When You Laugh At The Person Telling You To Get Sleep

Melissa Smith
Oct 10, 2017 · 5 min read

September 8 — Last night my roommate told me to get more than two hours of sleep. I laughed. I was exhausted. I didn’t think it would be a problem. It was. I literally woke up two hours later and couldn’t go back to sleep.

There were a couple of things I couldn’t get out of my head. I thought if I completed the tasks and wrote the others down I would be able to go back to sleep. Nope. I took a shower and washed my hair in hopes that would relax me. They say the changing of temperatures, hot to cold, relaxes the body. Sure, I was relaxed. Wide awake and relaxed.

At least if I’m up I want to be able to work. I knew I wasn’t up to performing any work functions. I decided to listen to a few podcasts. I’m not a person who listens to podcasts regularly. I’m a reader. This is the time when they’re good for me. When I can’t do anything else and when the best thing that could happen is falling asleep. Not that I fell asleep.

When it was painfully clear I would not be getting any rest I finally went out for coffee. On the way to the coffee shop there is a pastry window. Literally a window with pastries in it and you order from the outside. I’ve walked by plenty of times and there is often a line. A good sign. Then I got the “brilliant” idea of putting myself in a sugar coma to sleep.

On this trip I have avoided pastries like the plague. I have more willpower in the morning than the evening. It seems like every country has their own versions of amazing pastries and breakfast sandwiches. I wouldn’t be able to really say. It’s not been worth it to me to find out. Even desserts haven’t been a big draw for me and I have sweet tooth. My thought is if I’m going to be consuming empty, bad calories I’ll do so with cocktails. I’m not going back home 10 or 20 pounds heavier after traveling this year. I refuse.

These would be my first pastries in a long time. I was going to knock out two birds for one purpose. Not only would I finally get to indulge guilt free I would sleep afterward. Win-win! I bought two pastries. A cute little one the size of a cheese puff but with jam. Even though it was bite size I took three bites to savor it. I also got the biggest chocolate croissant of my life. They didn’t skimp on the chocolate at all. I finished both and immediately felt ill. Totally worth it if it meant sleep which I was confident it would. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My body is fighting everything. This is the time I’m trying to take flight. I’m not fighting. I’d tried telling my body and it’s not convinced. In the past I’ve been accused of being in fight or flight. I argued I wasn’t. Compared to this there isn’t a chance I was. I’ve never been as aware as I am now. I don’t want to be aware. I want it to go away. I want to sleep. I want my heart to stop beating, racing. I want my mind to stop. I can’t get the thoughts and words out fast enough.

Knowing I can’t keep this up I messaged the One I love. I told him I felt broken. How I haven’t been sleeping. He asked me a few questions and gave me a few suggestions. It helped to know he thinks I’m not broken. I’m beginning to feel useless. I’d rather be broken than useless.

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We continue to have internet issues at the apartment. I’m back at the workspace again. The worst part of having to go in is the apartment is not close enough to go home for a siesta. It doesn’t even matter if I actually sleep. To close my eyes and rest does me good. Getting a few hours of sleep at night and then working 9am to midnight is a really long day without a nap.

Instead of taking siesta time I took a coffee break. Back to coffee today. I need it because my body is adjusting to this fight or flight and I don’t simply need to be awake. I have to be cheerful during the upcoming calls.

As I sat outside I decided to distract myself by looking for things I hadn’t noticed before. There is corn and popcorn for sale everywhere. How did I miss this before? The smell is unmistakeable and I didn’t even mistake it. I was oblivious to it altogether. In my defense I haven’t been out too much during the daylight hours. Maybe tonight they’ll be gone again. Then I heard the same sound over and over again. When I turned around I saw a little boy playing a very popular instrument of Belgrade, the accordion.

He was playing the same chord over and over again. It’s all he knows. As people walked by they kept putting money in his bucket. The chord was brand new to them. He gave all he had to all he knew and he was rewarded for it. You’d only know he was playing one chord if you stayed to watch. The chord he did play was really nice. This is what I’ll do to finish my day.

I struggle to be new and different every day. Personalizing things for people to a fault. The calls I have later today don’t have to be different. I can do much of what I do without thinking. It’s become first nature. I can sleepwalk through it. While it isn’t fun for me. For the person hearing me for the first time, it is brand new. Here’s to making what is old new again.

My end of day gratitude:

  1. Yummy pastries.
  2. Good workspace internet.
  3. A beautiful chord played on the accordion.

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