On Elm Street

Let’s talk, for a brief second, about nightmares.

Up until about a month ago, I would have said that I didn’t have nightmares, or perhaps that, if I was having nightmares, at least I couldn’t remember them. It had, at that point, been years since I’d woken up with that unease or tightness around the chest and clouded confusion, and I felt reasonably grateful that, for all that my brain can be a contradictory and messy place at times, at least I wasn’t letting my sleep be ruined by it. And then, I got the new job.

It is, in retrospect, very funny to me that I had nightmares about the new position in the space between accepting the offer and actually starting. There was a four day window — time off that I’d already been scheduled for (part of it a weekend) — between the two things happening, and I was already spending it exhausted and sick, which meant that it was the perfect time for my subconscious to really take pleasure in transmitting what is, looking back, the most specific and shitty nightmares about the new job possible.

Reader, I had nightmares about not filling in spreadsheets properly. Moreover, I had those nightmares for multiple nights in a row.

There’s so much more about my new position to worry about than spreadsheets — there’s so much in life to worry about than spreadsheets — but for some reason, that was the thing that my brain kept coming back to: that I wasn’t updating editorial schedules properly, or that I was inputting the wrong information and ruining things for other people accidentally. Everything was centered around me doing spreadsheets wrong in some way, and that making life difficult for other people.

Only I would have nightmares where it’s not about me being in trouble, but me making things difficult for other people. Now we really know that my subconscious is playing dirty.

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