Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Stillness of Night

It may be 7 in the morning, but my day started over four hours ago. I am currently dog sitting two dogs and let's just say, well, I was awoken by one of them and could not go back to sleep.

Being up in the middle of the night brought back many memories of what my life used to be like. Before I started working at TouchPoint my sleep hours were a bit odd. It was commonplace for me to go to sleep at 5, 6 or even 7 in the morning and wake up at 1, 2, or 3 in the afternoon. I often would joke, when I was awake before dawn, that, "Oh, so that's where the sun rises." because day break was rarely seen by me.

It was an inconvenience to be up so early, but it worked out because I have planned several blog entries and I got caught up responding to e-mails from some readers as well as some messages on Facebook regarding my blog. Furthermore, I felt relaxed as I was the only one awake in the house.

Back in 1995, when I was homeschooled, I loved to get out of bed at 3 in the morning because I was the only one awake. My mind is so much at ease during those wee hours because I don't have to process what other people are doing. My mind is hyper vigilant in terms of tracking noises and people. I may not respond or look like I am keeping track, but each footstep and each door closure is heard, analyzed, and processed. Over the course of the day all that processing takes a toll, but in the middle of the night there are no noises and it is nothing short of freeing.

If it weren't for my wacky hours I may have never started writing. It was the isolation that gave me the confidence to write. I didn't have to worry about someone asking me, "What are you writing?" and there was no chance someone would read my words as I typed them. I don't want to sound like I want to be alone 100% of the time, but those hours of being alone truly helps me make sense of my emotions and allows me time to just be without thinking about everyone else.

Again, I don't want to say I want to be an isolationist, but it is so taxing to constantly process each minute thing I hear. In the still of night there is peace because of this. In the winter, when it snows (which isn't often in Saint Louis; we just get freezing rain) I would walk outside and stand in the street and just listen to the stillness in the air. At 4AM there are no other noises outside and sometimes I could hear the snow hitting the ground. Being the only one outside made me feel as if I were totally alone and I was the only one taking in the beauty of the scene, but then a car would drive by or someone would be leaving their house and my tranquility was momentarily interrupted.

What I want to get at, if I haven't, is that it is hard for me to drown out all the exterior sounds and movements I hear. I live life unfiltered and those nights, like the night I had thanks to a dog, let's me have a break. It's been so long that I forgot just how much I need it and the amount of effort it takes to keep up the strength to sustain daily functions without becoming overwhelmed by all the sounds of life.

I don't know when I will have another sleepless night. I'll be up early tomorrow, but that's because I've got to drive to Kirksville, Missouri for a presentation. I'll look forward to it though, whenever it may be, because through that stillness I am able to think, unabated, and make sense of the world and myself.


  1. I have AS myself and can totally identify with this. Although I've never had such an experience, I know how you feel about other people hovering and asking you what you're writing or trying to see what you're writing. I like to be on the computer late at night, when I'm the only one downstairs and everyone else is upstairs so I have privacy. (It's like that as I'm typing this.) I hate it when people get all nosy and try to pry into my business.
    I also can hear pretty much everything that goes on in my house. I wish that wasn't so, especially in the morning when everyone takes turns using the bathroom right beside my room, ugh. Also when people are angry and arguing.

  2. I go to bed at 3am most night/mornings. Those 5 hours when everyone else is snoring....mmmm. Peace.