Some Nights

Have you ever had one of those nights when you just couldn’t sleep? Last night my mind was like a wild horse racing through every minute of the day, every person, every conversation, every problem, every burp and fart. Just running, running, running — running to nowhere. Should I get a cheaper apartment? Where will I park when I go to the eye doctor? Is my car too big? Should I get a smaller car? Why are my eyes always so bloodshot? 

In bed in the dark, every ache and pain is cancer. Of course, I have cancer. Everybody has cancer. Why should I be any different? The headache behind my eye is a brain tumor. The red patch on my leg is skin cancer. The twinge of nerves in my hand is hand cancer. My skin tags are an invading army of itty bitty tumors that will soon devour my hidden parts. Just please let them stay hidden. I hate skin tags. One day I’ll just be an empty sack of clothes. Cancer will have eaten all of me and my skin tags will be homeless.

In the middle of the night, I could die of almost anything. I stare at the ceiling and imagine how my friends would find me dead in bed a couple days from now. Then I think about changing my t-shirt and putting on some nice underwear. I just bought these new bed sheets. Why wreck them just because I’m having a bad night? Maybe I should take down the shower curtain and sleep on that. Just in case the Grim Reaper stops by my apartment tonight and leaves a mess. I sleep better when I’m feeling prepared. Although I don’t know how well I would sleep on my shower curtain. Maybe I should get a new mattress pad. You know, the kind that’s waterproof, for children and old people, and people like me who suddenly die in bed.

Some nights are just like that. There weren’t enough hours in the day to process my life story, and it spills over into the dark when my dreams should be power washing my brain. But some nights my mind is just too busy to dream. I catalogue my wishes, inspect my regrets, and think about how things could have been different, on and on, like a running horse in a wide open space, so beautiful, so energetic, and so pointless. Running for the sake of running, toward the horizon, until the horse is too small to see, and I finally fall asleep.

Then I wake up. My skin tags have not amassed in one big clump on my face. My tumors are gone. That headache must have been, you know, just a headache. My eyes can see just fine. And I did not rip down my shower curtain to prepare for the Grim Reaper, who must have skipped over me, because here I am. Cool. I think it’s going to be a good day.

10 thoughts on “Some Nights

  1. Your posts create a portrait that, above and aside from all other issues, factors and considerations, describe a talent whose output is consistently worth reading, providing a humorous, personalized travelogue and guide into the shared human condition. Bravo Billie

  2. Artfully done Billie! I too, check the orbits in the morning. If I’m not there, I move on to coffee and toast the day!

  3. Sorry you are having so much anxiety at night. You could try meditation, I use insight and its really good. Or happy books on your phone to lull you to sleep and stop your ” monkey mind” from jumping. Just some ideas that work for me in this situation.

  4. I had the exact same feeling today – during the day – and realized how lucky I was just to be breathing and happy. Life can be very good… (and that’s right when you catch an uppercut to the spirit-gut), but so what. Even humiliation can be fun.
    Thank you Billie for your… for YOU!

  5. Oh yes….”those” nights. I’ve had ’em. They are filled with drama and crises just like yours, real and imagined on steroids. The real ones are SO much worse at night, but the imagined ones are nothing to sneeze at. How is it that at night, everything looks and feels So. Much. Worse? How is it that by morning, if one does get a modicum of sleep after such awake worries, things are bright and cheery in the light of day? I guess it’s easy to see why it is so important that we get our nightly allotments of sleep or who knows what we would be like? Sometimes I think about forms of torture that involve sleep deprivation and I think I would cave in completely if I were on the receiving end of it. Sleep is a must for my mental state of mind! Why do we catastrophize so? Why? Anyway, you are not alone, BB. Welcome to somatic dissonance.

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