The gift of insomnia

There has been one good thing that has come out of my insomnia this past week: being given the chance to really plume through the thoughts whirling around in my head.

While the common response would be to check one’s phone and endlessly scroll through one’s social media feed, I no longer reach for my phone or any electronics for that matter. In general, I fight the urge to turn to my phone during moments of insecurity and/or boredom. I’m not saying I don’t do it ever; I still struggle with it. But once it’s past 9 PM, I do not look at my phone or turn the laptop on until it’s at least 7 AM the next day. As a woman of schedules and routines, it’s become a part of my life. Non-negotiable. The only time I make an exception is when I can’t get home without GPS; but even then I try to limit my reliability on GPS as much as possible. Also, I’m rarely out by myself past 9 PM. I’m just that cool.

I made this a habit for very practical reasons: to sleep better.

I suppose it’s kinda ironic that despite all that I do — having only 1 cup of chai in the morning even though my heart would love it after each meal, not eating after a certain time in the evening, regular exercise, etc. — I still can’t sleep!

By the way, is this actual irony or just Alanis-irony? She’s marred the concept for me forever, so much so that I am afraid to even use the word in public (blog does not count, because I trust all y’all reading this) for fear of being outed as an actual imposter (in grad school, the term “imposter syndrome” was used a lot by students to describe their experience, but I never divulged that I actually was one much for the same reason).

Yesterday morning’s journaling “session” was actually kind of fun. Like back when I was in elementary school. I made lists, really silly lists. And through an hour and a half of stream of consciousness journaling, I was able to come to realizations that just thinking them in my head couldn’t achieve. There’s something about putting pen to paper that makes things seem like they have come to a resolution. Does anyone else feel that way?

In my self-imposed social media exile, I’ve really had a chance to turn inward. It’s no longer about what the cool people did last Friday night when I was sitting at home reading my book on Thomas Jefferson. It’s forced me to read and do things that actually make a positive or edifying impact in my life.

With respect to this blog, it’s also been freeing on how and when I write. I used to be upset at not getting comments on my posts. But now that I am not writing for likes, I’m writing what I want to, however frequently or as infrequently as I can and want. I feel like I am the blogger I was before I decided to go “public.” I’m also coming to terms on not seeking validation on my writing. I’m less and less concerned that all my non-work-related writing is on my blog. The value comes not from likes,comments, or shares, but from my own assessment.

I’m not sure if anyone reading this will be able to follow my train-of-thought in this post. Honestly, I’m not even sure I could if I were to re-read it tomorrow. But I suppose that’s why sleep is so important! Your brain needs it as much as the rest of your body does.

And yet even the most frustrating thing you find yourself dealing with at the moment bears its own fruit.

9 thoughts on “The gift of insomnia”

  1. Haha, I feel ya! It took me about a week for me to get to this point. I try (emphasis on try) to see the good in everything, if not see the lessons I can learn. Thank you! Peace is not easily achieved, but I do believe quiet is required for it.

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  2. I think every writer reaches that point eventually – like it’s just about your assessment of your work at the end and not necessarily your audience. I sometimes think it was easier for me to click publish before even having any engagement at all on my posts – and now I feel like SO much more of my writing is limited because its like I know people are reading? And – I have anyhow always been selective of what I post online since I am not anonymous, and nor do I dabble in something specific like a health blog or whatnot. I’ve been dealing with a lot of imposter syndrome tbh its a massive mental block. (Duno if you could follow my train of thought because I’ve been getting weird insomnia too! Sigh)

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  3. Yes, I followed your train of thought. It was in response to my lack of a railway post :) I do agree with you on that, it being easier to publish a post knowing not too many people will read it. I think with blogging becoming so popular, I too, wanted to “cash” in on it, if you will. I never had a niche blog and never could. I’m just not that talented or devoted to one thing. But I realize that’s what most people want. There are a few people who actually take the time to read longer reflective pieces and once I realized who my core readership was, I stopped try to write for people who only wanted blog soundbites, if you will. I kinda wish that I had kept some things private when I first started this blog, but I guess I had to go through that phase. Why are you dealing with imposter syndrome, dear?

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  4. Thank you, Kristen! Yes, I definitely recommend putting the phone away, like in another room if possible. I find the temptation to check so strong that I literally have to put a physical barrier between me and the seductive phone – haha! Are you experiencing issues with insomnia as well?

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