Nighttime

Good morning,

It is nearing two a.m. here in sleepy Southern California; however, sleep refuses to have me, or even make a quick acquaintance. I’ve supplicated to its mercy, and scorned its cruelty, neither of which has done me much good — obviously. My mind is restless. I was an insomniac for over 10 years, during which I received treatment in all its varying forms.

There was psychotherapy, of course, where a man I hardly knew postulated to understand the first, last, and middle things about what might keep someone such as myself awake at night. I permitted him three sessions before I declined further services. And then there was medication, the strong stuff. This did me well, sending me into a spasming state of delirium approximately fifteen minutes after released into my blood-stream.

Today I am proud to say I am drug-free, sleeping most nights without the aid of muscle-relaxers and inhibitory medications. This process of weaning, while painful, is one of my greatest achievements in life. If you’ve ever experienced a night without sleep, quadruple that feeling, then once more, and you will have the longest I ever manged to go without sleep. 8 days. There is no cure for insomnia, only trial by error, and infinite faith that sleep. will. come. Most nights I do quite well, but occasionally I must endure; a reminder of the pain that once was, and how grateful I am to have long-since bid adieu. Tonight, though, is one such night, where instead of bidding adieu, I am paying my dues; so I must write. These words in their disparity dance in my head, telling me not what they are, but only that I must put them on the page. This poem will feel like a spill, I should think; an outpouring that I pray will deliver me into slumber’s care shortly after I finish.

I do this now, and thank you kindly for being the ear to validate my restive state.

Hiding Places

And so it is with love and truth sharing my bed

that I make haste to chimera, breathing it in were it scented like lavender, ripe as fresh fruit.

A silver spoon, in all its revelry still boasts tang; a metallic bitterness that settles roughly on the tongue’s perspective.

Dizzy and drunk with fixation, I urge the Nothingness to take

me.

Blacken me to this world, and give me the peace in which I so desperately desire.

Why must you creep and coax, taunt and taint, marrying me to your insidious hope?

You have not my interest in mind; only an interest in murdering me with deception, plaguing

all that is pure, stainless, and sound.

Images of iniquity, foreign and oddly familiar, flash inside my mind, reminding

me that greener is the grass.

They are boorish and human, I know, so obvious in their banal humanity, that I hardly care to admit

that I have succumb. Weakened. Am prey.

Not possible, I say aloud, as if the very sound of my own puny voice might frighten away the other voices contending to turn fiction into fact.

A debate commences and I have already lost.

Surrender was the answer . . . the whole time.

What fools they were in taking a word proved to be divine, and making

it an ugly, inept thing.

It was not in fact the plank, as they had so haughtily presumed, but merely the splinter, don’t you see?

For a plank, large and unbecoming in the benighted sap’s eye, was nothing

at all; easily removed should the afflicted care to take notice of its presence. No,

the splinter, an irritant hardly noticeable, killed more that wretched day and continues to do so

rapidly, paying no mind to attrition and intellect, least of all the worthy.

Equal opportunity for all, lest the harrowed be among the merry. A disease

of falsehood beckons and slays me, the worst part

of it all being moment I realize I don’t so very much mind it, welcoming this feigned benefactor into my home,

and seeking him out when he slackens my leash. Oh, the lure allures with bait,

using promise and potency like hat and sunglasses; disguising what is specious.

And I, stupid woman, fall hard on cue

never expecting Grace’s arms to be the ones to catch me. Why not break

that which is broken already; let it be the ruined thing it wants, knowing, that left to its own devices, it will happily chase subterfuge’s forked tail with pleasure.

If I could, I would separate the body and soul, giving the filthy, beastly thing over to its proprietor. I want it

off me, ceasing the distraction which torments and tears me away from peace. In here I hide,

cowering in the corner, the loudness of my projected thoughts drowning the whispers.

Find me.

I am here,

stunted and starving for something to make the unendurable bearable. I realize

now, that in looking for you, I went to all my old places.

You weren’t there, of course, and why would you be? So instead I ask you to find

me. 

You were always so clever at the game, never ripping the door open to scare me into bodily mortification, but first allowing the light, then your face — in that order.

I’m waiting for you, my Love.

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35 thoughts on “Nighttime

  1. I too sleep little…usually due to muscle spasms and high pain. But, I hate taking so many meds so I write “middle of the night ramblings” to distract myself. Loved this post…thank you for sharing it and your insomnia.

  2. One of my best friends dad was a Vietnam War Vet, I spent the night with them a lot and I never saw him sleep. He had a lot of trouble sleeping. I don’t know how he did it!

    Great post Clara. Hiding Places is amazingly written!!!

    • I can imagine that many, if not all, of our men and women of service struggle with finding restful, uninhibited sleep. Those of us watching war from afar know but only a silver of what they must see and deal with using their own hands. It’s a burden, if I was ever asked to endure, I’m not sure I could carry . . .

      I am glad you enjoyed the poem, thank you for reading. 🙂

  3. Thanks for your post! I will pray that you no longer have sleepless nights; but if occasionally that happens I pray you will find inspiration to write another poem!

    • Thank you, Ana. That you would take a moment to pray for me, a stranger, when I know there are other prayers and people you could be lifting up, brings a warmth I can hardly explain. And also, what I like to call a consolatory prayer. Unfortunately, we don’t always receive the relief we ask for, but instead are given strength to persevere or the opportunity to suffer so that we can comfort others. To be able to write about this, to bring beauty in the midst of pain, this is salve for me.
      From my heart, I thank you for reading.

  4. I must read this a few more times. I actually would like to take some notes as I found this to be a compelling guessing game. I love the spoon reference. There is something very sensual in this and fearful as well. Giving in, waiting, searching; all of these inhibitors to living freely are clear and in all of this there is a “little light” of hope. I know from the few times in my life where sleep did not come my mind very nearly caved to lunacy. I cannot imagine 8 days without sleep and what visions you must have had. I can only imagine it to be a little like war and war is hell.

    • Michael,

      If you do, I would love to see those notes. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been looking forward to hearing your thoughts; you being the imaginative, esoteric mind you are. 🙂

      I have this theory — which my Michael advocates the opposition — that poetry is for the poet. Of course there are poems less obscure, making it easier to interpret and relate to what is being said/conveyed; but often times the poet portends an ambiguity on purpose, don’t you think? His/her way of being vulnerable, risking exposure without ever having to use words such as “feel” and “hurt”.

      “There is something very sensual in this and fearful as well.” This made me smile, and I actually said aloud, “Well done, Michael.” I happened to be driving in the car with the Hubs, and he of course had no idea what he had done to earn my praise. LOL.

      Lunacy is the perfect word. War is the perfect simile.

      Thanks for weighing in, Michael.

    • I so appreciate you reading. The struggle — half of it, anyway — was taking the power out of those words an images by refusing to keep them obscured in my mind. Writing brings me to the precipice of peace, where the One who gives it freely is waiting.

      Thank you . . .

  5. 8 days? Woa! I feel a little anxiety after two days. It’s really bothersome to not have good sleep because I find myself hoping for it hours before it comes.

    Glad you’re sleeping with meds. I guess it’s just a given to have one of those nights from time to time.

    • Oh, Totsy!
      Two days is plenty to go without sleep! 8 days was a challenge I wasn’t entirely sure I would survive. But God is Good, and He gave me an angel to keep by my side as I lost my mind.
      Yes, you are so right about the anticipation being the worst part. You go about your day, trying not to think about how tired you are and how badly you want to rest, and then the time arrives with underwhelming results.
      As you said, I can’t expect to not have those sleepless nights every once in a while; though, I am ever thankful to have said goodbye to the sleeping aids over 2 years ago!

  6. I have also suffered from insomnia over the years. Once, for almost 8 months before my sleep disorder was finally properly diagnosed. I still have my bad nights, even with medication. It’s an awful thing sometimes, yet at other times, quite peaceful.

    I’ve passed on the “New Blogger Award” to you, as well. Initiated by Mr. JB, it was awarded to me, and my only requirement is to pass it on to bloggers who I feel deserve it. Your blog is an inspiration to me.

    Please stop by and read this post for more info. Well deserved!

    http://weavingamongthestars.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/paying-it-forward/

    • I am so sorry, Rose. I can imagine clearly the desperation and fear you must have had before understanding what was contributing to your sleepless nights. Your mind — probably much like mine in regards to its constant of activity — likely fought against it, all of its efforts futile in bringing the one thing it needed. Do you, too, find that the more you exhaust yourself, the more difficult it is to slip seamlessly into sleep? It can be maddening trying to concoct the perfect solution to a good night’s rest. I love what you had to say about insomnia being peaceful . . . I have experienced that from time to time, and know what you speak of. It makes me smile that another would look for Good and the Light in such a dark disease. 🙂

      I responded on your blog to the latter portion of this comment, but again, thank you! I am truly honored!

  7. Desperation; yes, I was desperate, and the underlying issues were two fold, as well as encountering doctors who did not believe one of the sleep disorders I had was, indeed, at fault. However, the problems were eventually rectified, though I must take medications for the rest of my life. Sometimes, that is the price we pay for quality of life.

    Yes, I do find it more difficult to sleep the more exhausted I feel! And again, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who experiences this. Those nights can be the worst because I don’t want to increase medications to sleep for a multitude of reasons, and yet, I’m far too tired to do anything productive such as write, clean, etc. I can’t even nap during the day. However, I find that my body will eventually sleep and my sleep patterns return to normal after a time… before running into the problem again.

    I sometimes find the insomnia peaceful from the standpoint of being awake during a time when the rest of the world is quiet; time to reflect, I suppose.

    And you are welcome. Truly deserved, in my humble opinion.

    • That must have been just awful, not having professionals understand, let alone believe, what you were going through. You know, I came to a point many years back where I was not only resigned to take meds for the rest of my life if need be, but was more than willing to do so. If it meant I could sleep and function, then I didn’t care what the cost was — so long as it was within the boundaries of my moral compass 🙂 I hope you don’t feel any sense of shame or defeat in needing an extra nudge to drop off. You spoke of quality of life, which I agree with; but I also think it has much to do with the inherently busy minds we’ve been given. You are creative and imaginative and that will pour into you unconscious moments as it does with your waking moments. The bridge for us is hazy and undefined.

      I couldn’t agree more . . . and actually had that feeling as I wrote “Nighttime.” There is something unexplained about being awake when most of the world is meeting slumber. Thank you for sharing yourself and your story.

  8. Cara, This poem is so hauntingly beautiful!

    “Dizzy and drunk with fixation, I urge the Nothingness to take me. Blacken me to this world, and give me the peace in which I so desperately desire.”

    How many times have I felt this way? So many nights of desperation, longing for the blackness to swallow me and give me sweet peace. I’ve traveled down many dark and crooked roads searching for my resting place. Maybe someday I’ll reveal my journey, but for now I’ll just be in awe of how beautifully you have describe yours. You truly have been blessed with an amazing talent. Looking forward for more to come!

    Peace and Blessings!

    Lori

    • There is such a relief and joy in hearing how others relate and commiserate to my struggles. Not that I would ever wish any of what I have experienced as far as insomnia goes, on any person, but to know we are not alone, that we are able to lean on one another and find strength in another’s words and warms, it truly is sweet. I would love to hear about your journey, but only when you are ready to share it with us. We’ll be waiting. 🙂

      Thank you for your kindness, for your thoughtful comments, and taking a moment to think about how this made you feel. In a world where busyness steals us from every good and faithful thing, I thank you that you found reading this worth some of your priceless time.

      Blessing to you, Lori!!

  9. Touching and well-written, Cara. I am happy to hear you talk so eloquently about a universal truth that most people prefer to hide. You are an intellectually brave girl. And one with almost too much heart. If there is such a thing as “too much” before it kills us. Bless you.

    • Ah, Ms. Weaver, it is so very good to see you! Been thinking about you and that parrot . . .

      Hm . . . To die from too much heart; now that is certainly a death worthy of aspiring to.

      Thank you, George, and bless you my friend.

      • Years ago, I read several articles in which the authors hypothesized that Christ died of a burst heart…a real, physical occurrence. I not only found that postulation anatomically reasonable, but emotionally acceptable. It is possible to be so filled with love and grief.

        I knew a couple of elderly nursing home clients who literally turned their faces to the wall and died. Others lived on in spite of their equally desperate conditions. Humans are complex organisms.

      • Whether literally or metaphorically, Christ absolutely did die of a broken heart. His heart in return for an eternity to spend with us. The difference in His act of sacrifice is that He was not desperate, nor was He resigned. A last request was made to the Father, a beseeching to remove this necessary burden. Not granted, He moved forward with determination, and allowed His body to be nailed to a cross, all so we could live.
        We were not created to face walls and die, but to live, and love boldly. There is no greater thing than love.

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