an air conditioner.

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All of a sudden, we're all in a swamp. It's clear that the plane has crashed, because I can see the plane - looking like a broken toy - in the distance. No one is hurt. I'm confused, because I can't remember the crash, but everyone else is unconcerned. I reason that had I actually been in a plane crash, I would have been injured. At the very least, I would have remembered it.

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At that moment, it clicks. I'm dreaming.




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No, I didn't actually summon Joffrey. That would have been a good use of my omnipotence. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, guys.

Here's what I ended up doing. So overwhelmed with the possibilities, I did the first thing that came to mind. I stuck my bare hands into the mud I was standing in.

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As soon as I thought it, an enormous, cavernous sinkhole appeared at my feet. I was thrilled. It was working. I was controlling the world around me, and I was lucid.

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Do you want to know what I did next? Knowing full well that there were no limitations, no restrictions, and no consequences? Do you want to know what I did?

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Moments later, I was a barista at the Starbucks I had created with my mind.

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So what does this say about me? It says that in my wildest fantasies, I am a part-time employee at the only known Starbucks sinkhole location.

As soon as I made it happen, I understood that I had failed. I could have wiped the slate clean and started over. But I didn't deserve it. I sat on the floor, put my face in my hands, and told myself that my name is Kristin, and I'm from Connecticut.