Towards the back of Wreck This Journal, there is a page with instructions to sleep with the journal and document the experience. For a normal person this wouldn’t be a problem, but for an insomniac it’s not an easy task. My journal ended up being a record of a night spent wide awake, (thanks in part to a sinus infection), which I suppose is far more fitting for me. The sleepless night with my journal inspired the doodles below as well as some thoughts about coming to terms with insomnia. For some it’s an enemy, but for me it’s a gift.
Throughout my early childhood and adolescence, I dreaded going to bed because I knew I’d have a fight on my hands. I’d beg for sleep and it would never answer my pleas. The game became frustrating and ultimately made my life miserable. Then I figured out something rather important – I’ve never really been considered normal by anyone, (I’m a nerdy, artsy, creative loner who refuses to see the world with a cookie-cutter perspective), so why would I sleep like a normal person? Once I accepted insomnia as a fact of life, I realized my little disorder gave me something quite precious: Time.
In world where a day slips by faster than ever, my inability to sleep affords me a few extra hours to do the things I love. It’s why I’m able write so many things at once and why I read so many books within a given month. There’s time to watch movies, listen to music, and dabble in poetry. Time to ponder, dream, and map out engaging lesson plans for my students. Most of all, there is a chance to enjoy a few hours of quiet as the noise of the day fades with the passing of midnight and beyond.
As a writer, those quiet moments allow inspiration to settle in and take over my imagination. My muse speaks most clearly when the house is silent and my journal is open. Often, I sit and wait as everything in my mind jostles and spins. One idea is bound to push its way through and come out of my pen. Most of everything I write starts in the wee hours of the morning. For this simple pleasure, I have insomnia to thank.
Its not a perfect relationship by any means. There are nights where I watch the sun go down and come up again, moments where I’m so tired I can’t remember how to sleep, and times when I think maybe I should ask about Ambien. Then, I consider what I’d be giving up and honestly I’m not willing to make the trade. Maybe it would be different if my sleep pattern (or lack thereof) interfered with my daily life, but it doesn’t. I could easily let insomnia become an inconvenience, but I choose instead to let it be a gift. All it takes is a little patience and understanding. Perhaps one day it will grow tired of me, but until then I happily accept its presence.
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