I don't often dream, but when I do, I'm either being brutally murdered by a family member or doing something dreadfully mundane like going to the bathroom. Believe it or not, the bathroom dreams are the scariest. Everything else can be discounted as fantasy and fiction, but these, the ones when I envision myself doing things that I regularly do, seem real and visceral. Like the lines between our world and the dream world are temporarily blurred, and I lose the ability to distinguish between the two. These dreams plagued me periodically throughout childhood. There was always this overwhelming sensation of wakefulness.
I blink my eyes open and sigh, annoyed that the overwhelming urge to relieve myself had woken me from a deep sleep. I roll over onto my side and sit up, blanketing my feet in my fuzzy, pink bedroom slippers that I knew were always perfectly placed at the edge of the bed.
The creak of my rickety old bedframe echoes into the quiet apartment, threatening to rouse everyone else from their slumber. I make the short trek, which felt eternal at 4 AM, to the bathroom down the hall, do the do and hold my breath at the deafening flushing sound that seemed to bounce off the walls. I return to my room, kick off my fluffy slippers once more, tuck myself back into the warmth of the covers, close my eyes and return to sleep.
Then I wake up, actually and am horrified to find that my trip to the bathroom didn't happen. Well, it happened in my mind. And it also happened all over my bedspread and my pyjama pants and my mattress. I want to say that the last time I experienced this was when I was 10 or 11. But, I'll be honest. This late-night tank emptying was an occurrence that 22-year-old me endured a week ago. Before that, though, the last time I might've been 10 or 11. I woke up freaking out. Surely, my ragged breathing and repeated mutterings of "Oh my god! Oh my god!" carried over into my roommates' rooms.
It was 4:30 AM, and completely ignoring roommate-laundry etiquette, I frantically ripped my bedspread, duvet cover, pillowcases and mattress protector off of my mattress, which thankfully was unaffected by this whole ordeal, and chucked them into the washing machine. We have an old, beaten-up machine that shakes and rumbles when loaded up. I imagine it sounded like someone was taking a hammer to a particularly stubborn piece of steel. I proceeded to change my bedsheets, put my headphones on and rolled right back into another dream. A few hours later, when I was transferring my laundry to the dryer, my roommate approached me and asked why I decided to run the machine so early. She wasn't angry so much as incredibly curious.
"It must've been an emergency."
"Oh yeah! Total emergency! Woke up, and it looked like a bloody massacre!"
I lied and used a period excuse. Is that less embarrassing? Is blood more palatable than urine? Why? I think the threat of alienation causes embarrassment. We are embarrassed because, in the moment, we are alone in our experience of an activity. When you fall in a public place, and the pressure of the stares of strangers buries you, you are alone. When you text someone accidentally or say something nonsensical to a person you have romantic feelings for, you are alone. When I lied to my roommate about the laundry, I swapped out my embarrassment for an experience that she could share in and empathize with as a woman. Been there, done that. Now I'm sharing this cringe-inducing experience on the internet for strangers to judge because maybe someone else has endured something similar. Or perhaps I'm just the weirdo that wet the bed at 4:30 AM at 22 years old. Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading.
If you liked this post, please be sure to like this post! If you're able to leave a small tip, it'd be greatly appreciated and also, feel free to check out some of my latest stories. I recommend starting with this one: