Monday, June 22, 2009

sleepless in chicago

It's 12:42 and I'm not particularly sleepy, but I have a confession to make. (Another one? Always.) I don't really mind my insomnia anymore. I've had problems sleeping all my life; my second-earliest memory is of trying to fall asleep (was I three? four?) and being unable to, staring at my orange crystal nightlight until I finally drifted off. When I was a kid I spent so many nights going crazy in my dark room, trying to fall asleep so I could wake up and be at school at 7:45 the next morning. My father (generally a fairly reasonable person) for unknown reasons refused to let me stay up past 10:30, and so when I was younger and shared a room with my sister I spent years reading under the covers with a flashlight because I was fully aware that sleep was impossible. That claustrophobic stuffy space is still strong in my memory. When I got a little older I'd tack a blanket over my door (I was always paranoid of being found out, because my parents were weirdly strict about bedtime) and stay up far into the night reading with my lamp turned low.

There's something particularly terrible about not being able to sleep when you want to. The more you desire rest, the less likely it is that you'll achieve it and the more likely it is that you will be up until five thinking about how badly you don't want to be awake anymore. I've spent too many nights of my life laying in bed, wide-eyed and restless, trying to relax a brain that just won't shut up for long enough to shut off. My lovers have always been easy sleepers, which has only made it worse; being trapped in a dark room, trying not to wake somebody else, can be a special type of hell on bad nights.

But now, I live alone and I gleefully stay up all night doing whatever I want. I've come to terms with the fact that six hours of sleep (five on the low end, seven on the high) is perfectly acceptable to my body, and I choose to use my time semi-wisely instead of pretending that I'll fall asleep like a normal person. Most of my best writing is done after 11 PM, and I've been baking late-night cookies as the weather gets warmer. I read. I catch up on email, pet my cats, do dishes, listen to music. This time is my favorite part of the day, other than maybe the half hour I spend hitting the snooze button before I get up six hours later.

Speaking of which... Time to give sleep a chance.

1 comment:

Louise Tripp said...

That is so fucking cool. I wish I had nearly that level of creativity with Facebook updates (I don't really do Twitter, though I am sure I will be assimilated eventually). Amanda Palmer rocks.