What do you think about in the middle of the night? You know, all those times you wake too fully, too early? My sleep is erratic. I can go for weeks sleeping well, mostly sleeping through. And then there are stretches of disrupted nights, waking regularly around 4:00, sometimes 4:30, not drifting off again.
Sunday night was particularly bad, with a 3:00 wake-up. Sometimes when this happens, I can put myself to sleep by counting backwards. I start at 799. Try it. In the English language, “seven” is the only two syllable word in the numbers one through nine. It makes it more effort to say, requires more focus to stay on task. That focus on counting, rather than all the other things a person can think of, is what sends me back to slumber.
But that night it didn’t work. My thoughts ranged broadly, from the quilting book I am writing to the tasks to complete in the coming days, a project I have on the frame… and my demon.
I don’t have many demons. Really there is only one, one person to whom I’ve granted power to torment me. When I lie awake at night, I imagine the various ways I will defeat him, if only given the chance. The fiction I write in my head would not interest most people, perhaps only me. It isn’t worthy of transcribing. It isn’t even worth my mental energy.
But I have granted him power. He absorbs my energy, keeps me from sleep, degrades my otherwise sturdy coping mechanisms. And I need to take my power back.
How do superheroes get their power back? The Incredible Hulk gets his back by getting angry. Frankly, that’s the catalyst for mine draining, so I’m not sure how that works for him. Kryptonite saps Superman’s powers, so all he needs to do is avoid exposure and put on that awesome costume.
Sunday we went to a concert. Keb Mo was performing, a terrific two-hour show with no set break. Toward the end he played one of his famous songs, She Just Wants to Dance.
And I danced. I don’t dance well. I’m kind of a dork, not naturally graceful, physically self-conscious. But I love to dance. And I feel powerful when dancing, physical and feminine and focused.
Obviously I need to dance.
This post from KQED shows eight different problems you can solve by dancing. The problems include boredom, self-image, bad bosses or family members, and bullies. None of them deal with defeating demons.
So I came up with my own playlist for dancing the demons away, with Jim’s help on the Grooveshark list. To focus on dancing, these songs are not just great dance songs, they are about dancing. Play them loudly and dance along!
Laurel and Hardy dance to the Gap Band — this doesn’t quite meet the criterion, but it’s so much fun to watch I included it anyway.
Wild Cherry, Play That Funky Music
Grand Funk Railroad, The Locomotion
Chubby Checker, The Twist
Kenny Loggins, Footloose
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Dancing in the Street
Lionel Ritchie, All Night Long
Michael Sembello, Maniac
The B-52s, Love Shack
And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I Hope You Dance.