@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Dear Late Night Me
Dear Late Night Me,
Having another insomnia spat, are we? Infuriating, isn’t it? How you could pass out in a matter of minutes at any random point of the day and now that you’re snuggled on your perfect mattress, all cozy and warm, you can’t sleep. Do you reach for the sleeping pills yet? The ones that knock you out but make you groggy in the morning? Smoke a little weed? Read a book? Perhaps a little cough syrup? Those vicious cycles.
But look at you now. So far from where you were a year ago. What a difference a year makes. Just a year ago you were down and out— not sure how you were going to feed yourself. Was your career gone, forever, or just paused? The collective fear of not just the community or state or country but the world. All that uncertainty. Was this the end of what was or the beginning of what was always meant to be.
The once sparkling city of New York across the river of home didn’t shine, just lights of a distant star that was dead. It brought no sense of wonder and dreams it once did. The buildings like gravestones— one big cemetery. It was over.
But we were wrong. It’s never over. Not really, anyway. Sure, when you die, it’s over for you. But it’s never over, whatever “it” is.
And look at how far we’ve come, Late Night Me. Look at far we’ve come since then. Sure, the insomnia didn’t change, and I assume never will, not indefinitely, anyway. But look at you… late night browsing on Amazon. I mean, it kind of has to stop. You’re getting a little erroneous with your shopping. And look, I get it. I get it. Last year a lot of people helped you out and now that you’ve dug out of debt and found work and saved money, you want to reciprocate to those who helped you when you really needed it. Their generosity was not lost on us, I think they know. But did you need to send your sister $100 worth of healthy snacks as a birthday gift that was a passive aggressive way to try to get her kids to snack healthier?
You already know your newborn nephew has more clothes than yourself and your brother combined. In fact, don’t I need clothes? Haven’t we been working mostly shirtless in pajama pants for a year in the house? We’re going to have to wear shirts again. And not graphic tees and flannel shirts. But even I couldn’t convince you to do some adult clothes shopping. No, no— save that part for me and mom.
Late night me, wouldn’t I love it if you did some writing? Sure. I always like all the versions of me to write. But that could last till the sun comes up and then I’ll be useless all day. You can’t screw me like that. I depend on you to get to sleep. It’s your one job, damnnit. I need proper rest in order to function, physically and mentally. You do understand that?
Of course you do. But you’re still ignoring me when I say put away the cell phone. Every one knows, and I mean EVERYONE, that you shouldn’t expose your eyes to blue light before going to bed. It fucks with your brain. Turn it off. Stop playing Words With Friends, stop carousing Instagram or looking up your crush on Facebook. No one has time for that shit. Well, okay, technically, you have time for that shit. But you need to sleep. Are you listening to me?
Shut the lights. Pull the blanket over your head. Think of the good to time. The potential right there at your finger tips. It’s such a difference from last year, going to sleep in tears and waking up the same way. Sure, I almost never wake up thrilled to get out of bed, almost always I want to sleep more (often your fault, Late Night Me, but not entirely), but I don’t wake up with that dread. Not any more.
Dear Late Night Me, I wish you weren’t plagued with the same loops I obsess over all day. Trust me when I say I run the loops more than enough for both of us. Couldn’t you just turn off? Couldn’t you just turn down the sound of the gears? Couldn’t you stop beating us up for not being more productive?
Dear Late Night Me, are you afraid of the dreams that come at night? The stress dreams about daily life? The ones about taking math classes? The crocodiles or wolves? The awful one where someone you love is missing and you can’t find them. But you know how to read the signs it’s a dream. You already know how to recognize the tells. A trained lucid dreamer.
There are the good dreams too. The success dreams. The ocean dreams. The sex dreams. The surf dreams. The treasure finding with friends dreams. The playful dreams with the nephews and niece. The dreams about being in the house you grew up in. It’s amazing how every detail of that house is still painted in your memory that when the DMT elves, or whatever creates dreams, that house is reconstructed perfectly.
I know you enjoy the quiet of the night. The stillness. I know how you miss the stars and are enthralled by the moon. But every hour you stay up you deprive me an hour of sunlight. I love the sun too. You can love both things. You can love the sun and the moon. People are capable of loving more than one thing, however opposite they are.
We are connected, Late Night Me. Insomnia leads to insanity. We’ve been down that road. You say we’ll make up for it the next night. Sleep for ten hours. But these cycles are rotten. Is our brain so plagued with guilt, worry and dissatisfaction? I suppose it’s true. But there’s also wonder, love and desire. A brain can be two things. It can be many things, maddeningly at the same time.
My fear of death. Your invitation to it. If for nothing else then some rest. But you don’t even rest in sleep, do you? Not really. So I’ll be tired in the morning again, like most days. But I will carry on. And maybe today I’ll write and read so much, play outside, laugh so hard, spend all the rays paid up by the sunshine that you will find it impossible not to rest.
We’re a team, Late Night Me. And we have to work together.
Day Time Lori