For anyone who suffers from this awful waking state that captures the brain at night… you are not alone.

I lie awake in infinite darkness. My mind is a tunnel. My thoughts a kaleidoscope of images… visions of what if’s and maybes and if only’s. Faces of people I love and people I once knew flash through my mind, still photographs, moments trapped in time. This is the night. Sleep eludes me and this is nothing new.

I try to focus on my skin, on each toe, finger, limb, then on my breathing, the mysterious energy in my chest, my heart, my only companion—aside from my dog who lies beside my bed, seemingly asleep but contentious of my movements. If I get up she follows me, my little dog, no matter how deep we are in the night, as if to ensure I’m not sleep walking, as if to ensure I’ll come back. And like this in the darkness we are alone. I don’t know what time it is and I don’t want to know. Putting a number on the night will only deepen my desperation to fall asleep, to silence the constant buzzing in my mind, my thoughts that pinch my eyes; electricity is my brain.

There is no heartache here. My life is not in shambles. I am not in the trenches of a tragedy. My life is not perfect but I am not suffering. Fears and worries cling to me like pollen, but this doesn’t make me anyone special.

I could blame stress. I could blame technology. I could blame distance, parting. I could blame wanting. I could blame not knowing. But blame changes nothing. We choose to carry the burdens that we do, some burdens at least, and we can choose to let go. But can we? And thus my thoughts tumble like marbles down a stair case, scattering everywhere, everywhere…

Rain begins to fall.

It patters against my window and I think… no one knows it’s raining but me. And this is somehow comforting. The rain becomes my lullaby, mine and no one else’s. We share this moment, me and the rain, and it’s almost as though it came for me, like the clouds gathered and agreed that rain would do me good, it would help me sleep. It would help me see that all things can be washed away, and are. That nothing is permanent, not the night, not my thoughts, not even me.

And yet, despite this state, I love the night. It’s when the world curls into itself, lets everything fall away, just for a moment, let’s go and pulls back, just for a moment. It’s when we remember we’re human, that we can’t go on forever, and we don’t. The night is a life line. A pause. It’s silent and still, and many times mine. And I suppose the night loves me back because clearly it wants my company. Perhaps it too wants to feel wanted, not just needed. I suppose… the night gets lonely too.

And I envision my bed fall away beneath me, the walls of my room folding outward, the night swirling about me, holding me like a cloud holds its very last rain drop, flicking my thoughts into darkness, and I am flying now, or floating, I am a being of the night, I am lifted by this darkness, not burdened by it, I am awake but it’s okay because this is the night, I am the last sleeper, I am the smallest vein through which the night must pass.


“Cool” kids

woodstock-snoopy-joe-coolIt makes me sad when I see loud-mouthed pre-teens cursing so confidently on the train platform during rush hour. Their school bags dangling from their backs a blatant testament to just how oblivious and silly they sound. They curse like the words are new toys, like they want all of us boring adults (safe strangers who won’t tell them off), standing around on the platform with our boring work pants and purses and buckled flats and ties and buttoned shirts, to know that they know these words— they are cool and they know how to use them (but not really). As if they’ve uncovered some secret insight to a realm reserved only for adults.

It makes me sad not because I don’t curse or because I was an angel at their age, but because they know so little of this world—they have yet so much to experience and to curse about; they know so little of just how powerful (and empowering) words can be, and just how much words can cut. Or maybe their little curse words are just a reflection of how much the world has cut them, and that makes me even sadder.

Good luck to you, kid. One day you will curse and actually mean it and feel it and you won’t feel so “cool”, just sucky, and most likely frustrated, and you will curse under your breath because you wouldn’t want anyone to hear you… you’d want everyone around you to think that you have it all together. That you are all right. And that you have no need for curse words because you are much too cool and sophisticated and content with your life. And because the serious matters on your mind cannot be translated by those words, only exasperated by them.