I wake up around seven times a night. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I can't say I remember a time I slept peacefully for the quantities of time suggested by the National Sleep Foundation or my father. It's part of my sleep pattern, by now. Never quite a REM because there's always something I remember--a hook out of slumber. A reason to wake.
As a child, I'd listen to music to fall asleep. Eventually, the familiar hum of chords I knew and words I'd grown to expect would create a safe-nest. A lullaby for the listless. Each time I would wake, a chorus would swell and I would slowly find my way back to slumber. Sometimes I would pick up a book and read until my lids, purple and heavy, would shut. I survived the dark, the monsters, the day before. But some nights I did not sleep.
I used to sleep with my arms and legs in straight-jacket mode: so tightly encased in my blanket that nothing could ever get in. Not nightmares, not bad thoughts, not bad people. It wasn't always an effective way to keep out the boogey-man. Neither was the dreamcatcher that jumbled my thoughts like Charlotte's Web into nothing so "radiant" or "wonderful."
Now, I'm much more the Netflix & Chill variety. A plot that floats like a dream in the back of my overly-addled mind. Voices that murmur like old friends.
I read an article in The New York Times a few months ago that reviewed papers published in a science journal about the power of sleep. This article, in particular, wrote that people sleep to forget.
But I dream to remember.
Bukowski said, "Too often, the only escape is sleep." That may be true. But I have always been happier in the here-and-now. As a child, my mother, when faced with any big decision would say "Let me sleep on it." And, by morning, like clockwork, she would have an answer to all of life's biggest questions. I have her enthusiasm, her smile, her thighs, but I never seemed to get the sleep gene and, while we are both afraid of so many things, I wonder why I'm so afraid to close my eyes.
And to make decisions.
I wonder if, subconsciously, I'm letting my night terrors affect my day-person. I know it works in reverse: I would wake up, unable to keep my lungs or heart from sinking, when my day-heart was breaking. Or are they one in the same? Is that why I'm so afraid of them?
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.