Night Owls & Insomnia

All my life I’ve been a night owl. I’ve always loved the night. As a teenager, I stayed up all night more often than I should have. Reading, writing, talking on the phone to the boy of the week, sneaking out and taking a walk, or jumping in the boyfriend’s car and going wherever.

It didn’t matter what I was doing or what I had to do the next day. I felt the most alive at night. After high school, I got a job waiting tables at a 24 hour diner on the graveyard shift. I loved that shift. I’ve worked graveyards a few other times in my life, as well and other than the strain it put on the family, it was always my favorite schedule.

I am definitely not a morning person. I get up early, but I don’t start functioning well until at least mid morning. By late afternoon, I’m revved up and if we are doing anything other than just chilling at the house my energy level only increases as the night approaches. When we go out, it’s almost always too early for me to want to leave… no matter if we head home at 11 pm or 4 am, I am still rearing to go.

When my real life started (after high school), I worked graveyards. This worked really well for me. As I grew up and got different jobs, I found myself working daytime hours in offices. I loved my work. It was challenging, demanding and left me wiped at the end of most every day. My night owl nights were few and far between, though I do remember when we first got internet, back in… ummm… like 97-98 I think, staying up ALL night on AOL and chatting the night away. lol. I loved it. I loved all the social interaction. It was so new and shiny. I still love socializing online. But that is a wholly different post.

Back on point.

In October of 2011, I lost my job. That was the last “regular” job I had. You know the kind of job where you have to be up at a certain time, to work by a certain time in the morning and the kind of job that is demanding enough to absolutely fucking drain me by the end of the day. So for over three years now, I’ve had no real schedule. In those three years, I’ve suffered more insomnia than all of the rest of my life combined.

I think a couple things are at work that cause that.

One. My work is rarely very demanding these days. I set the pace. I set the hours. I set the intensity. The kids are getting bigger so they aren’t as demanding. The house could probably use a little more attention, but I’m just not that into housework. Because of these things, I’m not wearing my brain out during the day like I did when I worked in other people’s offices. So it spends the night chattering away at me. One night a few months ago, Daddy asked me what that was like, the incessant chattering. For the next minute or two, I verbalized each thought as I had them.

(like this: heather’s business cards need to be done by tomorrow, i need to wash the car, get easter stuff for the kids, oh shit… send the money to andy, i wonder how my mom has been, haven’t talked to her in a while, ty’s graduation is coming up… need to get his invitations made, don’t forget to look on pintrest for ideas and what should we get him for a gift, where are we going to put everyone this summer, we need a bigger house, oh my tummy growled… it’s too late to eat anything, ugh.. tomorrow is weigh in day… wait, why ugh? i’ve lost weight… this is a good thing, i really should go back to the gym… mmmmm hottie zumba instructor shaking her cute little booty smiles and on and on and on — yeah so that’s a minute in my head and every fucking minute of every fucking day is just fucking like that.)

He was pretty floored that I can have that much shit in my head at pretty much any given time and that there is never a time (except during sex and beatings) that it shuts the fuck up. And, it’s about a gozillion times worse at night when the house goes quiet and I’m lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling willing myself to go back to sleep and failing miserably at actually doing so.

Two. I’m naturally drawn to the night. I am energized by it. I love the peace of the house when my family is asleep and all is well with the world. The world is still at night. It is restorative. It is soothing to my soul to be awake when the rest of the world sleeps… to breathe in that peaceful quiet. Soothing to listen to my home, the clock ticking, the water running in the fish tank, the kids or Daddy shifting in their sleep. My body’s natural clock has no problem with being awake at night and resting during the day.

Three. I am easily and unquestionably my most creative at night. This too, goes as far back as I can remember. All my best stories, all my best poetry and many of my best digital designs… all done in the dead of night. And, now that my work is focused in the creative realm, I wake up more nights than not, with words that beg to written and designs that need to be laid out bouncing around in my head. If I don’t get them out, they get lost inside there. Usually, never to be found again.

So, insomnia strikes tonight. Like it does on so many other nights. I was sound asleep one minute, resting in Daddy’s arms after being fucked silly and then wide awake the next. I have no idea what woke me up. But when I woke up, there was no grogginess, no fuzzy headiness. I went from dead asleep to wide fucking awake… sigh I heard Daddy snoring, resting peacefully… hopefully lost in sweet dreams.

Now I’m awake. So what to do? I could lay there until I get sleepy again… I did that a few nights ago, it took almost two hours. I could play on my phone, but that might wake Daddy up and I don’t want to disturb his rest because unlike me, he is not a night owl. So I don’t want to do that. So I get up and go to the bathroom, thinking maybe I’m not really as awake as it seems. I’ll go pee and then maybe I can just crawl back into bed and sleep. So I go pee. Yeah… still wide awake. So now, do I crawl back in bed and wait for sleep to come or do I sneak quietly out of the bedroom and find something quiet to do in the living room? If Daddy wakes up and I’m not there, he’ll be cranky, fussy. Usually this is enough to make me choose to go back to bed, no matter how long it will take for the voices to be quieted and sleep to come again. I don’t like it when Daddy is cranky and I like it even less when I am the reason for the crankiness.

Tonight, I was way too wide awake for waiting it out. The words were too loud. So I got up. I hope Daddy stays asleep. I hope my insomnia doesn’t disrupt his night, because, while it doesn’t bother me to be up at all hours of the night, it bothers me to disturb his night, to interfere with his rest. I got up. Got a drink of water. Opened the laptop and let the words pour out. It’s been almost two hours. But I feel calmed, peaceful. The words in my head are not beating me up, not driving me crazy because I’ve taken control of them and forced them to get in order and march out of my head and through my fingertips and onto this screen. I have breathed in the peacefulness of a quiet, undemanding house. I’m not yet sleepy, but I am not restless or agitated like I am when I try to wait out the insomnia in bed, tossing and turning and watching the minutes creep by.

By letting my body determine what it needs, I have found a few minutes of peace. When life forced me to adhere to a more set sleeping schedule, I would have taken a sleeping pill and forced myself to go back to sleep. But I hate taking pills, especially when all my body needs is this quiet time alone with my thoughts and a keyboard and the undemanding, calming quiet of a loving home.

Curling up in the corner of the couch, in my favorite spot, with a good book or my laptop is my favorite way to pass the time when insomnia does strike. I don’t need the tv. Don’t need music. Don’t need to go anywhere. I just need the quiet dark and some time to just be me… a creative, free spirited night owl.

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