“Bad Days Build Better Days”

I don’t feel like blogging. I don’t feel like being here. I have so many thoughts running through my mind. I feel like my insides are being torn apart. I am sad and want to cry. I am mad and want to scream. I am tired and need to sleep. I am frustrated and don’t know what to do. I am a huge mess. I don’t feel like blogging, but maybe it will be good to just vent.

I keep telling myself all the things that have helped me over the past 4 years:

  • “Control what you can control.”
  • “Never let a bad situation bring out the worst in you. Be strong and choose to be positive.”
  • “Stay Positive – better days are on the way.”
  • “Let it go.”
  • “Pay no attention to toxic words. What people say is often a reflection of themselves, not you.”
  • “Life becomes easier when you delete the negative people from it.”
  • “You never fully see how toxic someone is until you breathe fresher air.”
  • “Let people do what they need to do to be happy, mind your own business and do what you need to do to make you happy.”
  • “Forget the negative and focus on the positives.”

Man, that’s just a handful of quotes that have helped in the past. To a degree, they helped a little today. Basically, though, as I thought on them, all I could say was, “I know.” It was just extremely hard to follow the instructions in those bits of wisdom.

Once Upon a Time – A Fairy Tale

In life we all have monsters or ogres that cause us trouble. The ogre in my life was working overtime over the past 48 hours. My days consisted of text messages, e-mails, phone calls, and communication from the ogre and its believers. To say that those things have exhausted me is an understatement.

As I thought about ways to describe my ogre, I was immediately reminded of the biblical person of the Antichrist. If you are unfamiliar with him, all you need to know is that this person is set to come in very peaceably, speaking kind words, promising to get things right, and leading people astray in belief of his lies. Then, this peaceful man will seek to destroy the world. He will do terrible things. My ogre is like that.

“If it is easier on you …” “Oh, that’s no trouble at all….” “I’m glad to help you with that …” and then, when the time is right, it turns on you. Suddenly, everything you thought was being done in kindness, is used against you. Things that you thought you’d agreed on, are now twisted and turned to make you look bad. The ogre begins to spread lies, and telling half truths to make situations look like something they are not. The narcissistic ogre is like a category 5 hurricane or an EF-5 tornado, looking to destroy anything in it’s path, while looking angelic to it’s followers.

What is truly sad is the effect that this has on the innocent. The pawns in the beast’s game of chess. These poor clueless pawns are brainwashed by the control of its words. They say if you tell someone something enough, whether it is true or not, they will start to believe it, despite no proof. The manipulation and the subtle way that the ogre controls these pawns is invisible to those under the spell of its black magic. Woe unto those poor souls!

If the ogre only affected me, I think I would be able to cope with things more. However, the ogre is a powerful beast. It knows how to work its way into my circle. It not only affects me, but my friends and family. It is not happy unless it is making others unhappy. I’ve seen this first hand. It’s not just with me as the ogre loves to cause trouble in the lives of others. Planting seeds which causes others to argue, gossip, or throw someone’s life into chaos. Once the seed takes root, the ogre sits back and watches the madness, the struggles, the anger, and chaos with great delight. How sick is this beast that it gets such pleasure by hurting and destroying others?!

Sadly, the ogre is not something I can just cut out of my life, though I wish I could. The ogre will be around for some time. Perhaps there is some mythical creature that can be used as a mediator, but alas, I have not found it. I’ve never felt like my life was that entertaining, but it seems like it must be, as the ogre spends a lot of time worried about me and what I am doing. All I can do is to continue to pray that with time, the ogre will leave me alone and find someone else to focus its attention on.

The End – I hope.

As they used to say on old radio shows – Any similarity to persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Scarlett O’Hara

Though I have never seen Gone With The Wind all the way through, I am familiar with quotes from the movie. I’d like to close with one. While today was a bad day, I have to remember what Scarlett O’Hara said, “…tomorrow is another day.”

Recurring Dreams

dreams

As someone who works as a sleep technologist, I am often asked about dreams. Why do we dream? Can dreams really tell the future? What do dreams mean? The list of questions I get asked about dreams is a long one. There are many schools of thought about dreams. Take a psychology class and just the thoughts of famous psychologists alone could fill a book! The most common question I get asked about dreams is in regards to recurring dreams. “Do you ever have recurring dreams?” Yes. Yes, I do. “Why do we have those?” I have no idea. I wish I did.

I’ve never been one to put too much faith into “dream interpretation.” To me, it seems like it is often just someone’s opinion. Sometimes they make sense, but most of the time they just seem like some generic thing – like a horoscope. I may be wrong, and maybe there is something to it, but I really haven’t found it to be that way.

Recurring Dream #1

I have been having this one dream off and on for years, probably since I was about 10 years old. My brother and I are out in the backyard. Sometimes it is at our first house (at least I think that’s where it is), most of the time, however, we’re at my mom and dad’s. The old dog house that was there when we moved in is still in the back corner. The swing set is in the middle of the yard. It is no bigger than an average backyard.

While we are outside, the wind begins to pick up and dark clouds roll in. My mother will stick her head out the sliding glass door and call for us to come in because of storms. As I look up in the sky, a funnel cloud begins to form. (FYI: My grandmother told me all kinds of stories about tornadoes, which left me forever terrified of them) It is at this point that my brother and I begin to run toward the house. As we run, the yard begins to get bigger and bigger. It is like I am running and the house is moving farther and farther away.

tornado

My brother is running behind me and I am holding his hand. I keep looking behind us as the funnel cloud begins to turn into a tornado. It is windier and we are fighting to get to the house. We get to the swing set and we are being pulled off the ground by the funnel. We are literally hanging on to the bars of the swing set so we won’t get sucked away by the tornado. My mom is screaming to us, but cannot get to us. As I lose my grip on the swing set – I wake up.

Recurring Dream #2

This is one that I have a bit more frequently than the tornado dream. I mentioned it on Facebook once and was surprised that I wasn’t the only one to have this kind of dream. This one is the “band dream.”

HallerneBandRoom

While there are many variations of it, they are always very similar in nature: (1) I forgot my instrument at home and my band director is going down the line making every one play individually. (2) I have my instrument, but didn’t practice the piece and the band director is going down the line making everyone play individually. (3) I have my instrument, but don’t have my music folder. (4) I have my music folder and my instrument, but I suddenly cannot play the song we are working on.

The variations can also take place in different places: (1) Sometimes we are rehearsing in the band room. (2) Sometimes we are on stage at a concert. (3)Sometimes we are playing at band festival. (4) Sometimes we are on the football field and we are in marching band. (5) Sometimes we are marching in a parade.

Our band director was a man who I had great respect for. I think we all did. He was a good leader and taught us many lessons. He was strict and stern. You always tried to be prepared for class. Sometimes you weren’t and he knew it. I remember this one song that had a simple chromatic scale at the beginning of it. It was a fast tempo song, so if you didn’t practice it, you could easily blow it. We all started the song, started it again, and again until finally he pulled out the grade book and made every one of us play it. You either played it right and passed or played it wrong and failed. I failed it.

In the dream, all the old band classmates are there. I can’t really look at them and say what year it is. Many times its just all the people who were in band at one time or another. There is often things going on that are just weird – like bubbles coming out of clarinets or water coming out of the tuba. Many times we are rehearsing songs I remember playing while in band. Other times we are working up songs I have never heard. Sometimes famous people are in the dream rehearsing with us. There is no specific or common ending to the dream.

While this dream can often cause me to feel anxiety, I usually wake up from the “band dream” chuckling at the absurdity of what was in it. I also wake wishing that I could go back to those days when I still played well. I can barely make a sound on my trumpet today. I miss playing in band. It was, one of my favorite things about high school.

Sweet Dreams

I probably have one or two other recurring dreams, I just forgot them right now. I’ll remember them after I have them. I don’t know what makes me dream these same dreams. I don’t know what prompts them. I have always found dreams to be very cool. They can be very real! They can make you feel real emotions. Every once in awhile, they can be a little too real.

Other times, a dream, which you can’t explain, can make you look back at it and wonder. I had one of those too. When I was going through my divorce, I had a ton of stress. I woke up crying one night after having a dream. I dreamt my mom was talking to me. I was upset. She looked at me and said, “It’s going to be alright, honey. You are going to come out of this and things will be just fine.”

She was right!

What are your thoughts on dreams? I’d love to hear them.

dreamy face