Nightmares

Here’s the truth, friends. I have nightmares. Lots. Frequently.

Growing up, it was hellish, but now the typical nightmares (you know the ones: being chased, family and friends dying, falling, embarrassment) are no longer that bad. I mean, they are that bad, but after like 20 years of experiencing them, they don’t have the same impact. Mostly, now, I don’t even wake up from these ones. I ride them out.

Today, however, I’m suffering from a nightmare hangover the likes of which I usually don’t feel unless it is one of those rare, devastating, mind-fuck terrors that JT has to shake me awake from.

Last night’s nightmares are haunting my morning, and I hate how it makes me feel.

***

Nightmares have proved to be permanent, unchangeable, unfixable features of my world (so screw all of you who assure your children that they’ll “grow out of it”). But aside from my sleeping hours, I’ve led a pretty charmed life. Everybody has bad times, but I’ve been lucky enough to always have people to love and support me. I’ve had opportunities. I’ve had successes. On average, I’m happy.

So I’ve rationalized that nightmares balance my psyche. They open up the dark, shadowy corners of my mind. They provide a roiling grey counterpoint to my whimsy.

Nights spent amongst monsters and horrors also help fuel my writing. It’s true. I’ve had stories more creative than my waking mind can manufacture spring from my sleeping one. That’s why, on most days, I can say it’s good to have them. It makes me more interesting. It makes me a better writer.

On other days – days like today – I can’t convince myself that there’s anything beneficial to nightmares, except, perhaps, that they flavor my optimism with bitterness, which is refreshing if not pleasant.

Sweet dreams, readers.

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