REM cycle love

this piece appears in Slice Magazine. yay for me.

torn by Grace_L


i had canned tomato vegetable soup and wheat thins for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to save time. i was wrapped in a navy blue, tattered comforter. my body was exhausted, my calves throbbed from the tight anxiety running through my body most of the day. it was finals week and i was only getting four hours of sleep.

i fell asleep to the soothing sounds of my space heater. i fell asleep with the lights on, the television blaring, and my contacts still in.

i dreamt a series of dreams about love. happy, fluttery types of dreams that young school girls have. i didn’t want to dream happy, fluttery love dreams. i wanted dark, dreary dreams that wouldn’t cause hope to blossom inside of me.

in dream number one, i was witty around a george clooney type of guy, completely unflustered by my admiration of him.

in the second dream, i ran into my high school crush, henry. henry was the guy i always wanted to get in MASH who if he just knew my name i would be happy. he was perfect to me — quiet, funny, smart, sweet.

in the dream, henry and i bumped into each other at a starbucks. i was witty with him (wittiness is always the goal for me) and he was witty back. we were sitting across from each other at starbucks smiling and then abruptly we were in his black and white spotless kitchen finishing spaghetti and meat sauce. a perfect jump in location, i think.

i woke up temporarily filled by a deep-reaching endorphin type of feeling. i was confused between reality and dream world. had i met a guy last night? i smiled to myself and noticed my cheeks hurt. is it possible to smile in your sleep?

i wondered, could my subconscious be telling me that i actually wanted to love again? i thought i had given up on real love. i thought i preferred to have temporary fixations on michael jackson dance-alikes or science professors. i had been clinging to the logic – why love when you can pretend to love?

these were groggy morning thoughts like when you write a brilliant idea down in the middle of the night only for it to look like jibberish the next day.when I thought about things after i had showered, had a cup of vanilla chai tea, and took my contacts out of my stinging eyes, i finally started to see things clearly, i realized that i wasn’t ready to give up pretending. maybe if love was a dream that i could wake up from before getting hurt. for now though, until that day comes or love finds a way to sneak up on me and invade all my hiding places, i would keep on dreaming.

—Lissa E.

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Published by lissa e.

Lissa's offerings include integrative mental health care, meditation and movement (yoga, qigong, intuitive) guidance, writings, and community facilitation offered in a compassionate, trauma-responsive, and racial and social justice-oriented framework as part of a lifelong mission to reduce suffering for all beings.

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