i used to sleepwalk when i was a kid. my mother remembers one embarrassing moment when i walked in on her and her boyfriend getting busy. they froze in horror but realized that i wasn't crying or talking, i was just grunting and walking. she silently walked me back to my room and into bed and the next day i was none the wiser about what had happened. she didn't tell me this until i was grown and it freaked me out, not that i had a sleeping disorder. but, i was so jealous that as a kid i slept so well that nothing could wake me.
i do remember as a kid i would fall asleep on the couch and wake up in my bed. when i would ask my father how i got there, he would tell me "You went to bed yourself." eerie. also, i couldn't wait for special days like Christmas and school day trips. my thinking was back then, just close your eyes and when you open them, it will be tomorrow. interesting how i remember that. i had not a care in the world. i was so at peace.
and then i learned that my great grandmother died during her sleep and it chilled me to the core. i NEVER wanted to go back to sleep. first amongst my large list of fears was the fear of dying. i remember seeing my grandmother in bed with her dead mother, saying goodbye, and feeling as if i never wanted to die. so deep was the fear that i never had sound sleep again. my new thing was not to close my eyes and to see how fast daylight comes. i spent many a night sleepless, but i somehow found beauty in the sunrise, the golden pinkish glow of the sky met with chirping birds in the springtime and the dark, sluggish mornings in the winter. i still managed to be quite rested, mostly because i was kid and didn't have any dark corners of my mind to haunt me.
now, i PRAY for peaceful sleep. even when i have a full day and night to myself, even when i have a sleep inducer, like NyQuil or a good glass of wine, i sleep poorly. as soon as it's lights out, a nightlight switches on in my head and my thoughts get to racing as if it's high noon at the Kentucky Derby. will i get married? i miss him. i wonder if he misses me... fuck him, i'm doing good. i'm getting my PhD. or maybe i won't. what if i get fired? how dreadful! i need to lose weight before Atlanta Greek this year. i need a man. a whole man. or maybe i should just buy a car. i am twenty fucking seven. i'm almost 30. why is my cable bill so high? i gotta call my mother and father tomorrow. i'm a terrible daughter. some nights, i just give up and turn Golden Girls back on. since my cable bill is so high, i might as well enjoy the extended channels.
i only sleep well when i can no longer stand to be so exhausted. after two weeks of craziness, my body just shuts down, forcing itself to repair. good sex works wonders too, but i still don't want to move the morning after good sex. but, the consequence of sleeping poorly is that i found out exhaustion is REAL. and here i thought it was something Mariah Carey made up. one day, after a grueling spectroscopy exam, i found my world spinning. i held on to the wall and met the ground with my knees. i was crying and i didn't know why. all i knew was that pulling all nighters and stressing about making the grade was taking a toll. i don't know how i made it home or even how i got better but it probably involved orange juice and Tylenol PM.
these days, i've just gotten used to it. i may find some semblance of peace but i can usually expect that my back will give out on occasion and now my knee is unreasonably stiff; my muscles are even exhausted. maybe i should start to answer the voices in my head... i wonder, would that make me crazy?