July 11th, 2016

Dreaming

Last night I slept and I slept and I slept some more. It was healing sleep. Each time I add to the amount of exercise I do or the amount of weight I carry, I sleep like this. Last night, however, my brain got fully back into gear while I slept. It was healing from an unexpected direction.

I don't talk about it often, but one of the reasons I'm so very effective at completing things and at problem-solving is because I'm a lucid dreamer and my dreaming self does a lot of the big work at sorting out plot holes or at planning projects. It's still heavy work, and I was very upset at a friend once who marvelled at how magically everything fell into place, but it means that I can (when my dreams get enthusiastic about a task) effectively work for 24 hours. I generally know when a dream is lucid, for it's in colour and, three times out of four, I can read text. Last night's text was world-building lists in a reassuring font.

Being aware of oneself asleep and being able to change what happens while asleep is not always good, to be honest. When I was near death in April and May, I and my dreams spiralled downwards into despair night after night. Vast dark wings fluttered just behind my vision and no amount of telling my dreams that this was not what I wanted could change that. I knew the moment I was safe from death, because my dreams told me. I went to the medical experts that day, for a regular appointment, and their body language informed me of the same thing. I was still hardly capable of moving, but my dreams knew how to interpret the difference between the day before and that magic day when I knew I'd be OK. I started making bad jokes at Naomi (who was taking care of me at that point), at the cat, and at the visiting nurse.

Last night, I did the opposite. Now that I'm emerging from a very interesting year, I can see that the world is going to get harder rather than easier. I've checked out the status of antisemitism (which definitely affects my chances of getting employed, for it lost me a whole career last time people were this bad) and looked at the state of various economies. In short, my conscious mind, last night, applied all that public service policy and political stuff from my past and came out with a "It's not impossible for me to get a job, because I have so much of theoretical interest to employers, but it's unlikely because I am middle aged, female and Jewish" ie other people are likely to still be given job preferences, whether it's for local university tutoring or whether it's for that fulltime job I so desire. The age and the religion are less of a problem in the UK, so I've more hope of one there. Since everyone in the university system is battling so much, I can't assume that I'll get any breaks. My dream admitted this, when I wasn't quite ready. My dream and I worked together from then on, and I woke up with a possible solution.

Quite a few friends have asked "What about Patreon?" (because I only need $200 more a week to have enough for food and utilities and the occasional cup of coffee with friends) but I've been stumped as to how to approach it. I was unable to address all the aspects of me that people follow in public. One potential patreon might want one thing from me and another, something entirely different. I needed a way of setting things up so that my supporters have choices and can determine whether they want stories, teaching, history, essays or recipes, but so that the things I want to achieve with my life and in terms of helping others are also achieved.

My dream last night gave me that. I can't do anything for a few more weeks, because immediate money has to take precedence, but I can gradually put together what I need and then... we'll see. I'd still rather have a proper university job, for I could do everything I enjoy as part of that job, but I do need enough to live on, whatever happens. This may well be how I get it.

I hated my lucid dreaming all the way through hospital. Twenty days of lucid nightmare. Ghosts roaming the corridors and me joining them. Paths that went back to doom no matter what happened. When solutions are outside me, my dreaming is a burden. Last night, however, for the first time since April, it was the opposite of a burden.

Why April and not March? Because I rang the ambulance thanks to a dream carefully explaining that if I needed help I should not rely on family precedent (my family doesn't ring for ambulances, no matter what), two nights before everything went awry. If I refuse to admit something, then my subconscious will inform me, very clearly, in my sleep.

When I was a child I kept telling my dreams "I want to fly" and so I flew. Now that I'm older, my dreams do a lot more than simply letting me fly.