I am a champion sleeper. I can sleep almost anywhere, under any conditions, for any length of time. It's my greatest talent, my superpower. I've tested it on the lumpy, flea-bitten mattresses of Ethiopia and in the rat-infested squalor of Cairo; I've cuddled up to cockroaches, I've snoozed with scorpions, I've shared a straw mat with a (very disagreeable) goat or two. Seventeen hour flight in cattle class? No problem. Earthquake tremors? I sleep through them. I'm good like that.
Which is why a recent bout with insomnia, followed by a period of fitful sleep, has unnerved me. Almost without realizing it, I have turned into a nervous sleeper. I worry the details of my day; they work themselves into strange, disquieting dreams. Sleep is no longer a refuge and now my waking dream is blissful, uninterrupted sleep. I envy the snoozing Hawk, whose slumber is so deep that to wake him requires buckets of cold water and vigorous shaking.
I know what this is about. Knowing doesn't help, except to reassure me that I won't be sleepless forever. At some point soon, I hope (I pray, I beseech the gods) that I will be brave enough to make the first tentative steps toward something better than fine, richer than enough for now. Until then, the conflicting forces inside me are at odds with sleep. They cry out for attention like petulant children, asking the same insistent, unanswerable questions.
I am bored of you, I tell them. Please go away.
Even I know that this is the wrong approach. They respond only to patience and compassion and understanding. I have to kill them with kindness. But it is easier to be kind to others than it is to myself.