Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sleep Confidence

Do you ever have an overwhelming sensation of creative desire? It's where you feel like your pores are just oozing creative juice and you need to find some sort of outlet before it all goes away, so you think of all of the different creative channels you could potentially use.

I could do a dance! No, that's weird. I will paint a portrait! Nope, my artistic abilities have not improved since 2nd grade. Okay...then I will burst forth into the sky as a radiant beam of light, and I will explode like a supernova as I cover the earth with a blanket of glitter and magic!!!!!! Good's not even possible.

Is that just me?

I tried to find a picture to describe this sensation, and after 20 minutes, this is the best I could do.

Well, anyway, I feel like that a lot, and it's super frustrating. Despite my great capacity for heightened creative energy, I have severely limited artistic ability (as is evidenced in the following picture I drew of a shark in Draw Something).

And believe it or not, this is one of my better depictions.

When I start to feel creative, I usually decide to write. The problem is that my creative sugar-high usually precedes ideas of what I should actually write about. I know that this energy is only momentary, so I need to take advantage of it while I can. From here on, I start to panic. It's a feeling similar to holding a city's water supply in your hands while frantically searching for a bucket. It's a high-pressure situation, which (like most stressful situations) usually results in an undeserved nap. 

No one in this picture deserves a nap, and neither do I.
I have remedied this anxiety by keeping notes on potential writing topics. Even when my creative juice levels are not spiked, I often think of ideas of what I want to eventually write about. For most of my life an idea would come to me and I would think about how I will write about that later, and then I would think about how later I want to make baked potatoes for dinner, and then I would think about how potatoes are good in so many forms, and then I would think about how good is relative, and then I would think about how I needed to call my relatives, and then I would think about kneading bread, and then I would think about how Jesus said that man should not live by bread alone, and then I would think about how that's written in the Bible, and then I would think about how I had an idea of something to write...and then, by that time, I would have forgotten the thought that spawned these subsequent useless thoughts.

Now that I have an iPhone, though, I have been keeping these ideas in my Notes app. It's quite handy. I've been able to hold onto solid ideas that I would otherwise discard into the recesses of my mind by just typing out what I call "trigger phrases"

Trigger phrases remind me in a shorthand manner of larger concepts that I want to later write about. Usually they work well...when I'm conscious, that is.

The problem comes when I write these trigger phrases in my sleep. Naturally, I keep my phone by my bed in case anything awesome comes to mind, and most nights I end up writing total nonsense. Here are some gems straight from my Notes app:

Grizzly man foxes

Adults talking to babies...remember that time that lady talked to you on the train?

You were an idiot 10 years ago 

And my personal favorite...Ponies - God preparing women for a horse war

Obviously, these phrases are absolutely meaningless. I know this now that I am awake, but at night I suffer from a serious, fatal, and highly-made up condition called Sleep Confidence.

Sleep Confidence allows me to believe that I am the best person ever and that I'm awake enough to be using an iPhone. I somehow find meaning in the words "grizzly man foxes" and I am convinced that I will wake to find coherent statements of genius. 

This video is exactly how I feel with Sleep Confidence.

I wish I could have a discussion with Sleep Confident Christy. Maybe she does have all of the answers. Maybe she is a genius. Maybe "grizzly man foxes" is the answer to world hunger. 

And maybe this kind of confidence is something I should learn to incorporate into my conscious life. To be honest, I spend so much time worrying if my ideas are good enough that I often don't execute them. Sleep Confident Christy can go from a dream where she is giving a tattoo to Amelia Earhart to writing without giving it a second thought. Conscious Christy has this bummer called "reality" constantly holding her back.  

Maybe Sleep Confident Christy will make some kind of Freaky Friday switch with me (as long as I don't have to be Jamie Lee Curtis...or Lindsay Lohan...can I be Shelley Long?). 


  1. Love this. I was actually thinking a lot about this- or something really similar- earlier today. Crazy.

    I love that we're friends. Every day.

    1. Does this happen to you too?!

      I also love that we're friends!

    2. It doesn't necessarily happen in my sleep, but it does happen.

      Thinking about it now, I can't entirely pinpoint what specific stars align to create the circumstances in which I experiences bouts of creative genius/insanity. I think it's a combination of being sleep deprived and having miscellaneous environmental factors that get my train of consciousness off track.

      But I know I sometimes get really excited about an idea I think is brilliantly hilarious- one that will probably make me famous- only to discover soon afterward that it might have been really stupid.

      I recently started writing ideas down in a little notebook, but I haven't looked back on them yet. Who knows what I'll discover??

  2. Daniel O'ShoneyApril 12, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    I'm right there with you on the grizzly man one. He should have been fox man, and then he would still be with us today.

    Everything about this is great.

    1. Gosh. He should have been Kitten Man, honestly.

      Everything about YOU is great!

  3. I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR A POST FOR WHAT FEELS LIKE SO LONG! So badly, in fact, that I immediantly scrolled down to the comments section and haven't even read it yet. I did, however, notice that you have the video of the uber-confident toddler. I try to wake up to her every morning.

  4. I actually think of what seems like amazing topics right before I fall asleep, then subsequently forget them. To remedy this, I've basically turned my bed into a desk. It's probably borderline gross, but I basically sleep surrounded by papers, recipes, books, scissors, and anything relevent to whatever I'm currently working on.

    1. sleeping surronded by scissors? i hope for your sake they are the rounded safety scissors.

    2. Wow! I did not know this about you, Emily! Please take a picture because I have to know the extent of this chaos to decide if it's gross or not. As long as you don't surround yourself with old Band-Aids, I think you are fine.

    3. You might have to wait on that picture. Right now my bed-desk actually looks quite neat, because I just washed my sheets and had to find somewhere else to put my stuff (i.e., the floor).

  5. Christy, I totally get this...if only we could all be a little more sleep confident! But for me too, it's right before bed. Do you remember that morning devo from a couple of summers ago with our little "I've been created, you've been created" ditty? That night that we planned, we all thought it was so great (probably because we were all so delirious!), and I remember waking up the next morning thinking, "What in the world are we doing?! This is either going to be amazing or be a huge flop." I'd like to think it was not a flop.

    This semester, I had a little burst of creative energy one night and came up with this fantastic activity for school. I got up and wrote it all down so I wouldn't forget it...or convince myself it was stupid. When I told my teacher my idea, I had to preface it with, "You know when you lay in bed late at night and have these crazy ideas? Well, this is one of them, so I don't know if it is really good or just crazy." Turns out she loved my idea, and we actually just finished it all up this week. My students had a blast with it too.

    I just wish I actually followed through like this more often; most of the time by the morning, I end up talking myself out of potentially great ideas!

  6. Emma! Of course I remember that devotion. And yes, it was not a flop at all! I still get that song in my head, and you know what, every time I remember it, I remember that I've been created!

    I would love to hear what your school activity idea was. It's true. The best ideas either come in bed or in the bathroom. It's the strangest thing.

  7. I had to do a 2 week integrated unit with the assessment having to be "authentic" (rather than just like a test or something). Third grade is required to do a research project each year, and my teacher has them research from a list of American heroes.

    So my idea that I came up with was to have each group (most were working in partners) develop an interview presentation with one partner dressing up and portraying their hero, while the other one is the host/interviewer. I set it up big like it was an awards/TV show honoring the heroes. The front of the room was the "set" (I made some paper theatre curtains for the white board,we used a couple special "interview" chairs, and set out a bunch of carpet squares to make a rug). Then we also pushed all of the desks along the wall and just had the chairs set up in rows for the audience.

    Like I said most of the kids really enjoyed it; some of them really did a good job of getting into character. It was a lot of fun but also a lot of work...well worth it, though!


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