Thursday, November 1, 2012


The light streaming into my bedroom woke me up this morning. I decided not to close the curtains last night, tired of sleeping in, tired of being tired. It didn’t work. When the light first caught my eye, around twenty minutes past seven, I closed my eyes tight and drew the white duvet over my head. “Ten more minutes,” I told myself, tossing from side to side, hoping to fall back asleep. Each time I opened my eyes after that, my head felt heavier and heavier, my body more lethargic and dense. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I wanted to stay there, where I felt safe.

The next time I looked at the clock, it was four minutes past eight. “Six more minutes.” That was what I was going to allow myself. I opened my eyes and stared at the white ceiling, recalling fragmented images from my dream. I’ve been dreaming more since I’ve been on a prescribed sleeping aid. I want my sleep to be normal again so that I can fall asleep naturally, on my own. I want to stop dreaming, I want to avoid those other worlds that leave me drained.

In last night’s dream, I was a student in a literature class. It was the first class of the semester, and the professor was late. The only reason I had even signed up for the course was because I had a crush on a guy in the class. I don’t know his name, but he had mesmerizing brown eyes and a gold-winning smile. The classroom phone rang, and for some reason I answered it. Two students from the professor’s next course called to say they would be late because they were playing in a badminton competition in Little Italy, which was located close to the building where the class was held. It was some type of festival and the street in front of the building was closed. When the professor came into the classroom, I gave him the message. He came over to me and made a comment about my black pants and touched my leg. Then the professor moved off, and the guy with the mesmerizing eyes, seated two rows away, looked at me and smiled. I woke up still not knowing his name.

Don’t ask me what that means because I don’t really know. Maybe it doesn’t mean a thing, but the dream felt real. I woke up feeling like I had really lived those moments. I don’t know what a phone was doing in a classroom anyway, or why I answered it. But it was white and looked like an antique, from the early 1900s.

I sat up quickly in my bed, a way to jilt myself into action. I was tempted to sleep away the day, to give myself over to the heaviness swarming over my body. I dressed and went downstairs, opening the curtains in the living room on the way to the kitchen. I turned on my laptop, set the coffee to brew, and took my medication.

Cipralex. It’s an antidepressant. I’ve been back on it for twenty-nine days at the writing of these words. I had gone off of it at the beginning of June, under the supervision of my doctor, because I was feeling great, on top of the world. It was a high. But when the high burst, I came crashing down. My sleeping, even with the sleep aid, was no longer restful or consistent. I was back to waking up five or six times a night. I couldn’t concentrate. I would just sit at my desk, or the kitchen table, and stare blankly at the computer screen or pages spread out in front of me. I couldn’t think. Think. Do you know what I mean? I couldn’t make sense of my thoughts, jumbled and erratic. Like a one thousand piece jigsaw puzzle, I couldn’t piece it all together. I couldn’t see my worth.

I don’t know what happened this morning. I mean, I don’t know what happened to the morning. It slipped by without me seeing it, without me being present. I’m stalled again. My engine won’t start. My wheels are spinning. I finished the rewrite of a novel two days ago. It was a hard rewrite, and there is still more work to be done but I know that, at present, the manuscript needs to rest (and maybe I do, too). I need to come at it again in a few months refreshed. I need to be able to see things clearly. Now the question is: What next?

I don’t know why it is, but I feel empty after the completion of a big project. It’s that void that has me stalled. I want to jump right in to something new, but my body wants time to decompress. I don’t want to rest; I don’t want to listen to my body. And in not listening, I’m setting myself up for a fall. I know that. But yet I want to press on. I’m stubborn that way.

What next?

The questions itself is terrifying. It’s like there’s something that I’m missing, something that I just can’t put my finger on. I’m trying to find my way in a world that I feel completely at odds with. I’m trying to find a way to survive. I’m trying to find a way to let the beauty of this world once again take possession of my heart, fill me with a joy unspeakable.

I wrote a song this week, entitled, “Sweet Embrace.” It was inspired by a conversation I had with a young artist. In the greyness of the day, and in spite of the uncertainty before me, I’m trying to simply let myself be held in life’s sweet embrace.

What’s next? I don’t know. And I’m not sure that knowing really matters anymore …

No comments:

Post a Comment