Where are you, sleep?

When I sleep, or rather when I try to sleep (“try” being the operative word in that testimony—a word that comes laced with the potential for failure), I tend to think and recall every wrong turn I’ve made.
The morning comes with hope, positive thoughts; a sunny disposition. But at night, before my brain flicks the “off” switch, it takes a stroll down memory lane and all the oops events come out to play.
Beth, my favourite writer, posted something recently on Facebook about a brain giving a dissertation at 3 a.m.
“I can see you are trying to sleep,” the brain says. “So I would like to offer you a selection of every memory, unresolved issue, or things you should have said or done today or in the past 40 years.”
I actually read Beth’s post at 3 a.m. as I rolled from side to side, my hands behind my head, my legs restless and bothered. Quite fitting, as responses go, I’d say.
My brain seems to make that statement in a very loud voice almost every night—a threat just when my eyelids get heavy and begin to close. As a result, my brain and I aren’t on good terms when sleep won’t happen.
Such a shame; we’ve been together for a long time travelling this bumpy road together. But, as in most relationships, we don’t always get along.
I could tell you some of the things I worry about, but I doubt you’d find them interesting. An example would be that it’s highly likely that I won’t see the Great Wall of China and that creates disappointment when I’m trying to sleep, whereas in the morning, I’m grateful that I won’t be confined in an aircraft all the way to China.
My brain wouldn’t be happy about such a long trip nor would the rest of me.
Or I’ll ponder at night the fact that I was a crummy volleyball player, being the shrimp I was in adolescence. But in the morning, I’ll remember that I was an okay gymnast, and did reasonably well at track, so in the grand scheme of things, sitting on the bench in volleyball wasn’t so bad.
There was the climbing up the high school doors’ incident to fetch a tennis ball off the cafeteria roof—not a horrific event on its own until I add the details of wearing a dress (but don’t repeat this in case everyone has forgotten my stupidity).
Not my finest hour.
Of course, there are more serious matters on the front burner to keep us awake, such as the fact that Americans thought it prudent and wise to elect a buffoon to have the top job in their country; a fact that wants me to raise my hands as I face south and shout, “Are you kidding me?”
But we are told from an early age never to discuss politics or religion. I suppose there’s a reason for that.
I know I’m not alone in the secret club of non-sleepers. It seems to come with age, though I’ve not been good at sleeping most of my life; wandering around at night, doing quite a bit of writing during the dark hours when my brain was a younger version of itself.
I actually was grateful for the lack of sleep then as I churned out the pages. Now, I stare at the ceiling or listen to Jim Gaffigan on Netflix (he has become the antidote for my lack of shut eye).
So I guess it’s not all bad—if I get to fall asleep giggling along with his perfectly delicious humour.
I’ve just read chronic insomnia triples our risk of dying from any cause. I’d better get to sleep.
Good night.
wendistewart@live.ca

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