We all sleep alone.
Physicality aside, we lie in the mercy of our own creations alone. You could fall asleep in the most public of places or wrapped tightly in someone’s arms and still feel as utterly alone. The fact of the matter is that a room full of people or a warm body won’t be able to protect you from your innermost thoughts and fears. By the depths of night, we’ll go along for the tumultuous ride and come morning, we’ll lie in the wake of a dissolving dreamscape.
Still, there have been days where I’ve been tempted to, one by one, lift the fingers off my grasp of what society has deemed to be the “true” reality and sink deeper and deeper into that of the dreamworld. The dilemma is rather Inception-esque. It’s exciting and lustful. There’s something exhilarating about the fluidity of point of view, of watching yourself from the third-person while navigating the world first-hand. The suspense is alluring and the impression lasting. In a way, it’s like playing god over my own life. And it feels real.
It feels real because the only thing that constitutes our having fallen asleep is the act of waking up. In the same way, a dream becomes a dream only when the dreamer awakens. Even in lucid dreams, when we are aware of the fact that we are asleep and dreaming, we cannot be entirely sure of the fact until we physically wake up. We go along with what we have, simply because there’s not much else we can do.
But it’s a reality that only the dreamer will truly know. It’s what Dreams and Storytelling author Bert O. States calls a “private literature of the self.” We can try to share this literature, but there’s little guarantee that our readers will read it as we intend. All we can do is offer a little peephole for the curious folk to look into and what they see is what they’ll get.
That’s not to say that giving up sleep altogether would make us feel any less alone, or that we’d want it to. Maybe it’s something we can be a bit more selfish with; it’s a little nook of a world that we can have all to ourselves. We all need sleep – in the midst of midterms and nightmares, in the midst too-much-to-do-and-too-little-time – whether we think it a colossal waste of time or not. Sometimes, it’s the part of the day that I look most forward to; other days, I dread the heavy fear of drifting away and never coming back. The wait is always the hardest part.
It’s kind of marvelous if you look at it in a larger scope: if the Earth was a giant eyeball, each day would be like a rippling blink. Within 24 hours, each person – or most people – will have risen from their slumber and fallen back asleep. With around 7 billion people on the Earth and 86,400 seconds per day, it’s statistically safe to say that at least one other person somewhere on this Earth is sleeping with you, maybe not in the flesh but in shared time. At the very least, you can find comfort in knowing that someone out in the world too has plunged into a metaphysical realm of the utmost clarity and authenticity. You’re still alone, but not by yourself.
And come, if ever, the day when even this won’t do, I’m willing to make a deal. In the words of Bob Dylan, “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.”
Image Source: seasmoked via Creative Commons
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