Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dreams of Daytime

I am a daydreamer. Always have been.

I remember the horror and embarrassment the night my third grade teacher called home to discuss my daydreaming propensity with my parents. In retrospect, I think Mrs. Vincent was too strict to have been a truly good teacher, but I think she was a good person and was genuinely concerned that I'd rather sit alone with my imagination than interact with classmates during free time. And that I never seemed to know the directions when it was time to start an assignment.

I never felt like I got my classmates. Or them me. I had friends with whom I dutifully interacted (and had fun sometimes), but the deepest, me-est part of me didn't seem to be the same as anyone else. So I kept my core hidden and visited as often as possible, sometimes on purpose but mostly slipping in unintentionally because my mind wasn't engaged elsewhere. I dreamed of my dolls secret lives and adventures when I was at school or asleep, of the conversations I would have with my favorite fictional characters when they popped off the page, of the feelings my furniture might have about me. Way would lead on to way until I could not begin to reconstruct the path my fantasies had taken.

Daydream by Leonid Afremov
Even to this day, I can't attend to a purely auditory source. That's probably just a smidge of an attention deficit, and likely why I never get much out of sermons. I solemnly resolve at the beginning of a lecture to focus, to attend, but then I am awakened by a question or an exclamation a minute later, and I discover I have no idea what has been said. One of my high school English teachers reported to my father at an open house that it always looked as if I wasn't paying attention, but when she'd ask me a question, I'd know the answer.

Can you imagine the inward sigh of relief on hearing this report? I can still feel that moment of frozen panic when being called on and having no memory of what had been asked. Hearing (or imagining) the quiet snickers or impatient shifts of posture of classmates recognizing that I had been daydreaming once again (I'd gone to school with the same core of people for years; they knew my propensities). Frantically searching my brain for a snippet of what had just been said to gain a clue as to what my answer should be. I guess by high school I'd developed that skill well enough for Mrs. Vurlicer.

To this day, I prefer tasks that don't require my full attention. Crafting, cooking, gardening. I like to work with my hands to leave my mind free to roam. Thoughts on relationships, real and fictional; fantastic or unlikely situations; alternate lives and realities. And too often: perseverating on my worries.

Last school year, my daughter's teachers approached us with their concerns about her intense daydreaming. They reported that even when they called her name she did not respond. And there it was: a flash of recognition and strengthening of the understanding between us that sometimes seems too tenuous. I am 38 years old, and I often awaken to the realization that my children are calling for me or my husband is repeating my name with annoyance, and I have been been tripping through my imagination for untold minutes, blocking out real life. It's a coping mechanism, true, but it's also a joy.

I once even lost a friend over this trait. But in true stubborn (and appropriate) form, I figured if she was willing to abandon me over daydreaming, she wasn't worth holding on to.

But I wonder (as I daydream): Is this typical? Does everyone do this to an extent? Tell me.


It's time! Join Josie's Two Shoes Tuesday 100th Anniversary!


31 comments :

  1. ok did I lose that or do you have an approval thing I dont currently see?

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  2. Dammit! That means I lost it if that one printed... awww it was my best comment ever! Of course all the ones you lose are the best right?

    Oh well, I was saying that I think you know where I stand on the daydream thing but I DO and DID always daydream but never to the point that I wasnt hypervigilantly alert and couldnt be called out of my reverie. I have been accused of being too alert and aware so I guess neither of us will be making everyone happy anytime soon!

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    1. Well, boo, I'm glad for this comment, but I wish I could read your best comment ever! Make everyone happy, such a pipe dream.

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  3. How important it is to be a person that thinks and perceives things in different ways. Imagination and creativeness are essential; that is what drives mankind on. Being a writer that attribute is so valuable. Perhaps your daydreaming daughter will have a bright and interesting future too.

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    1. Thanks so much. I hope for a very bright future for her!

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  4. I may be daydreaming without realizing it. Maybe, writing in my blog can be a form of daydreaming...

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    1. Perhaps so. I think that idea is an interesting one.

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  5. This was such a fun read! I found myself smiling and nodding my head all the way through, because I too was the classroom dreamer, and my teachers often reported it to my parents, although I always made good grades. I found routine classroom work to be kind of tedious, so my mind would travel out the big windows that our old school had back then, and off it would go on it's own adventures, only to be summoned back by a teacher waiting for my response. I have the same issues you do with keeping my mind quiet and present, even when I really want to. I tend to blog and watch tv with Papa Bear at the same time, and even then I am also keeping an eye on my phone, and thinking about something from work! I love your travels into the world of creative fantasy, what would the furniture think indeed!? Thank you for stopping by to join us for this special edition of Two Shoes Tuesday, hope to see you again! :-)

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    1. Thanks so much! I love when blogging offers a connection with someone who gets who your brain works! I do the same as you--always two or more things at once.

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  6. I'm coming back later because the Hub just reminded me that we have a date fifteen minutes ago and I'm on the computer. I want to engage here, but I want to give it my full attention. And I am already promised to my Hub, who definitely deserves full attention. Later! XO

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    1. I could not possibly have attended to this the way I wanted to yesterday. There was way too much happening in my head (a whole other story) and the Hub was waiting for our Big Bang Theorydate.
      I was always daydreaming...particularly in school. I never fidgeted, never got out of my seat, never appeared to be doing anything I wasn't supposed to be. But my mind was almost always somewhere else. Want to guess what that little trait turned out to be? My inattentive variety of ADHD. I still do it...sometimes it's practical to allow myself to do so and it's wildly productive. Other times, not so much...like drifting off in a meeting, for example, is generally not a good idea. :D (Although if you've been to a faculty meeting you know it's much more entertaining to let your mind go somewhere else!)
      Aside from the ADHD, it is also very often a sign of a highly creative mind and I won't argue with it. I see it in my daughter, too - sometimes I swear she's "there" more than "here," if that makes sense. Always off in her own little land thinking about a thousand different things. Let me tell you, though, the things that she brings back with her from that world are spectacular and brilliant...I have great hope that if we can channel that power for good, rather than evil, she will do just fine. Now we just have to figure out how to do that... :D

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  7. Preaching to the choir! I could have written this, Sarah, only not nearly as well as you, and without that awesome painting. I used to take a turn line judging at volleyball games when my daughter was in middle school, but now that she's in high school, I refuse to do it, because I know I'll daydream and miss an important call and parents get really angry at line judges for missing important calls!

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    1. My horror, Dyanne! I've had to keep score at various informal events before, and I am MISERABLE. I get your choice!

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  8. I feel like I want to absorb this more than is possible while tired and thinking about work tomorrow but OMG, I am happy that you wrote this because I feel like it's me, all over again, in all of the grades...

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    1. I hope you got some sleep! I like identifying with you. :)

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  9. Really, Sarah, I think creative minds do this. What do you think Van Gogh was thinking when he painted those self portraits. Sometimes my daughter, yells at me and says, "Get out of your head." I bet that third grade teacher always wondered what happened to you as you grew up. Thanks for talking about this is an open honest way. And it's a lot more fun than standing in line in a grocery store or waiting at a doctor's office.

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    1. Yeah, come back here anytime to compare me to Van Gogh. Ha! It's a lot more fun to discuss this than waiting in line or it's more fun to daydream than wait in line? Course you can do both. :)

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  10. I go through the exact same things. I have to force myself to "attend" too. My daughter often complains about my not listening. I tell her to say mom listen it is important. I don't get mad when she says this because it is our agreed upon cue to bring me out of my dreamscape. So glad I am not alone in this. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It's good to have special cues like that in relationships, isn't it? It's so hard to pay attention!

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  11. I absolutely love your day dreaming self- because I have always believed that us 'dreamers' have this gift of seeing the world and opening our hearts and minds to what is glorious and beyond what we see. Your perspective is surely one that ignites deep wonder and amazement at 'life'- whether fiction or non fiction, and I consider that exceptional and unique. I love how you worded this Sarah. Your words illustrate exactly the creativity and insight of a daydreamer. I kind of love that your girl has your gift too...

    No matter how hard the challenge is to stay focused and plug into this world- I think we discover where we thrive at a young age, and there is always a beauty in finding our true core of who we are. And yours? Give life depth and meaning and vast imagination to explore!

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    1. I'm so glad I expressed this in a way that's insightful and meaningful to you, Chris. You so often write things so beautifully. And I like having this connection with you!

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  12. *shivers with joy at 'perseverating'*

    I have depths inside me that even I'm afraid to explore.

    I used imagination as a means of escape for too long, when life was worse and I was young. It got a bit much. Got so I found more meaning and relevance there than in real. It wasn't healthy. I had to stop.

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    1. I absolutely love the word 'perseverate.' I learned it from a former coworker who has a daughter on the spectrum, as they say.
      But, this is a sad comment, Lizzi. I'm glad I've read some of your other stuff since.

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    2. I'm going to have to use it at some point :D I may even need to refresh my memory as to its meaning, first ;)

      It is a sad comment. It's been a life which, from a young age, required escape of one form or another. One was into books, and the other was into my own mind.

      I'm glad you know it didn't end there.

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  13. I have always been a daydreamer. It is one of my favorite things to do. I understand the school dilemma and the drifting from reality. Still today, as an old(er) woman, I will sometimes drift off somewhere. It is most satisfying to me but frustrating to others.

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    1. That's exactly it: satisfying to self, frustrating to others.

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  14. Oh my gosh, you ARE me! Or I am YOU! That was exactly me in school, and I would panic all the time as I would "come to" in class and realize I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I still daydream. I think it's a fantastic trait as a human, personally... but I do try to keep my feet on the ground a little more. I often fail. I LOVED this post!!

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  15. Hasn't happened to me as yet, Sarah.
    God bless!
    Christmas wishes for you & your family :)

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