Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sleep it off!

There is nothing like a good night's sleep. I've been on a BBC Sherlock Holmes kick lately and so you'll have to forgive me for sneaking in some obscenely awesome quotes here and there and forcing it to relate to my theme, i.e.:

"And now, Watson, I commend to you the universal answer to almost all problems."
"And what is that, Holmes?"

Sleep. The universal answer to almost all problems? I know I used sleep last night to treat a pesky migraine headache, and woke up feeling if not totally restored definitely released from yesterday's pressures. My favorite part of sleep is dreams - mine are really cinematic, suspenseful, and intense and usually involve near-death capers and high jinx. It's like the movies, but cheaper. It's like a spa, but cheaper. Sleep is a poor man's budget day-cation, a mind-clearer, an attitude adjuster. Whenever I'm feeling frustrated, stressed, upset, confused, my parents would always say, "Sleep on it." Mostly as an adult I forget to think of their advice until I've tried out several of my own ideas, but usually once I turn back to their wisdom it pays off pretty well. Like last night for instance.

I've been stressing, let me tell you. I love my life in NYC, I love the fact that I get to pursue an acting career. I love that I have an MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School, that I live in an apartment with people I love, that I have some pretty nice things, that I have a great family and friends etc. etc. etc. There's a lot to be thankful for. Do I concentrate on that? Of course not, that would be the sensible thing to do. Lately, instead of noticing and enjoying all the good and encouraging things in life, I've been stressing. It's easy to do. Like many 20-somethings, I'm not exactly the exponentially wealthy, world-famous success I had expected to be. In fact, I'm hardly independent, scraping an existence together through various part-time jobs and unexpected help. I spend my days racing around the city, chasing unpaid acting jobs, salivating over postings for paid work, turning my nose up at honest dayjobs and puzzling together my schedule until it's incomprehensible even to safe-cracking ciphers. And why? Because of a dream. And not the sleeping variety.

Is there any harm in dreams? As a child I remember being constantly encouraged to dream big, to spend time daydreaming, to imagine. I'm finding as an adult that all my dreams, if you roll up their skirts and peek underneath, are made not out of clouds and sunshine, but rather, they are made out of nuts and bolts, underpasses, local trains, and occasional route changes.

"I'd say it's been my biggest problem all my life... it's money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true." You'll never guess who said that. It wasn't me - it was WALT DISNEY! The imagineer himself acknowledged the practical struggles of making dreams come true. Guys, it's not just a walk through a rose garden. A lot of ingredients go into the pie.

That's not a bad thing at all; but if, like Sherlock, we follow this realization to its logical conclusion, we see that there are lots of brass tacks, receipts, and costs lumped up along the way to realizing our dreams. Sensible, strong, and dynamic people know to assess that and make their plans accordingly before they start. I'm apparently more of a figure-it-out-as-you-go kind of girl, constantly revising my strategy. Last night I was hitting a brick wall and my thinking was getting fuzzier and fuzzier, the brass tacks and bolts of my dreams seeming larger and heavier by the moment. In a moment of craziness I heard myself mutter, "Man, I wish I could just stop wanting things at all." It was a total
"I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later" (Mitch Hedberg) moment. It was a moment of truth. I was up to my elbows in job applications and out of migraine medicine, but when I heard myself say that wackadoodle thing, I knew there was only one thing to do: get unconscious.

I'm no private consulting detective - though I'd be HAPPY to play one, perhaps in the all-female version of Sherlock Holmes - but I thought my solution was pretty brilliant. While biology did its work, plunging me into REMs and NREMs, I had vivid, rich, and replenishing dreams - and when I awoke, my waking dreams seemed replenished too. Fellow New Yorkers, allow me to commend to you also this universal solution to almost every problem. I think all of us get too little of it here, in this city that never sleeps...Of course, having a Watson on hand doesn't hurt either.


  1. Beautiful! Makes me wish I dreamed --or at least remembered them! I'm slightly jealous that you have such an interesting dream life. Thanks for sharing your blog.

  2. Aw, I found this post really quite comforting. Artists share the same terrors, and the same dreams, I suppose. Love you, gypsy joe!

  3. Well said. CHEERS to biology, REM sleep, and following your dreams...