The other day I dreamt that I joined the Army (I am an Army brat so maybe that’s not so terribly out of left field in my subconscious brain) and that the Army then called me to tell me that I had 18 hours to deploy to Iraq. It then seems my dream lasted those 18 hours as I tried to find a babysitter for Happy in Iraq (yes, because the Army lets you deploy with your kid and all as would BF), tried to go shopping for appropriate clothes to wear in Iraq when I wasn’t on duty, tried to finish my grading so somebody could give my students back their media diet papers, tried to finalize all the outstanding Circle de Luz details, tried to make meals and freeze for BF, tried to pack my suitcase, tried to ship diapers over, tried to buy an e-book reader and load it with how many books I needed, tried to ignore the news about what was happening in Iraq at the time, blah, blah, blah. I woke up, as you might imagine, exhausted and unsettled. I mean, seriously, stress dream much?
And, for the rest of that day, I was fried. Absolutely fried on the inside. My stomach- which is always the harbringer of my stress level- just couldn’t settle down. Because the truth is that it wasn’t the Iraq dream that had me stressed out, it’s my life right now. Sometimes, all your balls are in the air and they are coming down so fast, you are fairly certain you can’t catch all of them, but you are worried about which one you aren’t going to catch. Twice in the last two weeks, I’ve had friends say, “I was just thinking about how you always keep it together and how nothing ever phases you” just as I am revealing to them how untogether I am and how very phased I am. I am more zig-zag then zen right now. So, I did the only thing I knew how to do with that stomachache. I called my sister and said, “can I tell you about my crazy dream and why I think I had it?” And I laid it all out on the table. Every single thing that has me stressed out was called out and claimed. And with that, a calm settled over me. I could name every single thing that was on my mind and while I only have control of the outcome on about 50% of the stuff that is stressing me, I could name it all and know what might be the worst case scenario for what’s coming later. With that, the stress stomachache calmed a bit. Not long after that, I was driving through town with Happy in the backseat and a girl came running towards me. I’ve always dreamed of being the girl who takes her troubles to the road in her running shoes. But I am not that girl because I am such a fair weather runner. That said, the weather is supposed to be great this week and I have a 5k to run in four weeks and I’ve run exactly once since the calendar turned to 2011 (truth be told, though, that’s the smallest of worries in my stomach these days).
Not long after I hung up with my sister, I did the next best thing that I could do which was promptly get out of my head (the way that I imagine running might allow me to one day). So I took myself to Pilates class, and I focused on strengthening my core over the butterflies that had been in my core. Because, sometimes, we just need to silence everything, and finding a tool that helps you do that is a gift. When I got back home, I was mentally reorganized into the woman that I know, that I love, that sustains me.
That night, I had vivid dreams, but they weren’t stress dreams. I woke up and checked in with my stomach. Nothing there. That’s the goal, I told myself, don’t let anything get in there today. Because it’s one thing if something happens and a whole ‘nother thing when just my mind meld happens. I didn’t want my mind meld to happen. And it worked. When the early evening rolled around, I allowed myself to head back to Pilates, except this time I took it one step further. Instead of hopping in my car for the easy drive to the gym, I laced up my sneakers and ran there.