Saturday, 24 February 2018

Things That Keep Me Awake At Night.



Image courtesy of the internet

Sometimes it's the cold or the heat. Easily remedied by peeling off a layer or two of my covering, the hot water bottle or... 

On other days all it takes is a nagging word. That careless whisper among friends. A derogatory phrase or statement that unintentionally spills into my ears. I am not in the habit of eavesdropping, but I cannot 'unhear' the words spoken about me or to me. I spend minutes, hours, mulling as I try to decipher their meaning. The intention. When answers fail me, I remind myself of that all-important doctrine which says, I am the master of my thoughts. I have the power over my reactions. I choose what I entertain. So, I let sleeping dogs lie and drift off to sleep.

Sometimes it is the near-misses. Words I could have said to change an outcome. The missed opportunity. That wrong turn I made. If only I could undo it all. What is done is done, I finally let the harsh truth sink. It is only then that I begin to feel the weight of my eyelids.


Image courtesy of the internet.

Occasionally it is the hefty bills. Those red letters the postman keeps tossing through the letterbox. That pile I have not dared to open. The endless phone calls from the lender. As if one reminder is not enough. Don't they know that threats and final warnings will not change my circumstances overnight? That if wishes were horses, I would be buying their electricity and gas company? That I will be the CEO of the most magnificent bank in the world? Yeah, tell that to my sleep.  

Excitement. Joy. Superimposed upon worry. It could be the pains of motherhood. On the one hand, my heart bursts with pride to see my children grow. As time shifts them from one stage to the next, I hold my breath and hope they are learning what they need to learn. At night I break into a cold sweat when I imagine the world in a few years’ time. The time when they will have to fend for themselves. When I am no longer around? I pray I am a good role model. That I have done enough, doing enough. For now, I am glad they are sheltered in my bosom. But I worry the world will soon swallow them up. Things are constantly changing. Wherever they go, messages and indoctrinations are continuously being injected into their brains, subliminally or otherwise, through the internet and other channels. I hope and pray that our preparation will prevent them being tossed out to the sea. Or that when that happens, the can find the strength and courage to swim back to shore.

There are times when I lie awake at night planning and plotting. It’s not what you think. It usually starts with the panic that comes with the realisation that I have wasted the entire day, my whole life. As the guilt of hours spent watching the marathons of Scandal and Autopsy on Netflix rips through me, I go into full-blown panic mode. How could I let the precious hours go to waste without filling a page or two with inspired words, perhaps a bit of editing? My dreams will not materialise out of thin air. At which point I spring from my pillow and compile a comprehensive list of all my deserving accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for the little things. After all, ‘gratitude shifts your energy and brings you more of what you want.’ I toss these platitudes around to quell despair. I give myself a pep talk - Bertha, you deserve to rest. You deserve some ‘me’ time. After all, you completed a chapter yesterday. You saved a life at work. Now, that is a good compromise, don't you think? 


Sometimes during the small hours of the night, I wrestle with my raging mind. How it shows no mercy by dragging me to back to yesteryear. Back to my roots. Those earlier times when my parents still roamed this earth. Before death snatched them away. As I lay my head on the pillow and squeeze my eyes shut, I swear I can see my father smiling at me. I can hear his laughter and smell his snuff which, even now, still tickles my nostrils and almost makes me break into a violent sneeze. 

The yearning for my mother's gentle touch also disturbs the night's tranquillity. I long to hear her sweet voice egging me on. Slowly, the fond memories turn to horror. As reality sets in, sweat and tears drench my nightgown and my pillow. I stare at the ceiling. There is nothing to see except darkness. Nothingness. The void left behind makes my heart jolt with grief. My chest tightens. Sometimes I can feel it being pulled sideways as if by the surgeon's retractor. God, why? Why torment me with such memories if there is nothing I can do to turn back the clock?

There are some moments during the night, which quite frankly, I could do with a pick and a shovel to bury ghosts. Relics from the past. Those friends and lovers with whom I have parted. Why open that Pandora's box if it only curtails my sleep with things that no longer concern me?  Thanks to social media, all it takes is a tap and a click to glimpse into someone's life. Poring over pictures and comparing. How the heart rests when one sees the bulge around their nemesis's waistline. One can't help but notice the banger sitting in their driveway. Hurray! My life is better than theirs. I have a cuter husband. The lies we tell ourselves when we succumb to such whims. I suppose it is human nature to wonder. But I would like to think that such nights are sparse and far in between.



I wish you all pleasant dreams. Come back soon. 

Take care!

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