when i went to college, i said i wanted to study neuroscience and theater (and egyptology...i wanted to live in the movie, the mummy, okay?). i didn't end up in a neuroscience class--instead i just read book after book about the brain. i wanted to know how it worked, i wanted to know how all of its inner workings created the anxious mess that i was.
a decade later, with more books read, with more meditation practiced, with more therapy had, i still don't really know why i am the anxious mess that i am, but i see how it shows up and tries to destroy me and how it works sorta...so that's something.
i should have stuck to my guns and been a playwriting neuroscientist ancient egypt expert.
this morning, i was up at 2am, unable to fall back asleep, because I went to bed at 10pm. i've been going to bed and napping more lately. i think i am partially doing this because of all the running, but also because i have just wanted to quiet my mind.
our minds are always chugging along, taking in information, making decisions, running the basic functions of our bodies. our minds are always thinking too, thinking thinking thinking.
because meditation hasn't been working to calm the thoughts, i think i decided to just try to sleep through them. but this only works if you can sleep and i, someone who deals with insomnia much of the time, can't always sleep.
so 2am comes around and i'm staring at the ceiling questioning all my life choices, hating how disorganized my apartment is, feeling lonely as fuck and stuck with those thoughts.
can we discuss why thoughts at 2am are never good thoughts? like, why do i go to doom and despair at 2am? why does the dark do that? why do i have emotional lows at 2am that seem ridiculous at 9am?
maybe that is in a book on the brain i haven't read.
but last night, awake as i was, i started following my thoughts. i started really tracking how they jumped from perfectly rational to irrational. i started tracking how i then would try to pull the thoughts back towards rational only to get tired and have them go back to irrational.
my brain, most of the time probably but really at 2am, is loud and demanding and does not take your word for it. nope. she needs proof of everything. you are going to be fine, i say. yeah, how the hell do you know that? she asks. you will not die alone, i say. you don't fucking know that. there is no proof. shut up, she retorts. you will find your focus and not fail out of grad school, i say. ha. okay. we'll see about that at 11am when you are writing a blog post instead of studying, she replies. keep working on your dreams, i say. for what, disappointment? she asks. you will run a marathon in the fall. did you see how much you sucked at running the 10k on saturday? she smiles. fuck you, i say. that's the spirit, she says.
do you know how much energy is required to keep myself somewhat sane?
of course you do. because most of you are trying to do the same thing.
but seriously. i could be the next toni morrison if i used half the energy on writing that i use on my thoughts.
i get scared when they say that you have to believe something in order for it to happen. i get scared because at 2am, i realize that deep down inside i don't believe that any of it will happen. (much like this modern love article from last week, where the writer discusses her frustration with the notion that you have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else...if i have to believe, then its never going to happen.) deep down inside i'm a pessimistic bitch.
this may be why i'm no longer teaching yoga...
anyway, 2am was rough going and i used every meditation, relaxation trick in the book to prevent a 2am panic attack which often feels worse than a 9am panic attack because then you are convinced you are going to die in the dark which is somehow worse than dying in the light which isn't true but feels true because it is 2am and you are in the doom and gloom part of the day.
i survived. i fell back asleep. i woke up and was like, why was that so tough? why was i so doom and gloom? and now, several hours later, i am ready to go back to bed. because here i am thinking yet again. thinking and thinking and thinking.
but i can't sleep the day away (despite the fact that the pup seems to be doing that in my lap as i type).
and i have to admit, part of me is still fascinated by this. still fascinated by the thoughts the come to the surface, that demand attention and wholehearted belief. i am still fascinated that those irrational thoughts spouted like a drunkard at 2am still sit in my chest like truths. i often say i write because i am fascinated by human behavior...but lately i think i've been writing because i'm fascinated by the thoughts we all listen to, the ones that are always on like a stereo without an off button, but no one else can hear.