sleep laughing

I’m a bit of an oddball.  This is telling, and as a writer, I need to show not tell.

Well, I will show you (in the form of a story) that I am an oddball.

I am a sleep laugher.  I know what you’re thinking: “Hilary, please. You laugh all the time.  You’re a bad stand-up comic’s dream.  This does not impress us.”  Well, fine.  I’m not trying to impress you.  Maybe I am a little bit, but not any more than a little, okay?

The first time I sleep laughed, I was living in Hawaii for a summer.  I feel fabulous writing that sentence.  My summer on Oahu was… magic.  It was all things carefree: full of ocean rejuvenation, giggling nieces, and sister heart-to-hearts.  It was eating fresh fruit and fish daily because we were in Hawaii and eating Cheesecake Factory several times a week because we were in America.  Ahhhh

It was during this period of paradise living that I was sleeping in the living room of a little apartment, as was my brother.  (I said we we were in Hawaii, not that we were rich in Hawaii.)  In my sleep, I dreamed, as I do almost every night.  I wish I could remember this particular dream more vividly, but all I can tell you is that I was talking to Tom Felton, whose hair had fallen out from getting bleached in Harry Potter.  And I told him that his wig looked “so bad.”  In the dream world, this was hysterical.

I laughed at my own “joke” (something I’m often guilty of asleep or awake), but then I woke myself up, still laughing in real life.  Then I was laughing because I woke myself up laughing.  Then my brother was severely scared of my hysteria. (This might be a good time to mention that a month before this incident, I woke up this brother in the middle of the night while balling my eyes out to make sure he was still alive after I had a nightmare where he died; he’s not a fan of my dreams.)  Then we both laughed at the ridiculousness of the dream once I was able to “explain” it as best I could. I’m pretty sure he just got: “Haha Malfoy haha wig.”

Here’s the thing; this has not been a one-time occurrence.  Hawaii was the first, but it has happened several times since, always spurred on by some brilliant “joke” I’ve made in the dream like, “Tom Felton, that wig is so bad.”  Wahahahaha.  Man, I got him.

Here's a really fantastic picture of me sleeping (there are many).  Disclaimer: this was pre-braces.
Here’s a really fantastic picture of me sleeping (there are many). Disclaimer: this was pre-braces.

Let’s just say that dream-world Hilary is out of her mind.  I used to keep a dream journal next to my bed, fill it out, and then read through it in the morning, without remembering what I had written down.  I stopped that.  Sometimes, I had good stuff, sure, like “pizza with caramel crust” or “married Will Power” or “Jon Bon Jovi is a charter school radio host.” However, there’s only so many times you can read “beards for breastfeeding” and “tall Chinese jumping man with many jacuzzi fish” and “become an old folks trainer” before you say this is deeper into my mind than I’m willing to go.

For now, I just know that I’m an oddball and a sleep laugher, which is sort of like a sleep walker, but louder and more obnoxious and less dangerous.

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satisfaction, pt. 1 & throwback thursday

I’m content in never being satisfied.  Let me explain. Life moves, constantly.  At each victory, there is a new mountain, and this cycle is beautiful.  But it’s also tedious and daunting and exhausting. I think, then, that it’s important to savor the tiny moments of satisfaction peppered, or even hidden, in the daily.  These things make me feel accomplished when the bigger dreams are so far from complete, and they make the journey fun.

And let me just say this. I’m in my twenties, and this has made me think it’s entirely natural to feel discontent and far from where I think I need to be.  But I think I’m probably always going to feel a little like that no matter my age.  After all, this isn’t our final destination. It’s a gift to never be done, isn’t it?  I mean, in some ways taking that on, makes me more at rest and more satisfied than when I actually accomplish something I perceive to be huge.  Therefore, I’ve created a list, my friends, of daily things that give me, and I hope you, too, satisfaction.

1. AN EMPTY EMAIL INBOX.  This is an amazing feeling!  Note, you can find all of your unread emails by searching “is: unread” in gmail.  You’re welcome. Outlook is a different beast, and I’m not doing to dwell on my 82 unread emails lost somewhere in the recesses of the internet.  Surely, they’re just advertisements, right?

2. A NEW JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER.  You’ve got a new container of pb.  Congratulations! You now have enough goodness to last you a few weeks’ worth of PB&J’s (or PB&B(bananas)) if you’re hilly now, or you have enough creamy goodness to last you a single afternoon of Grey’s Anatomy if you’re hilly from freshman year of college.  Self control issues concerning the Kryptonite that is peanut butter aside, I think we can all agree that taking the first scoop out of a perfectly smooth surface of manufactured deliciousness is one of the true joys in life. For the record, I am fully supporting of you almond butter lovers out there, but you Nutella people, I think you’re getting greedy.

3. TEETH FLOSSING.  I understand a good deal of us don’t floss. Gross.  I used to be in that category.  Gross. We had to stick it to the dentist, right?  Wrong.  Let me tell you, flossing is one of the best, most satisfying parts of my day.  Yes, that’s right.  Flossing=good. Repeat.

4. LAUGHING.  I’m going to put this twice because I want to.  First, let’s talk about the physical act of laughing.  Laughing is completely satisfying.  It’s cathartic, it lightens everything, it makes you feel like you got a good ab workout in, etc..  When I heard about laugh therapy, I began a habit of taking a few minutes when I’m alone (I would suggest doing the same :)) and laughing.  This means fake laughing until something real comes along.  It’s actually really fun and silly and stupid, and who doesn’t like that combination.  Quiet down, robots.

5. LAUGHTER.  More abstractly, it feels good to be able to laugh at myself.  I do a lot of dumb stuff.  The person who stupidly cut you off in traffic or stood in the middle of the hallway doing nothing but unknowingly blocking your way or even the idiot who forgot to return a movie for a month and now owes twice the movie’s retail value? Those people are probably all me.  I don’t mean to do any of this, and it’s pretty easy to get angry at myself for being dumb.  But, I try, and I’m so happy when I succeed, to just laugh about it.  It’s harder with the traffic, but the hallway thing, that’s how I make a work buddy!  One that hates me to begin with, but hey, I’ll win them over.

These moments are affectionately referred to as “Bridget Jones” moments in the Miller household (possibly only by me). An example? I ordered a coffee named, “The Annihilator” this morning, and no joke, I said, “May I please have The Ann-hil… um the- this one,” having to resort to pointing after I botched the pronunciation of a simple word.  The barista helped me out; I explained that I can’t read, a joke that I gave a little to dryly, and now will never go to that coffee shop again for fear he will give me a pack of Biscuit books.  But the really special part, was how I laughed for five minutes afterwards about it.  I know I’m not actually dumb, I hope.  No, I’m not a genius, but hey, I like that I’m not.  I’m happy with that.  I played a spelling board game once, and one of my friends said that it was sad I couldn’t spell an “easy” word since I want to be a writer.  Well, guess what, I’ve never been good at spelling even though I read and write a lot, so give it a break.  Give yourself a break.  I’ll give you a break.  I want a kit-kat.  This is getting off topic.  The point is, laughing at yourself is a relief, and it’s one that I hope to share, not in a cruel way, but with compassion, to everyone I meet.  We’re going to mess up, and it’s okay.  It’s okay to be you, even if you’re a decently smart, bad spelling, peanut butter loving laugher like me, and it’s okay if you’re not any of those things.  I’m glad I’m me, and I’m glad you’re you, and I’m glad to have little moments of satisfaction for us all to enjoy.

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sometimes winning a matrix competition is as satisfying as it gets

enJOY

“You’re supposed to enJOY it.  All of it.  For the rest of your life.”

I begin this post with a quote from Soul Surfer because I’m going to talk about JOY, swimming, and for unknown reasons, am set on including this picture from Oahu.  So…

Let me be clear, I usually try to enJOY life.  I enJOY the people I am around, even if they’re out of their minds.  I enJOY myself, even when I’m out of my mind.  I try to be intentionally JOYful.

However, JOY is also something that I often realize is missing from my days: the way I interacted with the cashier, the tone I had with my mom on the phone, or even just the way I let the day be less than mediocre for no reason at all.  It seems that as I get older, things that I enJOY are threatened by… grown-up bad attitudes, mostly.

Take swimming.  I LOVE to swim.  Always have.  Ask anyone (mainly my family) about my “dolphin show” I put on in the pool, and then maybe you’ll understand.  Let’s just say I’m pretty good at multiple dolphin-like noises and belly finishes. Moving on… When I joined the swim team in high school, something I loved slowly slipped away from me, from no one’s fault but my own.  I became stressed at practice and angry at my performance. And it was my bad attitude clouding my enJOYment of swimming, making me dread practice, and actually hindering me from getting better.  By the time I got to college, I couldn’t even experience how cool it was to be on an NCAA Div I Swim Team (although it was just for my gpa, so don’t get too impressed).  Instead, I was too embarrassed and disappointed in how slow my times were. What?!  I look back on that now (only three years ago), and I can’t believe I let that amazing opportunity go by.  An opportunity to get better at swimming, yes, but mostly an opportunity to enJOY the experience.  To relish swimming in an Olympic-grade pool with future professional swimmers and Olympians. Seriously, why could I not just chill out and enJOY?!

I say this now because I think that the experiences I’m currently going through that threaten my JOY are very much the same.  The world comes crashing down, trying to rain on my parade. Oh, how it tries.  But guess what, ugly part of the world?  You can’t stop this attitude (the good one)!  I still love swimming, but it took a while to get back together. We’re still working on things. And there are things I treasure, things I do, and ways I think that I refuse to handle with anything but JOY.  So cashier, I’ll make your day next time.  And Mom, feel free to call. I’ll be nice.  And day, you’re going to be spectacular, or at least full of laughter because laughter is my favorite way to live with JOY.

EnJOY your day, and I’m sorry for the annoying caps.  (But not sorry enough to change them.)