Repost: Napping as an Act of Defiance

I’ve been thinking a lot about defiance lately.  Actually, because I’m very much a contrarian at heart, I’m always thinking about ways to defy.  That’s what contrarians do; they defy conventional wisdom (among other things).  (By the way, it seems pretty clear that we need a lot more contrarians in the world.)

I guess you could also say that I’m part of the resistance against Trump and Trumpism.  This is another manifestation of my defiant nature.  I know that immigrants—I’m married to an immigrant and have been one myself—contribute so much to the places they move to, making those locales more vibrant and interesting.  I believe, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation, that we are all members of one family called “the human family.”  I believe the rich and powerful have used their wealth and influence to rig the system in their favor and that those in the middle and working classes need to work collectively to wrest control away from the elites in order to achieve real socio-economic justice.  I push back against the rise of white nationalism and white supremacy and against any political figure, faction, or party that would give oxygen to such hateful ideologies and movements.  As an educator, I know that I play an important role in speaking out and creating awareness among those who may not be paying enough attention to the ugly rise of xenophobia and intolerance.  If believing in these things and in taking such actions makes me a troublemaker or resister, then so be it.  I proudly proclaim myself to be DEFIANT.

My interest in defiance is also being piqued by my reading of Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage, a work of nonfiction, authored by Jeff Benedict.  Though I’m only a little way into the book right now, I know that Benedict tells the story of Susette Kelo’s fight to keep her New London, Connecticut, home even though wealthy property developers used the power of eminent domain to confiscate her place after a years-long struggle in the courts and elsewhere.  It seems perfectly clear that we need more Susette Kelos in the world.

Up to this point, I’ve been talking about big acts of resistance.  There are, however, smaller ways of pushing back against those things that deserve pushback.  (By “smaller” I certainly do not mean “less meaningful.”)  In fact, I’d like to argue that napping is a very powerful and life-affirming form of defiance.

Most of us have been raised to believe that inactivity can be seen as an indicator of laziness.  We are taught that “idle hands are the devil’s tools” (or some version thereof).  Those of us raised in capitalist societies learn early on that success is measured by material gain and that wealth is acquired through ambition and industry and so we judge our value, as humans, on whether or not we are living in such a way that promotes “prosperity.”  Many have bought into this idea so thoroughly that they’ve become workaholics or developed other forms of mental illness.  Others suffer from something called “Hurry Sickness.”  (I encourage everyone to read the article I’ve linked to, especially the sections on the symptoms of this malady and the ways to cure it.)

During the last two weekends, my wife and have taken wonderfully long naps.  During these blissful escapes, we actively resisted the urge to be productive.  Withdrawing from the world of action and industry was like lifting a yoke from our backs.  By the way, most nights I’m a fitful sleeper, and I take my frequent insomnia as a sign of how deeply the world has its talons embedded in my flesh.  Often, during restless nights, I find that I’m not willing to (or capable of) letting go of those preoccupations that took root in my mind during the daytime.  So it takes a powerful willfulness to escape the pull of consciousness.  Napping is a powerful way to assert one’s desire to simply be—to exist.

Not surprisingly, we woke up from these naps feeling deeply rested, even renewed to the point of being reborn.  This sense of being rejuvenated was accompanied by a profound sense of well-being—a feeling of being spiritually reconstituted and reoriented.

I look forward to reading your responses to my piece.

41 thoughts on “Repost: Napping as an Act of Defiance

  1. There’s so much to unpack here, Troy. I, too, feel distressed as much of what I see in the world and will speak out to anyone who will listen. As for napping, I think anything we can do to slow the frenetic pace of life is a good thing. When did work and the pursuit of material wealth become the be all and end all of our lives? The world would be much better off if everyone resisted the urge to keep up with what the world tells us we should do, and consciously slowed down their pace. Many European countries have a siesta or a long lunchtime break in the workday and I’d argue they have a much better quality of life than we do in North America.

    Nap on my friend!

    1. I agree with you Michelle, but regretably those countries in Europe with siestas or long lunchtimes are changing too. In some places (I believe) the pressure to get everything done means their lunch hours are shrinking.

      In the UK we are more like the states. Technically I get 45 minutes for lunch, but if students want to talk after class, that lunchtime can disappear. I do agree, though we need to slow down for ourselves and to send a message to the powers that be that enough is enough

      1. It’s too soon to tell how everything will affect the employment relationship, but there certainly has been a lot of challenge to the balance. But a lot of our behaviours are so Ingrained, I guess we need to want to change them too. Too often I decide to just work through lunch if I’m at home, I see my colleagues doing the same. We need to stop ourselves … maybe start napping 😴
        I think it might change with some of the younger generations. I hope they have the confidence while they’re young to challenge the status quo, to make for a better future workplace

      2. Very true. We were brought up not to challenge. One time when I was an office junior and the Boss wasn’t happy about something I did, he phoned my dad!

      3. You have a labour shortage in Canada? We’ve so much industrial unrest over here, and public sector cuts, pushing up unemployment

      4. Things are changing in Europe? I am not sure, at least in Brussels. When you go out at lunch during the break, most probably you will end up in a line. And if you go a bit later as I ‘d rather do you won’t find much left… people here still take rather long lunch break and they use it not only to eat but also to drink a glass of wine or a beer. It’s also a good time for networking. Then they might work longer in the afternoon. I think that employers like it like that because the city gets more lively with all the little business thriving. Lunch breaks are also good if you want to do some shopping. I think that in the UK you are more like the US Brenda, you should take us in the continent as an example 😀

      5. I agree Cristiana but I was told that infancy, maybe outside Paris, lunches are becoming shorter. Maybe just the hour or so, the same as in the UK.

      6. I really hope the continental Europeans continue to resist. I wouldn’t advise anyone from any European country to take the USA as a model for any aspect of living. I recently read that in France eating at one’s computer is actually a violation of labor laws. I suppose they are taking a strong stance in trying to keep people from turning themselves into rabid workaholics. Thanks, Brenda, for sharing your story and perspective.

      7. I think Britain has always adopted similar work practices to the US, but I think we have more protections. I find it really interesting to learn about the differences around the world. Its one of the benefits of online communities.

    2. Hi. And there is much to unpack in your comment. Yes, far too many of us live to work as opposed to work to live. I resist the former impulse as much as possible, but the culture imperative in North America is strong. I find that I am unhappy and angry a lot when I’m living in the USA and much less so when I’m residing abroad. How sad! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      1. Hi, crisbiecoach. I see that my responses to posts are appearing way down the thread, so I know it’s hard to tell who I’m responding to. It warms my heart to know that those in Brussels are still bucking the trend toward super quick lunches. In my current job, I take 30 minutes and gobble everything down. I spent most of my career teaching at colleges and universities where I could come and go as I liked. As soon as I began managing the writing center, I got designated as “staff” rather than “faculty” and my time became much more controlled. This is the first job I’ve had in many decades where I actually have to arrive at a certain time and leave at a certain time. I’ve actually never gotten used to it!

  2. I pushed the like button several times, but it only registered once. Too bad— I wanted to give special emphasize to how much I relate from the first word to the last. Napping is my all-time favorite respite from the twisted world created by those who seek to rule at our expense.Thanks to the fat cats and their agenda of power and greed, we are beginning to wake up to the awareness of their evil deeds. The result will be a rebellion and the eventual return of power to the people. Meanwhile, no wonder a nap brings blessed relief! Thanks for helping with the wake-up call with this blog, Troy.

    1. I hope you’re right, Julia. I mean about waking up and all that. I think far too many people just never ask questions about why things are the way they are. I was actually living in Egypt during the time Hosni Mubarak was deposed. Sadly, the Egyptians got rid of one dictator and selected another one almost immediately thereafter. I see this same trend–of choosing authoritarians over democrats–happening in many places. Thanks for commenting!

  3. When I used to play online games, my alliance was called Defiance and I think it created in us a sense of rebellion, just as you describe. I believe you’re right and its time to stand our ground and speak out when we see injustice or unfairness, whether that’s on a large or small scale. Employees are sometimes too afraid to speak out against their employers and the poor treatment, but like you described, Troy, the effect on our mental health if we don’t look after ourselves is catastrophic. Employers do need to start listening, but I think we need a big stick to make that happen. In the meantime, napping sounds like an effective way to take care of ourselves; say no to the treadmill and put ourselves first for a short time.
    Here’s to being defiant!

  4. I definitely love a good nap on a weekend! Feels so wonderful! I’m with you on showing resistance to the many xenophobic things going on, and 45’s constant grab for headlines. I refuse to click on articles, I do not wish to add to the algorithms showing popularity for any articles relating to him.

    1. See! Your refusal to click on those articles is an act of defiance. I think we all need to do little acts of this sort. Together, many small acts of defiance can become a collective rebellion. Thanks for sharing your idea!

  5. Troy, we found that taking vitamin D3 improves our sleep quality, and we remember more dreams. Aging interferes with the ability to get vitamin D from the sun. The RDA is not enough. I take 10,000 IU a day, although I have seen recommendations for 30,000 IU.

    Every time I fall asleep in the daytime, I get nusiance calls!

  6. I don’t take naps during the day because I wouldn’t sleep during the night. But I like sleeping long in the morning and I decided that from time to time I can do it also during the week days. Nice post Troy!

  7. What a great article Troy! Count me with the Trump defiers for sure. You make so many good points in this piece. I read the Hurry Syndrome link too and discovered (as expected), that I battle that mentality often, especially since I left the structure of my teaching job. Oddly enough, the structure of the school day helped prevent me from hurry syndrome, because I knew that I was locked in to the workday schedule and could not address the things I was really interested in until afterwards. I also realized that there was limited time after school, so I was not disappointed, when I didn’t get that much done after work. Now that I often have the entirety of every day free, and I’m working entirely on projects I love, I often find myself rushing around to accomplish as much as I can toward these projects. Instead of having the workday structure in place to keep myself in check, I must rely on myself to do it. And sometimes I don’t do such a good job 😁

    1. Thanks, Todd. I think we tend to get a bit more hurried as we get older. It’s likely because we have a kind of internal clock winding down. We subconsciously realize that time is “running out” on our hopes and dreams. I know that sounds pretty dark and pessimistic. But I feel it in myself, and I see such a feeling in my father who is extremely talented and artistic. Perhaps this only happens in very creative people? It’s like the painter who has done thousands of canvases but still feel the powerful urge to paint the next one which might end up being the “perfect” picture?

      1. I completely agree with the idea that age adds to the feeling of pressure to achieve.

  8. I’m a contrarian too! I owned a sign business once. They say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” When my going reached a certain mind numbing toughness, I locked the shop door and went to the park, laid down on a picnic table and drifted off to sleep under drifting white clouds. When I returned to the shop, the situations hadn’t changed but my mind had. I thought it interesting that you considered being anti-Trump as contrarian. I find him to be an extremely contrary individual. That’s one reason I voted for him, one of the traits I like about him. I enjoyed your article.

  9. I’m a contrarian too! I owned a sign business once. They say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” When my going reached a certain mind numbing toughness, I locked the shop door and went to the park, laid down on a picnic table and drifted off to sleep under drifting white clouds. When I returned to the shop, the situations hadn’t changed but my mind had. I thought it interesting that you considered being anti-Trump as contrarian. I find him to be an extremely contrary individual. That’s one reason I voted for him, one of the traits I like about him. I enjoyed your article.

    1. Hi. I wonder about Trump. Does he really believe the stuff he says or is it part of his “act?” For me, I’d describe Trump as more “destructive” rather than “defiant.” Defiance feels a little more positive, like standing up against injustice. Destructive is just tearing down to tear down, more nihilistic. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks for leaving such an interesting and thought-provoking comment.

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