I was truthful in last night's post. I sometimes have dreamed I am Diana Trask - or more accurately, dreamed that I'm the woman speaker in "Oh Boy". My feeling is that I have this dream on warm nights like the one in the song, or maybe it's just that I wake up very frequently when the weather is hot and thus remember more of what's been going on inside when the shutters are down.
Just now I sat quietly and did nothing for a little while and tried to really establish for myself how long I think I've been having this dream for. In complete honesty I can't pin it down any further than two bedrooms ago, which means it started some time between 2007 and 2012. Yes, most likely it was around the time that I had a baby. But I have a shadow of a feeling it began before that. Maybe while pregnant? Certainly that was a hot and heavy summer and, now I think of it, I did walk the streets a lot in the evenings. Anyway, by no means my longest-standing recurring dream - that one goes back to about 1976, and I can't imagine I'll ever talk to anyone about it - but it's been around long enough to have proven its utility through some big shifts in my psyche.
The fascination which my sleeping self can barely be bothered to conceal with this song has nothing to do with seeking a lost lover and everything to do with the gobsmacking way the girl in the song goes out for a walk leaving her sleeping infant at home alone...and singing about it, so casually, almost as an afterthought except that she's so upfront about it...oh yeah my little baby, don't wake up while I'm out ok? kthnxbye, see you when I get back.
I'm not saying I literally want to behave like this myself now, or that I ever have wanted to. Apart from anything else, my son's father is present and he encourages me to go out when I want a change of scene and air. And I do it. I am actually able to go out now, and in the main, with as much sang-froid as the girl in the song. It hasn't always been like that. In the extremely hard first months and years of motherhood, if I went somewhere without the baby or did something that wasn't connected to him, I experienced a choking and constricting mixture of guilt and anxiety, layered with the bewilderment of chronic sleep deprivation, and punctuated with gusts of irritated despair that this apparent return to adult self-sufficiency and independence was just a temporary state of affairs which was very soon going to end, and which I was wasting by not milking every last drop of enjoyment from each passing minute. Even now, when things are so much better, I am really not as good as I need to be at accepting that adult life as I once knew it, with endless and flowing streets of time on which to wander, think, seek lost things, be in whatever mood I'm in, is over forever, and the time of freedom and independence is now something I access in a different way altogether. The girl in the song has a child now, but it hasn't made her less free. I wonder if I'll still be dreaming about her a few years hence.
In not altogether unrelated news, Lenny went to sleep this evening a whole hour earlier than last night - but also a whole hour after he got into bed. I was astonished, and grudgingly impressed I suppose, that he kept it up for so long. It is not possible to make the bedroom in this B and B properly dark, so he woke at 6.20 am today. (When he was about two and a half, I pulled these curtains apart and inserted an extra layer of coated blockout lining in them to make his room impervious to dawn's rosy fingers. Not so long ago I was looking at the curtains and thinking that this extra layer probably served very little purpose beyond giving me an opportunity at the time to act out anxiety about going back into sleep deprivation, but sleeping with him in a room with no curtains confirms that darkness is necessary) An early start followed by three hours int he playground then four hours swimming and playing at the beach - you'd think he'd be asleep before his head hit the pillow, yes? No.
I brought my sewing machine and some cut-out garments with me to Warrnambool, planning to sew in the evenings after Lenny went to sleep. I say 'planning' but the correct word is actually 'imagining'. This is the kind of thing I need to work on being more realistic about. Instead of sewing (new work clothes, which I really need, since I've lost a lot of weight recently and most of my pants are falling off my hips) I've sat here on the flowery and tasselled couch writing blog posts. Not time wasted, by any means - in the long run, doubtless of more value than pants (although pants are really important) - but the point is I can't do both and I would be happier if I was less prone to thinking that I can.
That said, I did sew a few seams last night, not of the boring but necessary pants, but of a sea-green silk slip that I cut out AT LEAST FIVE YEARS AGO, then lost the bits of somewhere in a heap of bits of fabric, then found again last week, presumably in karmic reward for going to the effort to make a nice picnic dinner for us to enjoy on a warm summer evening. (The bits were in a basket that I tipped everything out of in order to carry the picnic to the park.) I can't do any more tonight though, there'll be another 6.30 am start tomorrow....