Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nap Time and Boredom

When I was little, probably about 4 or 5, I decided I was going to run away from home. My reason - nap time was too tortuous. How could anyone just lay there for 30 minutes and do nothing? The boredom was overwhelming!

"Can I get up now?"
"It's only been 10 minutes! Go to sleep!"

If I drifted off into imaginary adventures, my mom always knew.

"Lori, if you don't lay down and go to sleep, you will not be let out or your room!"

How did she know? I would be so careful not to make a noise. Being sent to your room was supposed to be punishment, yet I had to endure this imprisonment every afternoon.

One afternoon, I snapped. I had a baby sitter that afternoon. Sandy Quist. I always looked up to her. She was so cool with her long golden hair, and the finger painting classes she'd have in her garage for little kids like me. None of that mattered, though, when she said it was nap time. I could endure no more. Being little must have been a crime. I needed to find a way to escape this horrible form of punishment. In a moment of desperation, I devised a plan for my great escape. It was to make a mad dash for the front door. Unfortunately, I was caught before I ever tasted freedom.

"Where ya goin'?" Sandy asked in confusion.
"I'm running away from home."
"Cause I'm never gonna take naps again!"
"Well... what cha gonna eat?" She was smiling now.
Hmm... I hadn't thought of that.
"Where ya gonna sleep at night?"
I just shrugged.
"Under a bridge?"

I nodded even though the thought of sleeping under a bridge seemed a little scary. Sandy was able to convince me that 30 minutes of nap time was better than living under a bridge. Now I long for nap time. My mother said that would happen one day. Laying there for 30 minutes is a lot easier when you don't have anyone scolding you for going on imaginary adventures.

Boredom. Now that's another story. I could be in the middle of watching Mr. Rogers, and suddenly be consumed by a feeling that everything in life was hopelessly mundane and boring.

"Mom, I'm bored."
"Well, go outside and play, honey."

Nothing I could do would make that feeling go away, and I really don't think that was poor Mr. Rogers' fault. As a teenager, that feeling turned into a feeling of unexplainable loneliness and boredom, and as an adult, hopelessness. I never understood that feeling, but always associated it with the color brown, and after a while, I began to realize that it's extremity was not normal.

It didn't take me long to realize that crayons seem to posses the magic I needed to keep the brown boredom monster at bay. On one of my nap time adventures, I was able to sneak into my closet with a box of crayons and create one of my first masterpieces on the wall. I thought I was pretty clever, because mom never realized I wasn't napping. Then one day, I heard her yell, "[my full legal name, middle name included]! Get in here right this instant!"

"What is this, young lady?!"

It seemed pretty obvious to me, as she was pointing to my masterpiece, so I thought, "does she know that I wasn't napping?"

Sensing my bewilderment, she announced, "We do not draw on the walls!"

Oh. What a concept. Little did she know, I would get paid to do that later in life.

I think that it was about this time when my mom said she realized that I would much rather make my own drawings than color in coloring books. She was pretty clever in that way. She started buying me colored construction paper, instead. She said it amazed her how I would sit for hours and draw, while the other kids my age would get distracted and wander off. As a teenager, I did so even more, including during class when I was supposed to be listening to teachers. School was unbearably boring to me. I usually understood the teachers the first couple of times they explained something. I would spend the rest of class drawing on my book covers. Like nap time, it was the only way I could make it through.

Now, I escape digitally into photoshop or one of my other programs. I'm finding, though, that I can use it for more than just an escape. It's helping me to understand the monster a little better. The escape detaches me a little from the overwhelming feelings, so I can look at it from a different perspective, especially if I'm escaping into a picture of something I really love. I think the more time I spend feeling positive, the better equipped I am to battle depression. Even if the drawing is negative in nature, though, the escape is still helpful in breaking down barriers, releasing the negative emotions, and in giving a positive feeling of accomplishment. It continues to amaze me how such a simple creative act can do so much on so many levels.

Here's a poem I wrote when I was probably about 16 for a class assignment:

I feel brown
Not a wood stained brown
Not a suntanned brown
Not a brown like the mantle piece
that only appeals the the guest's eye

But a childhood memory brown
Brown like the artist symbol of boredom
Brown like the mixture of
a dull, lonely blue-gray
and a sick orange
Brown like a forgotten feeling
that hasn't died yet


Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I like your escape from boredom into art! That is excellent, because it is a more meaningful escape that drugs, alcohol, eating etc. Art creates something beautiful. Poetry, too, even when sad. Nice poem.

I have a problem with boredom while "napping" now. I have insomnia and can't sleep at night and I lay awake being bored out of my gourd just like I did during quiet hour.

My Mom called it "quiet hour," which was supposed to sound less threatening than nap.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I tried to write what I did on that Not a fractal in green.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I love the fractals.

Jannie Sue "Funster" said...

That was a great poem for any age!

bluerose9062 said...

Thanks Mary! I think I have the opposite problem as you. I can sleep all the time, and do. Haven't had a chance to try out your instructions, yet. Hope to soon. I really liked the blue one you sent me. I'm going to make one for you. :]

Thanks Jannie Sue! Loved your website. Very entertaining! I really liked the song "Bones".

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I just reread the brown poem--I know that feeling, excellent poem.