Once again I find myself devoid of the one thing that I want the most…sleep. You would think that after all these years of being a professional insomniac I would get used to the long, sleepless nights that go along with it, but you never really do. Sure, not all nights are bad. Some are better than others, but some nights, like tonight, are just intolerable. I live alone. I love living alone. There’s no one to answer to. You can do whatever you want, when you want it. I feel that everyone should live alone at some point in their lives. You learn a lot about yourself and what you can handle. Your apartment becomes your world and you cherish it at the end of a long day at work. You may think that you appreciate your space, but the true test comes with what you do with it on these lonely, sleepless nights.

I keep a lot of things to myself. A lot of thoughts and feelings, trapped. It’s hard for me to open up to people, to really let them in. I grew up in two homes. In the first one, opinions were not voiced. It didn’t matter what you thought of anything really, because there was no one there to listen. I had a strict bedtime. Always. No exceptions. Many nights, I would lay in bed, completely awake. I didn’t dare to leave my room or go downstairs. The understanding was that it was bedtime and that was where I was expected to be, regardless of the fact if I was sleeping or not. So, I would lay there, my body completely still but my mind racing with thought after thought after thought; I couldn’t turn my brain off. Every so often thoughts of sleep and why was I not sleeping popped into my head…when that happens, you know that you’re in for a rough night.

My second home was completely the opposite. Opinions were encouraged to be voiced even if they were in disagreeance from someone else’s. Everyone’s thoughts mattered. There were no bedtime laws. Everyone there was a sort of insomniac like me. At all hours of the night, you could bet that someone would be awake; you could hear the soft paddle of feet in the halls or voices in the kitchen. I didn’t feel alone there, but I also didn’t partake in the evening rituals of walking around the house, of actually getting up from my bed. I stayed in bed as I had been trained to do so, quietly and still with only my brain for movement. I tried to train my mind to stop thinking, to focus on nothing, to clear the mind as the expression says, but to no avail. Some nights, sleep just wasn’t meant to be.

Flash to my present day rituals of curbing my insomnia. In the comfort of my apartment, I lay in bed as I always had, but now I get up. I roam around my dark apartment eating snacks or running to the bathroom. I do not believe that the comfort of a good book will aid to clear my mind so that I can sleep. They don’t do that for me. They keep me awake, wanting to read more and more which is why there is never a book at my bedside. I turn my lamp on, I sometimes turn the television on (sometimes not), I write in my journal. Believe it or not, all of these things can help at times, but sometimes none of them can. That’s when the loneliness kicks in and I wish that I didn’t live alone all of the time. Will I go to sleep tonight or do I have many more hours to brave alone? The answer to that is always unknown.

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