Sleeping the Weekends Away

slothI love planning ahead. It’s one of the finer points of scoring as an interchangeable INTJ and INFJ on the Meyers-Briggs test. So when my husband announced that he was going out of town for a few days, I planned my weekend. I would have a glass of wine and watch Jessica Jones on Friday. I would exercise Saturday morning and see one or two shows at the Dallas Comedy House that night, and then Sunday would be the day that I got some writing done for National Novel Writing Month, which I’m super behind on. Instead, I didn’t leave my bed all weekend.

I’ve been a fatigue artist for most of my adulthood. It’s a natural symptom of depression in addition to some other minor medical issues I have. So, when I take a nap, it’s not the 15- to 30-minute power nap that is preferable for human beings. I can engage in some heavy duty sleep two to four hours, and still get a decent eight hours of sleep that night.

What can I say? I’m a natural talent.

This is something that I’ve recently figured out is a problem. I’m someone who aspires to a creative lifestyle, someone who yearns to perform and write as much as time can possibly allow. And as much as I find sleeping in my nice warm bed enjoyable, I’m not measuring up to my full potential by allowing my weekends to get lost. The life of a two-toed sloth is appealing, but I am a bipedal mammal of complex thought who is not nearly as adorable as those fluffy, smiley sleepy-heads.

So the question becomes, “What can I do to get the most out of my day?” The go-to methods don’t really work for me. Caffeine? It’s just something I take with breakfast in the morning because it tastes good. Then I suffer the withdrawal headaches when I forget my cup of coffee the next morning. Exercise? I don’t so much get a rush of endorphins so much as my body responding, “Good job, three miles! You did it! That’s enough for one day, now you can’t use your brain any more and your eyelids are getting heavy. Go lie down.”

The best way I’ve handled this before—and continue doing on-again and off-again—is to treat at least half the weekend like I am going to work. The other half, I’m allowed to nap and recharge. I split this up in whatever feels comfortable for that weekend, which is usually half-days on both Saturday and Sunday. I guess that time could also be spent running errands, but I would much rather skip the grocery store and go to a cafe and write followed by a night seeing a stage show. Then I follow the rule of author John Scalzi: 1,000 words or four hours is the limit. Whichever comes first, that’s the stopping point. The reward is my head on a pillow, snuggled up next to my dog.

This attitude of staying away from home is a little easier when I’ve already spent eight or more hours at my day job. The weekend, though? It’s so hard to give up the weekends after pretending to be an adult for 40-plus hours. The perfect weekend often involves wearing your pyjamas all day and watching cartoons while eating Fruity Pebbles out of a Tupperware bowl. However, that’s only one or two hours of a morning for me. The rest is sleep. For a creative personality, REM sleep doesn’t fulfill that artistic need that I need to express. Sure, inspiration can be found in a dream. However, the act of writing down comes with the reality of the waking world. Plus, there’s a cup of coffee and a Tupperware of Fruity Pebbles waiting there. So go forth, arise, and feast upon the meal of the modern artist!

KC Ryan is currently a Level Three student at DCH. An office worker by day, she spends her nights writing, improvising, recording podcasts, and having existential crises. She’s a co-host of Parsec Award-nominated podcast Anomaly Supplemental about general sci-fi and fantasy topics. Her greatest achievement so far is convincing her husband to watch Project Runway.

Doing Dallas: Now Walk It Out

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. There are few things I dislike more than waking up early or working out; among them are tonsillectomies, catheters, and paper cuts to the eye. So, when I found out about this next Dallas tradition, I was initially hesitant because it involved waking up early TO workout – basically my worst nightmare.  But, I decided to take one for the team because this activity is simply too perfectly, marvelously Dallasy to pass up.

NorthPark Center: A gym with free membership!

See, I was recently told that NorthPark Center is the place to workout on weekday mornings from 8 – 9 a.m. Apparently, walking around the giant square that is NorthPark is a wonderful (and popular) butt-toning activity. Never mind that your square neighborhood block is literally just steps from your front door – oh, no! It’s totally way better to drive a sizable distance to an establishment in which none of the stores are open yet and walk around the abandoned space. Fresh air and nature? Pshaw! Give me food court smells and window shopping or give me death! Okay – that might be a little extreme, but I was so fascinated with and tickled by this phenomenon that I had to try it out for myself.

Here’s what happened:

A Retroactive Live Blog: Walkin’ in NorthPark*

* This title should be read to the fabulous tune of “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 – Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

11:00 p.m. – Already dreading waking up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. Setting my alarm for 7:30 a.m., I cringe knowing that my precious REM cycle and dreams of Ryan Gosling will be soon be brutally interrupted.

1:24 a.m. – Unable to sleep; worried about how I’ll perform in the morning. Will there be sprints up the escalator stairs? Should I have a jogging stroller? Will there be relay races around the mall? Maybe I should bring my baton just in case.

2:20 a.m. – Five hours until I have to physically exert myself. Probably even break a sweat. Five…five…fiiiivvveeeee…

7:30 a.m. – The shrill sound of my alarm clock pierces my peaceful, baby-like slumber. NO. IT IS TOO EARLY FOR THIS. Log rolling out of my lofted bed, I land with a thud, grab the alarm and hit the snooze. I lay in fetal position on the floor, soaking up my last few minutes of sleep.

7:35 a.m. – Snooze alarm sounds. NOOO. Trying to figure out how to sleep more. “I’m working out, I don’t need to shower or wear make-up, right? Or will the Yogis roaming the straight in front of Lululemon judge my under eye circles and disheveled bun? After all, I am exercising in NorthPark Center – the social watering hole of Dallas – so I suppose I should look presentable.”

7:40 a.m. – JK. I like sleep more than bronzer, so I succumb to the snooze once again and decide that no selfies shall be taken in the making of this blog.

8:10 a.m. – Game face, though not made-up face, on, I have arrived and am ready to do this thang.

8:15 a.m. – Successfully enter the mall. Whoa. There are fewer people here than I expected – clearly the watering hole is experiencing a drought. Which way should I go? Is it like a, “On Tuesday/Thursday we walk counterclockwise” situation? Suddenly I see two powerwalking, baby-stroller-pushing women rapidly approaching and I panic. Intimidated by their show of speed, strength, and agility, I take off in the opposite direction.

8:17 a.m. – I discover a playlist on my iPod called “Running.” It’s been a while since I’ve needed to use such a playlist, and so it hasn’t been updated for some time. I click it anyway. The first song on the shuffle? "My Humps" by The Black Eyed Peas, of course.

Cool artsy statue or axe-murderer coming to kill me? YOU TELL ME.

8:20 a.m. – This is quite frightening. Walking down empty corridors alone, the statues somehow look much more threatening. Praying my exercise-attempt doesn’t become the topic of a 60 Minutes.

8:27 a.m. – I arrive at the escalators. No one is doing sprints up them – they’re really missing out on a solid workout. An escalator is totally like a stair climber, right? I take the steps two at a time and repeat. LOOK AT ME, DOING FITNESS.

8:27 a.m. – A rogue jogger just whizzed past. I REPEAT, A ROGUE JOGGER JUST WHIZZED PAST.

The skirt, tempting me as I walk.

8:33 a.m. – There is the CUTEST skirt on display in Anthro. I want to try it on! BUT OH WAIT. I can’t. Not only because the store isn’t open yet, but because I am here to workout, not to shop! What was I thinking!? I suppose my being in a mall and surrounded by merchandise threw me off – a mistake I will not make again.

8:40 a.m. – HALLELUJAH  the Starbucks is open! Vanilla latte, you get in my belly.

Hand-selfie, featuring a Vanilla latte, turned-off fountain, and a locked Dillards. #NorthParkAtDawn

8:42 a.m. – This is about the time I’d take a selfie, to prove I’ve actually woken-up and actually power-walked around a mall. Too bad I look like I fell off the back of a turnip truck. I settle for a hand-selfie instead.

8:50 a.m. – A precious old couple in complementary velvet athletic suits pass me by. My heart fills with joy. Then the reality of the situation sets in – I just got passed by 80-year-olds. Yikes. This signals it is time to go.

9:08 a.m. – Back home and BACK IN MY GLORIOUS BED. Good thing I don’t have class til noon. Night night!  


Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!