It's 5:30 am, Christmas Day, I've awoken for what feels like the thosandth night in a row, at just before 4 am. A noise, a creak, the wind I'm sure, the heat coming on, then cycling off again. And the strange, uneasy sense that someone is 'here'. I switch on the light, put on my glasses, get water, settle back in, read. I'm very tired.
Read a book about a football player turned heroin/crack addict. Then, in between, I continued reading "Truth and Beauty" by Ann Patchett, a recent purchase. It's a memoir of a friendship, and I have the sense that I have read it before, probably many years ago, but it still reads like a new book for me. The friendship she writes of is with a fellow writer, Lucy Grealy, author of "Autobiography of a Face" which I read, loved, and once owned, and will re-purchase to add back to my collection (I lent it out, never saw it again. It featured a most disturbing, unfortunate cover, of a small girl holding a black piece of plastic in front of her face, but it belied the smashing impact of the words contained within the book. Coiled, quiet, but devestating--a memoir of cancer, yes, but also of that very rarely explored topic: childhood depression, the depression spawned by years of treatments, surgeries, and long boring hospital stays, and I instantly identified with her situation, on account of my own, long, medical history, already fully formed by the time I was around fourteen).
Anyway, it's Christmas Day, I'm not hungover, but I'm awake way too early. I'm in pajamas, drinking tea, and I don't have to be at work for a long while. I almost feel like it's not just 'time-off-get-married-go-on-honeymoon-time' but recovery time. Me-time. Mike-time. Sleep, read, run, rest time. Time ot take stock, free of a commute and a job with a stress level that never seems to abate.
Christmas Eve was nice, my mom was upset, marginally, my sister and I seem to say the wrong things. She's raw, I get that, but I can't stop, sometimes, how things play out. We're all just releasing right now. Realizing. That today, with all of the Christmas hopefulness we're supposed to feel, is a bit of a sham.
Anyway, I'm rambling, can you see how tired I am?
The most interesting thing to note of my early morning wake ups of the recent weeks is the absence of my heart pounding and my mind racing. Sometimes I manage to go back to sleep with minimal effort. Other times I do what I'm doing right now--read, write, tire myself back out, and drift off.
When I look back on the upside-down-ness of 2011, books and writing will remain the wondrous 'cure all' to me. I've read so many books this year, all of them timely gifts, all of them thought-provoking, stimulating me to think about something other than catastrophe. It seems to be key to unlocking my anxiety, to freeing me from feeling that weight all the time.
That, and running to help me want to sleep, to help me stay asleep.
Signing off....merry (sleepy) Christmas.