Sometimes, when I’m in bed and it’s really quiet, my mind starts to wander a bit. It’s rare for me that I don’t hit the pillow and fall right asleep, so when the mind wanders, I might fire up Netflix on the iPad, find something to read, torture myself with more social media, or put on some music. I figure if I can’t sleep, there’s no point in lying there, tossing and turning, worrying about sleep like I used to when I was a child.
When I was little, I would turn for hours thinking about nuclear war. I worried that Russian tanks would be rolling down Main Street—yes, we watched “Red Dawn” a lot as kids. I worried about all the people who got sick. I wondered why I was told that there was a god who cared so much about me he knew how many hairs were on my head, but I was supposed to collect pennies to feed starving kids on the other side of the world.
Why didn’t he just quit counting my hair and feed those kids?
And if there actually was someone with Santa-like powers, why did we get toys as those other kids were starving? Those kids who stared at me through giant sad eyes, bloated tummies confusing me even further as the flies circled their skeletal bodies.
Much later, I contemplated if said god existed, perhaps male was the appropriate gender because he was a terrible multi-tasker.
Much later, I contemplated that multi-tasking was over-rated and we were probably all doomed.
Praise be to Yoda.
I negotiated with that god. “Give the kids food and I’ll memorize verses. I’ll read something from your book every night and try to be a good kid.”
Over-inflated sense of self-importance, I guess. I really thought I could make a deal that could fix something, which is a pattern apparently implanted in me at birth. I’ve always wanted to change things for the better, to fix things. It’s a detriment when the energies are focused on fixing people who don’t want your help. It’s a good skill when people, places, or organizations request your assistance. It’s a gift when the focus is internal. Focus is a key there, though, because when all the tasks that need to be completed start the brain running, it’s overwhelming.
Last night the brain went into hyper drive on all the work I have to do, for my actual job and in helping a friend with a memoir she’s working on, and the part of me where the three feelings live thought it would be a good idea to scroll through my Instagram. This really means that I was looking at pictures of Alli, which made me laugh and cry, and then feel guilty because I chose to end her life. And that kicked me into one of those really awful existential brain explosions where I started to question every decision I’ve ever made.
The Committee was just about to make an appearance. You remember The Committee, that group of asssholes in my head who told me I wasn’t good at anything or worthy of a decent life. I listened to them for years until I finally realized I could tell them to f#ck off and they had to listen because they were me.
So there I was, lying in bed, mind racing—I was a scared 10 year-old thinking about war one second and a drunk 20 year-old pissed off that someone took my last beer the next—all over the place and nowhere simultaneously.
Then Joey, who was sweetly sleeping next to me, farted.
And suddenly I was a tired 39 year-old. I giggled and snuggled in next to her.
It took was a “Ffffppfhfpffff” out the business end of a dog to pull me back to the present moment. Probably not a skill taught it therapy dog training, but I’ll take it.