Breadcrumbs, Cigarettes & Diet Coke

A few months ago, while staying in an Airbnb on the Oregon coast, I woke up one morning to find my car parked half in the yard and half in the driveway. While anyone who saw my dew covered car that morning might have guessed it’s owner was either drunk or suffering a coronary when parking it, my truth is much harder to understand. You see…I don’t drink alcohol and I haven’t (yet) suffered a heart attack. It’s just that occasionally my body goes out and does things without me.

I’ve gone into detail in past posts about my journey and current endeavor to heal and mend my mind in overcoming dissociative identity disorder, so I won’t bore myself with more explanations of what I often struggle to understand. My life and the reality within which I live is surreal and often unexplainable… It is what it is…whatever it is. This blog and the stories I write myself are my breadcrumbs…little snippets of aha’s and jots of questions that serve as markers and points of reference in my search for my truth. Sometimes, when my life makes no sense at all, just writing about the things that don’t add up solves the equation or at least creates a new variable…a placeholder to be considered later or shared with my psychotherapist.

Today’s breadcrumb is about last night. I have very few distinct memories about last night but quite a few more fuzzy dream-like memories. I remember brushing my teeth and undressing for bed. I remember reading in the too dim light of my bedside lamp. I remember turning off the light and positioning my pillows to go to sleep. These are “real” memories that I remember making. But after these distinct recollections, my memories are more dreamlike. Without the proof this morning otherwise, I would have no doubt that I closed my eyes and fell asleep for the next 12 hours. It would be hard to convince me that my dream memories aren’t just strange dreams. It would be hard to believe that after my light was turned off and my pillows were fluffed, part of me went to sleep but another part ordered a Lyft to the 24-hour convenience store down the road.

While I had gone to bed planning to wake up for an early morning yoga class, I woke up this afternoon with the taste of cigarettes in my mouth, the smell of vomit in my nose and a “guess what you did last night” scavenger hunt set out for me. There were peanut butter cup wrappers on my nightstand, a 12-pack of diet coke with one missing in my kitchen, two packs of cigarettes with one cigarette missing on my counter and an email from Lyft thanking me for my 4:00 a.m. ride. And sitting by the front door is a garbage bag of vomit-soaked paper towels along with the latch hook rug I just finished making and placed by the side of my bed last night.

All this, while puzzling in itself, is even more so considering I quit smoking and drinking caffeine years ago and quit eating processed sugar weeks ago. Since my scare with the bug man a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t felt “right” and have remained agitated and angry. With this disruption in my peace, combined with the scary political events of the last week, my old habits have been revisiting my thoughts often but, until last night, I’ve been able to talk myself out of doing anything about it. Just hours before I went to bed last night, I was googling convenience stores near me and checking prices for rides but didn’t give in to the temptation. When I went to bed last night, I felt good about overcoming. I felt worn out but strong. I felt in charge.

While the experience of my body being out doing things without me is scary as hell, it isn’t new to me. In the past, I am not sure how I managed to reconcile my reality and accept what I didn’t remember until I was reminded to remember. Waking up next to someone with whom I didn’t fall asleep and reaching down to find my vulva swollen and tender from sex I could only vaguely remember having. Waking up alone with messages inked onto my arms, legs and feet with sharpie and in a handwriting that isn’t my own but sometimes shows up in my journals. Waking up with entry stamps on my hands from nightclubs or concerts I didn’t remember going to but could vaguely remember hearing the beat of the music. Waking up with scratches or bruises from injuries I didn’t remember getting but could vaguely remember feeling. Waking up to realities, that were dreams, but were realities all the same.

There is one memory from last night that feels less like a dream than the others. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed telling someone (myself?) that I was a grown woman and could go get myself cigarettes, chocolate and some Diet Coke if I wanted cigarettes, chocolate and some Diet Coke. Admittedly, I’m grateful the argument didn’t include a demand for the touch of a man. Looking at the driver’s profile for the handsome gentleman who was my Lyft driver last night, that past addiction is definitely a demand that could have been easily fulfilled. Were I twenty years younger and not suffering from hemorrhoids, history tells me there is a pretty good chance I would have given my driver more than a good tip. But I didn’t and for this reason, I’m grateful for my gray hair and chronic constipation.

This little peep into the decision making that preceded my dream walking feels like a big step. I may not approve of the outcome of the argument I had with myself last night…but I can remember having it. And this feels like a breadcrumb that will take me somewhere I need to go.