Do I Want To Sleep Through It?

2021.

How’s it going for you so far? Roughly three weeks in and I’m desperate to morph into Ripa Van Winkle (Rip’s unmentioned sister), get me a jug of the intoxicating stuff that sent her lazy brother to Nod for twenty years, and sleep till at least 2040! Wouldn’t it be sweet to bypass the current crap? I am so over the idiocy and disease. Problem is, I’m telling a story. An enticing and ever-so-slightly provocative one, but, a story, nonetheless.

Washington Irving did not write in a sister for Rip. I made her up. I didn’t need to. Gender isn’t at the heart of “Rip Van Winkle” unlike the horrifying “Sleeping Beauty”. Irving’s protagonist isn’t amoral like Beauty’s king. He’s just a guy who didn’t want to be an adult. He focussed on escaping his duties as husband, father, and future soldier. Sleeping the years away, leaving the everyday work of survival to his wife and children, seemed okay to Rip.

There’s probably a fragment of Rip Van Winkle in all of us. And sometimes, although rarely, avoidance can be the higher ground. Lately, however, despite a big part of me wanting to run and hide, another part is begging me to wake up – really wake up. What does that rmean?

When I first became aware that I was living in a dream, I was in too deep to stop. What the world saw was an amalgam of fictious characters posing in trendy clothes. Any hint of the real me was distasteful, always had been, so I chose to carefully mould a convincing enough fake me. And it worked for a long time, until it didn’t.

Even the strongest foundation needs shoring up. My pieced together character was built on a fragile base from the get go so it was bound to crumble. And crumble it did, which should have been the end of me. But it wasn’t. Instead, I awakened in the rubble determined to put myself together. Thing was, I couldn’t find anything familiar. All that was left of me was the battered and bruised, long denied, real me. Ugh! Oh well, I’d have to make some changes. Never easy.

Building a better me was bloody work. It was ruthless, time consuming, gruelling. Separating the real me from the made-up me was, and continues to be, the hardest work of my life. I’ve had to teach myself to speak all over again in order to spell out a substantive story. Fluffy, half-hearted descriptors and excuses had to go. I had to get specific, drill for the exact words necessary to clearly define moments in time, actions, or reasons for being. Anything less would have been disrespectful. Anything less could have left a door open for guesswork and there shouldn’t be any guessing when it comes to the truth of who you are.

Occasionally, I still pretend to be someone else. I still dream of living in another time or place. The difference is, I’m not my own worst enemy anymore. Reason and logic aren’t enemies anymore, either. Accountability and responsibility no longer strike fear or resentment in me. They aren’t four-letter words anymore. That’s not to say I like everything about the solid, grounded, girl-turned-woman. I’ll probably spend the rest of my life struggling to accept her, in fact. But I’m doing my best to appreciate her. I’m doing my best to love her.

I understand completely why folks would choose to gulp down the magical elixir Rip found. It’s way easier to be in a world where only your choices are important, where discernment isn’t required, and where reason, logic, and compassion are vilified. It is much more fun to tell someone how to do the work than to actually do it yourself. Or is it?

When Rip Van Winkle woke up after twenty years, a new government was in place. His country had been to war. Blood had been shed. Lives had been lost. Did he care? No. His blood wasn’t shed. His life hadn’t changed much. He went back to being a ne’er do well who let others take care of his needs.

That is not the kind of life I want to live. Not anymore.

My wish for you today is that you can find time to appreciate, be deeply grateful for, your life. If it seems to be mapped out on a roughhewn trail, I hope you can stay awake. Not sleeping means you’ll surely see the pitfalls and craggy places, but you will also see the gorgeous smooth places, too. Relish it all.

Until tomorrow…

15 thoughts on “Do I Want To Sleep Through It?

    1. Frances Sullivan

      Hi Brenda! Thank you. Wow, truer words… but I think I’m getting better with some of the uncertainty. At least, by all the grace there is, I’ve kept healthy. Hope things are good in your world despite the insanity, of course. xx

      Like

  1. I’ve just read another blog-piece from a guy who’s rediscovering himself as he’s nearing 60, and liking what he’s rediscovering much more than the façade he became during the years between his child/youth years and now. I completely get where he and you are coming from, as personally I’ve had that rediscovery, too, and ended up liking myself more than I probably ever have. Whether anyone else does, is another matter, but not as important as it once was 🙂 So, I find it very exciting to also read about others’ journeys into their authenticity as they get older. It’s a feeling of such unexpected pleasantness to find yourself again, if your pardon the cliche. Getting older has a lot of negative associations that go with it, but the joy of shedding the façade we’ve built up to manage our lives and survive in the world is a positive trade-off I didn’t expect. I’m with you in friendship on your journey of rediscovery, bloody work and all 🙂 and I absolutely look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Frances Sullivan

      Thank you, Katrina. I always look forward to your responses/thoughts. They’re so considered and pretty deep, not to mention, spot on. And yeah, my facade had to go but it was a scary thing – I wasn’t sure I could like me without it. I’m a lot less work than I used to be – hehe – and the struggle is easing up. I am, however, managing and surviving (your words) surprisingly well. I’m proud of my successes in ways I couldn’t have imagined. So yeah, we ain’t dead yet, are we? Hahaha. Far from it!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like your observation “I’m a lot less work that I used to be” – that’s exactly how I feel, too – lol! Yes, far from dead indeed. In a funny way, I feel that I have a lot more life to live now, even though there’s actually less of it. I don’t think I’ll try and work that one out – I’ll just let it sit there 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Frances Sullivan

    Katrina, that’s wild. I feel exactly the same way – and it’s just all of sudden. It’s as if a youthful attitude of – uh – “anything’s possible” appeared out of nowhere. Of course, I’ve no actual direction for all this new-found ‘hey, let’s try that!’ exuberance, but I’m sure something will come along and shove me toward an adventure. Hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s actually quite difficult to find a direction for the new-found enthusiasm, because we’re in new territory. It’s a big learning curve, which is as much about un-learning the old us, and letting the new us in.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Frances Sullivan

      Oh, you’re welcome. The idea started out so differently as ideas often do. But as I got on, I just kept thinking, ‘sleep isn’t the answer. There’s too much of that going on (and no resting – hehe)! So yeah, alert, engaged, and accountable so we can see that light on the horizon. 🙂

      Like

  3. Tina Johnson

    I like this. Live – fully awake, alive. The good the bad and the ugly. (I like your wording, the craggy places). The cobwebs that are swept under the rug, they are still there, just hidden. I think I am going to be coming back to this one. I have heard this sentiment in yoga”do the work”. Thanks for the reminder. Tina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Frances Sullivan

      Aw, so kind. I’ll probably write a bit more on this sleep/wake thing and “doing the work”. Molly wrote a lot about it in her book and it makes sense. We can’t focus on say just our body or just our mind. It’s got to be wholistic and yeah, it’s work but it’s such good work! LOL Hope you’re well and enjoying most of your winter in the beautiful frozen north. 😘🙏

      Like

    1. Frances Sullivan

      Hi Chris! Looks like you managed. Yay!! I don’t find it complicated unless they change something which always complicates things!!! LOL. Thanks for reading. I’m trying to write more now and lighten up – talk about surviving being very alone through COVID and a new city – not so new now but managing much better than I dreamed I could at this age and stage. Kind of proud of myself, actually. Anywho, glad you and Walter are hanging in. I pray things will ease once we can get the vaccine flowing. 😘❤️

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s