Pillow Talk

I guess I’m a side sleeper.

You know how it is when you’re shopping for a new pillow, right? First, you have to determine what type of sleeper you are. It’s crazy all the types that are out there, like side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers. For some reason I don’t remember all of that when I was young. I remember it was just all about hardness or softness of the pillow, and every single one of our pillows was hard. I guess hard meant cheaper, but now there are all these ergonomically correct pillows, this memory foam that adjusts itself to your normal pattern of head placement. And those types of pillows are $35 dollars and higher! Wow, I don’t think those cheap, hard pillows did that much damage to my head that I would consider paying that kind of money for one single pillow.

Except, I did buy one of those pillows. Let me explain. I had been having neck troubles for a while and my massage therapist said I might benefit from having a memory foam pillow. Gladly, I took her advice, thinking it would behoove me to try it out and see what could happen. That first night it felt almost as solid as those cheap, hard pillows I grew up with, but the paperwork said it was taking that time to “adjust” to my head positioning. By the next morning my head positioning had instead adjusted to the pillow and my neck was throbbing more than ever. It turns out, I figured out later, that I had gotten the wrong type of memory foam pillow (I hadn’t realized there were even different types of those), and I needed one that looked like a regular pillow instead of having a curve to it. Cue the frustrated throwing of said pillow onto the unforgiving floor.

So, I had to buy yet another $35 dollar pillow, and I was starting to get skeptical at that point, especially since the new one looked an awful lot like the old one I threw over for the first expensive memory foam pillow. I gave it a shot that first night, though, figuring anything was worth it if it could help out my poor neck. And this time I hit the jackpot. This pillow is amazing, doing so much for me and my neck problems. It even helped to improve my posture because I’m not slumping over so much to accommodate my neck concerns anymore. I believe a “Hallelujah!” is appropriate in this instance.

I say all of that, $70 dollars poorer, because I think it’s crazy what we convince ourselves we need just because it’s out there. I’m sure a pillow specifically “engineered” for a back sleeper will work just fine for a side sleeper. I’m certain my neck may have been served just as well if I had just gotten a softer pillow instead of the rock hard one I had been using for so long. Maybe even regular neck massages would have loosened it up just as well (but those aren’t cheap either). But instead I went out and bought something I hadn’t even known existed before because it was there, and because it promised to be the “perfect pillow” for me.

Is there such a thing as perfection in a world where there are so many options? Maybe that’s why so many people cheat on their partners, because they’re so used to having many options instead of one. Maybe that’s why it’s become socially acceptable to treat people like they’re interchangeable, all pieces to a puzzle that could be completed in any number of different configurations. We don’t appreciate what we have anymore because there always seems to be something bigger, better, or simply just different out there. Difference has become the spice of life, to the detriment of those of us out there who really do appreciate what we have, and who do everything to keep and maintain those things, those people, those relationships.

Options aren’t going anywhere, but it’s up to us to make sure we know when we need them and when we don’t. Maybe this pillow is helping me, or maybe it’s just a placebo effect. All I know is that I won’t be pillow shopping again anytime soon. I don’t want to get sucked into the chaos again. I’m happy with where my head is.


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