Scaredy Cat

Are any of you afraid of the dark?

My Beloved and I have lived together for almost 4 years now. Before that I lived alone. Every night. With the lights out. And had no problem whatsoever sleeping.

Since we’ve lived in the same house I’ve been on numerous trips and left him home alone, but he’s only been away once overnight. I slept (well, on and off) with the lights on, the TV on and the deadbolt on the front door – which I almost cut my index finger off trying to get closed, being that it was so rusty from lack of normal use!). And I don’t mind admitting; it wasn’t loneliness that prompted the “ON” environment, it was fear.

There are some nights, even when my Beloved is in situ, that I hear strange noises I need to reconcile before being able to sleep. Not that I would ever attempt to seek out and reconcile these by myself. No, my preferred method is by proxy. My Beloved gets up, goes downstairs (with a heavy sigh, usually), checks everything is as it should be and returns with the news that, as expected, there is no-one else in the house except me, him and sometimes the cat.

Now don’t get me wrong, as I’ve stated in a previous blog, my home is my sanctuary. It’s my safe place. Just not when I’m on my own at night, it seems…

And, it would also seem that the Gods are looking down on me and have decided that I’ve been having too easy a time of it lately. They have re-instated my “recurring nightmare”. Now this is a dream, a nightmare, that I have had (on a recurring basis) on and off a few times in my life, starting in my late teens/early twenties.

I dream that someone has gotten into the house and is standing at the foot of my bed, poised and ready to kill me. Now, I can’t see what this person looks like, I can only really see a dark shadow. But I know why he’s there and I am petrified. Petrified to the point where I suffer sleep paralysis. I can’t move at all (though my Beloved has a fair few scars and bruises that would beg to differ) and I’m trying so hard to scream but I can’t make a noise. Eventually I manage to make a kind of muffled scream, which sounds more like a poor attempt at a moan from a bad 1970’s porn movie. And then I either eventually wake up myself, or in the last 4 years, my Beloved wakes me… and generally holds me, like a human safety blanket, until I feel safe enough to fall back to sleep (which can sometimes be hours).

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I found out that my mother experiences the same recurring dream (except her shadow is a recognisable person). Although, she hasn’t had the dream for a long long time. And my brother also suffers sleep paralysis.

Well I (and my Beloved) had 2 sleepless nights this weekend, after 2 attacks of the Killer Shadow. And still, after all these years, I have no idea why it happens or what it means. Although, it’s probably related to my fear of sleeping alone now, when my saftey blanket isn’t there.

I hear you scoffing and laughing! Surely, I’m a grown up and can tell that it’s only a dream. Well, I can only say that, personally, I’ve never been able to wake from a nightmare, tell myself “Oh, it was only a dream” and turn over and go back to sleep, like they do in the movies. Either I’m a complete and utter scaredy cat (which is not entirely that ridiculous an accusation) or those guys in the movies are merely having a bit of a bad dream, rather than the full on terrifying, pant wetting, nightmares that I get to “sleep” through. (Though, I will at this stage, point out that my one saving grace is that I don’t actually suffer the indignity of actually wetting my pants.)

I’ve consulted many dream meanings books and websites and none of the explanations seem to make sense. Mind you, that may be becuase I can’t find one that tells me the meaning of “a shadow at the end of your bed ready to kill you – but not actually killing you”. The only thing I have been able to ascertain is when the dreams tend to occur. That is that the timing of the dreams (i.e. when I have spurts of recurrence) tend to be in times of uncertainty or change. (But then there have also been plenty of these times in my life when I haven’t had the dreams).

That and if I watch anything remotely scary, for instance the Angels on Dr.Who or Scary Clowns and Axe Murderers on CSI on Saturday, then the Shadow tends to make an appearance.

So, if anyone out there is a dream interpreter – or even better an Exorcist – please can you help me?

The thing that’s worrying me today is that my Beloved is away on business again this week. And I’m not sure how or if I will sleep.  But I’m not telling you when he’s going, just in case I see you in the middle of the night at the end of my bed!

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Heaven or Hell? The Gym

I’m writing this in dread… very soon my other half will come bounding through the door full of energy and, in true Dr. Awesome fashion, cajole me into going to the gym. That’s partly a lie…  he won’t be full of energy, he’ll have had a long and hard day but he’ll be determined that a good workout is what we both need.

So my question is this; the gym… heaven or hell?

For me it’s hell… give me a dance floor (or even a rug in a living room) and some cheesy pop music or happy house and I’ll fling myself around with wild abandon for hours on end. But “the gym”… man! it’s worse than house work, which itself only gets done to avoid doing homework (or at least it used to when I was 15). I don’t know what it is about those machines. Even with the distraction of TMF videos in front of me and the cheery sound of the latest Ibiza “choons” compilation bouncing all around me I feel like I’m wading through mud… up a hill… with a gradient of 1:6.

Having said that, once I reach the top of that hill and even before I start the long meander home I feel like I’m in heaven. I feel like a Super Hero. Like I could do anything. Yeah man! I feel amazing!

Maybe that’s the point… no pain, no gain. Still… I’m sitting here quietly praying for a reprieve. Just for tonight. Honest!?

Lovely weather we’re having

Thought I’d start with a classic conversation starter… the weather. It’s turned very cold today. Winter’s coming for sure!

A while ago I tweeted “touché! “Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.”~Kin Hubbard”. Frank McKinney Hubbard (a.k.a. Kin Hubbard) was an American journalist, well known for his humorous cartoons and quite a few observationally funny quotes.

But this blog isn’t about Kin, it’s about the weather. He’s right though, weather conversations are dear to our hearts (well, in the UK anyway) and I know I’m one of the nine-tenths! I have a friend who lives in Mallorca and I’m endlessly envious that she lives in (what I imagine to be) a permanently warm and sunny climate. Hence, most conversations include the staple question “how’s the weather today?”. The reality is that Mallorca is not permanently sunny nor permanently warm and my friend gets equally as miserable as I do when it rains or it’s cold. Which is surprisingly often, between October and March (well, surprising to me, anyway!). Apparently it’s cold now, but the tourists are still wearing shorts. Go figure.

The subject of British weather is critical to a proficient conversation between neighbours, strangers on buses and BFF’s. We think it doesn’t change that often – “raining again” – cue dramatic rolling of the eyes and an “hmph!”. We think it rains a lot! And now for the science bit… Actually, average precipitation figures in the UK this year are down 25% to 50% on the average for the last 30 years (with the exception of July & August, but I guess global warming is a whole other blog subject!)

So, if we think the weather doesn’t change much… why discuss it on a daily basis? A common denominator. With so many different people in the world each with different lifestyles and different problems, the weather is one of the few things that genuinely binds us together as a “human race”. Weather doesn’t discriminate, it affects us all. And so, in weather we have a common friend or a common foe. So Hurray! for the weather, I say. Anything that helps us come together, even if only for a brief conversation is worth celebrating.

And, as I’m sure you’re desperate to know, at the time of publishing; it’s cold, quite windy and raining again!