Wide Awake

The elephant in the room can’t be avoided forever. What can I say that hasn’t already been said by countless others about the beast that’s lurking across all borders. In lieu of a story tonight, I’m going to let the mind go for a wander this time, the brain is a little fried this evening, you’ll pardon me for not having all the pleasantries and for cutting it a mite short.

 I’m no healthcare expert. Just a glance at my extremely healthy habitual life will no doubt tarnish any high ground of giving lifestyle advice. There’s certainly a lot to be said about the heroes creeping through the cracks of our thinking. Celebrity and status are going the way of oil prices to make way for the righteous soldiers, the ones keeping us alive, the minimum wage brethren who are being thrust further and further into the spotlight for showing up. Medical workers dealing with horrors around the world I cannot imagine. To each and every one of them, I tip my hat and offer a drink when I see you. 

 While there is a rise in cooking videos, motivational talks and Netflix binges, there is also the rise in the personal battle we’ve all been facing on a nightly basis. Insomnia is making a comeback like vinyl, everyones got it and it can be a crafty little fucker when it has its hooks in you. Fifteen years I’ve been more or less half asleep through my day-to-day. As a child I would toss and kick the sheets as I stared at the rooftop, I’d wander the house until my legs were too sore and my eyes filled with unbridled frustration. I’d read well into the night or watch an ungodly amount of movies in any attempt to get the mind detached— luckily it doesn’t seem to show in my present day calmness and loving demeanour.

As the years progressed I tried every ailment to get my mind to shut the fuck up in the midnight hours. Meditation was decent enough, but I never had the patience for it. Some ‘me’ time can only work for so long before you are bringing up air. Alcohol, while a tasty treat, is no way to battle the bastard. Like sorrows, drowning your sleeplessness will only teach it how to swim. It took a few years before I developed my own pathway to making a truce with the voice in my head. It still ails me like anyone else, but it doesn’t frustrate anymore, some things are not going to go away, like a tattoo that won’t wash off, but there are ways to cover it.

 The communications I’ve had with friends here and abroad all have a similar undercurrent of those early years of frustration, they’re new to the sleepless party—welcome. The darkened alleyway that our apartment resides on is now lit up with sights and sounds into the dawn. Sporadic sounds of frustration coming from open windows. Lights flickering on and off as the frustrated pacing begins. If you find yourself reading something like this at 4:30 with no real semblance of the day, week or year, you may want to try that meditation or those sleeping pills, try the smoke or the booze, it may work better for you than it ever did for me. 

 Over-thinking breathes easily in times of panic and uncertainty. One particular night I was worried about how things will be once this all passes, the plans and ambitions that are paused for the whole world that keeps spinning. Will things go back to normal I wondered, a thought came to me that sifted me off to sleep — why would you want it to. If everything reverts then everything remains the same, might as well be sittin’ on the dock. You’ll never have the same night, the same stupidity, the same naivety or the same blind confidence that leads you now. If things went back to the way they were, it’d be an extra season of a show that has run out of ideas and no character development. Fear not, every single person around the globe is going to be facing a similar light at the end of this tunnel. I fell straight to sleep.

 Accepting things can be hard, though denying them is dangerous. Accept that sleep may not come sometimes, doesn’t have to be the end of all things to let the world pass you by. There’s a loveliness in the silence, give it a chance and who knows you may have a paradoxical brain like myself and fall asleep in spite. 

 Hell, maybe that did work a touch… I’m going to rest for a while. Take Care, Be Kind, video call a long lost love, write a letter to a mate. We are the great communicators, just without awkward handshakes.