Friday, May 30, 2008

Nighttime Blues

As a little kid, I never liked going to bed. My parents say that as baby I was nocturnal. I would cry all night until my dad took me out of my crib at three in the morning and we'd watch I Love Lucy. Then I'd be quiet.

When I got a little bit older, I was the typical little girl who wanted to stay up late with all the grown-ups. I used to get angry at being put to bed and would rebel by reading in my room with a flashlight or sitting up eavesdropping on the conversation downstairs (usually both).

In high school, I went through a weird phase where I liked going to bed, except I wouldn't go to sleep. I just needed that alone time when I knew no one would bother me. Then I would lay awake in my bed for hours thinking.

Israel was probably the only time in my entire life that I actually went to bed like a normal person. And that's only because I wanted to be the first one downstairs in the morning to get chocolate chip pancakes (yes, my school made us chocolate chip pancakes every other morning).

Now in college, I don't hide away in my room anymore at night because I have plenty of alone time hours during the day. I started to like being around my friends a lot more. I would get lonely at night and need to visit them or gchat with them - or both. Being in a dorm without roommates can be rather lonely. At home you've got your family all over the house. In school there's no one there unless you seek them out. I used to get afraid of missing out on something, no matter how unrealistic. Once everyone's asleep - what is there to miss out on??? Or if they're all studying - what? I want to go study with them? Of course not. So what is with my obsession about needing people around all the time when I'm usually not missing out on anything?

It's sort of the same as when I would want to be awake with the adults as a little kid. They weren't talking about anything I could understand, so why would I want to stay up with them just to be bored?

It must be that I just don't like going to sleep.

I remember one year when I was in sleepaway camp - I think I was around eleven or twelve years old - and we were having a conversation in the bunk about sleeping. My counselor said that sleep is 1/60 of death and I got so disturbed and creeped out by that idea that I refused to fall asleep that night. Of course, I did end up doing so eventually, but for about a week I was terrified of falling asleep.

Then I went through a weird phase where I would try to catch myself just before falling asleep. I always wondered what it felt like to fall asleep. You can't really remember doing it, you know? It sort of just happens without your knowledge.

But mostly, I have been, am, and probably always will be reluctant to go to sleep. There are people to talk to, there are things happening, there's the whole world still existing around you. There are books to be read, stories to write, people to gchat, thoughts to think, ponderings to ponder...who has time for sleeping? Who wants to shut all of that out by hours of unconsciousness? It's like giving up on the day.

Too bad we can't function without sleep because if we could - I don't think I ever would.

(Of course, if I never slept then I'd never dream and I'm probably the world's most vivid dreamer, so perhaps I would go to sleep. Sometimes.)


Scraps said... just described me nearly to a T. Up to and including the isolation of living in a single in college.

Anonymous said...

If you didn't go to sleep, you'd never experience that lovely lazy feeling when you slowly wake up under a yummy blanket with fresh air blowing in from the window and no rush to move anywhere because it's vacation...