Sleep is for the weak

zzzzzzz

zzzzzzz (oh and that’s totally not my bed — it’s a hotel in Marseille, France)

I’ve noticed over the past few months that sleep is becoming much harder to give in to. It’s not that I’m not tired, quite the opposite actually. In fact, I’m downright exhausted. But I can’t sleep. I can’t just close my eyes and drift.

My brain isn’t overactive. I’m not anxious. I’m not stressed. I’m not even hyper or worked up. I just don’t want to sleep because I know what it’ll mean.

Crawling into an empty bed used to be a luxury. I reveled in the space, the ability to stretch out in any direction I pleased, searching out those glorious cold spots in the sheets that offered moments of relief from the heat. I could toss and turn, bunch up the pillows, sleep perpendicular if I wanted. It was glorious, absolutely liberating.

Now it’s stifling.

I stick to my side of the bed like a wall has been erected midway through my queen mattress. The right side of my bed remains untouched. Only the cats sleep on those pillows now, and they’re obviously not upset about it. I wake up more often then not with one arm outstretched across that side of the bed, as it would be if it were stretched across a chest. I’m quick to bring it back into my space, away from the emptiness.

When I do eventually fall asleep, and lately it’s with the help of a random old movie on NetFlix murmuring from the TV in the corner of my room to squish the absolute silence, I’m happy. I have vivid memories of dreams in which I am content and sharing a bed with someone, having them participate in my life, letting them into my space willingly, sharing, conversing, being together.

Then I wake up, and I regret ever having gone to sleep.

Sometimes, falling asleep on the couch helps. A couch is hard to share, anyways, so the stark contrast of slept-on-side vs empty side is less evident, less glaring.

I know it’s all in my head. I know I’m supposed to be embracing this whole “me time” stuff, and I do. I truly do. I love my independence. I love me, and my time. But I also know I have certain needs for human interaction, to share and connect in some way, and I admit I’m starting to feel more than a little lonely.

For some reason, sleep brings about all that loneliness in a way no other daytime activity does.

I used to love going to bed. Curling up next to a strong shoulder, listening to a solid heartbeat, fingers in hair, body heat resonating. I miss it, but not to the point where I’m going to fill the void with anything that comes my way and fits the bill for that night. I have a bit more self-respect than that.

Sleep is a natural occurrence. it’s a necessity for life. We need to sleep. I need to sleep. I see the bags under my eyes getting ever larger, ever darker. But I can’t stop it. In fact, I should be asleep right now, but I don’t want to. Falling asleep means I have to wake up tomorrow and face the same demons, deal with the same insecurities all over again.

On the other hand, there is one incredible up side to falling asleep: Owen.

Every morning he pads in, sets his chin on the edge of my bed centimeters from my face

and whispers: “Mummy? Mummy, is it time to cuddle?” And of course I tell him it is, and that’s how we start ever day.

In those moments, my bed and self are so full of love and connection I feel like I might burst. It’s a different sort of connection of course, but one I am so very grateful for. On the days when Owen stays with his father, I feel the absolute most lonely because on those mornings I don’t get those moments of reprieve from the emptiness.

I hope one day Owen will be able to understand what he did for me every morning when he asked to cuddle, snuggled in close, stroked my hair, and whispered (every morning), “I love you Mummy.”

It’s human nature to want to be loved. It’s natural to want to share our lives with someone else. As I sit here in my half-empty bed, I know I’m beyond tired … but I think I might go to the living room and curl up there.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on April 29, 2015.

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