Tag Archives: insomnia

The 4 AM moths



Wakey, Wakey!

Sleeping has never been difficult for me – more it’s waking up that seems the challenge – but I find that as I get older, waking up at 4 in the morning is becoming a regular thing. I’ve even seen more than a few dawns lately, something I thought I’d left behind. More of a night owl, me.


And then it starts. There’s something about this time of the morning that makes me wander through my entire life, highlighting mistakes I’ve made, things I wish I’d done differently, things that were foolish (and not in a good way). I hold imaginary conversations in my head, rewriting them so I don’t sound a complete fool. I turn decisions around, looking for an option. I tell myself off. I tell others off. I revise my life to not make those mistakes I made, waste the time I’ve wasted, spend the money I’ve spent.

dysfunctiondemotivatorAnd I wonder about myself – how have I messed up so badly as to end up here alone and a mite lonely, with a cat who helps keep me awake by checking up on me as I toss and turn?. Little moths of doubt flutter about the room, batting their wings at me and leaving the dust of my misspent adulthood all over the place. Maybe it IS true that “The only consistent factor in all my dissatisfying relationships is you.”  Or me, in this case.



I think about times when I’ve accepted bad behaviour from friends, where I’ve let my boundaries fall, where I have let myself down. I think about the shoulda dones – the wishes I’d spent more time with friends, less time being busy, the friends I’ve let down or sent away. Then I think about all the things I should have accomplished by now if only I’d applied myself.


I plan desperate new diet and exercise regimes, I contemplate moving to a new place, a place where I haven’t made so many mistakes yet. I writhe at the thought of bad intimacies, poor judgment, improper financing. I vow to attend church more often. I promise to do better, to make something of my life, to be kinder and more thoughtful and just stop being misled. I remind myself that I never make good decisions after two beer.



I can’t help but wonder why, when I wake up, I review all the miseries of my life, instead of the fun stuff. There has been fun – laughs with friends, creative outpourings, more affection than I probably deserve, the opportunity to contribute…



But still the night moths flutter, each one laden with a failure here, an embarrassment there, a poor judgment, a heartbreak.

I’ve always hated moths. Way back when I was small,  I read a story about a boy named 01288582Denny who collected moths and stuck them to the wall of his bedroom with pins. At the end of the story, a giant moth comes to his window and he can hear its wings battering the walls. Then Denny is no more.

The story creeped me right out. I haven’t liked moths ever since and struggle to look at butterflies, though I adore their beauty.

Some terrors acquired early sink deep.

Some acquired late also pester. Usually at 4 AM.



The witching hour

It’s 1:20 AM and I’m WIDE awake.
Perhaps it’s this new drug for my MS which seems to throw odd pockets of energy at me at odd times.
Perhaps it’s the day I’ve had, filled with writing, detective work, psychology, laughter, fun, pizza and foolishness, in approximately that order.

And then, surprisingly, finding a YouTube channel of someone I care for deeply, where he details the changes he is going through. He is both familiar and new, infuriating and inspiring. It was SO good to see him, hear his voice, see his smile, hear his voice deepen over the months to a masculine growl. Testosterone injections will do that to you.
He’d probably hate that I saw his entries, but hey, it’s the interwebs. Once out, always out.
As it were. I’m just so happy to see him, hungry for the sight of him.

In the midst of this I wavered in doubt about my writing projects, and my good friends were there to support me. I wrote a short short entry that may well lead to a story later. I organized and tidied and paid my bills and picked up my fantastic purple office chair, made of wood, comfy as anything, strong enough to survive me and go into the purple and unknown future, to someone who will appreciate its curves.

It was one of those days when you are aware you are storing up writing karma for later – thoughts percolating just under the surface, prickles of nascent ideas (use nascent in a sentence, children) tickling the synapses behind my eyes. I love these days. Every laugh, every moment, stirred something, made me think of places I could go with my head.

I am beginning to wonder if mysteries are really what I want to write. Literary fiction and poetry call more strongly to me and even my mysteries give away the bad guy at the beginning. Maybe a rethink is in order…

Before I shut down my computer, I listened to Ellen Degeneres’ convocation speech at TulaneEllen Degeneres
It was witty and wise, made the president burst out laughing several times, and ended with Ellen’s famous advice: Just Dance.

And so I shall. But perhaps not just now. I do have people living downstairs…


It’s a rare thing for me. Sleep and I spend a lot of time together, usually. We enjoy each other’s company.

I’m awake because my body is telling me it is alternately in the tropics and then in the freezer. I shiver, pull the covers over, sweat, shiver, sweat.

It is, of course, my fault. Today at breakfast I bragged about how menopause had seemingly passed me by without too much trouble. I denied hot flashes, talked about how I have only had one, and how my hormones seem to be taking it easy on me. I actually commented about how it was important to just ignore it and move on.

Once again, hubris, and the subsequent punishment. I could just scream at how quickly the gods note when I feel even vaguely superior to anything and then pound me into the dust.

Anyone would think they were trying to teach me a lesson.

It’s like when I used to go roller skating. I would finally get my sea legs in the large roller skating rinks I actually grew up with (yes, I am that old – the skates even had FOUR WHEELS! EACH!!). I’d stagger around the rink, limping for time after time, trying to control my uncoordinated body, and then I’d get it. My body would cooperate, and I’d have five glorious seconds of sailing along, graceful at last. I’d just start to think about how beautiful I must look. Poetry in motion, I’d think. Just before I smashed into THE MOST DESIRABLE boy in the 8th grade, knocking him into the prettiest girl and both of them and me into the boards.

Even the mirror ball and pounding music couldn’t save me.

Biking, the same. Finally got to the point where I could bike with grace and charm, but if I ever let that thought enter my head, I could guarantee I’d hit a rock, shuffle sideways, fling myself onto the ground.

It’s not like I am a proud person. I wouldn’t say I was exactly humble, and maybe that’s what gets the gods annoyed, but, goshdarnit – can’t I maintain some modicum of self-respect?

Apparently not. So here I sit, at 4 AM, researching why my parrotlet has suddenly taken to pulling out her chest feathers (hormones could be to blame there, too), and alternately wrapping and unwrapping myself while I listen to international news about disasters happening everywhere.

Again with the lessons. Even at this hour I am reminded that my little problems are so small given what others are coping with. I give up. I’m off to bed, having found some yummy bird food recipes, and isolated why she may be freaking out. But only “may”. Gods forbid I might feel competent!

All I can say is it’s a darn good thing those gods aren’t hanging about nearby. Because there’s one aspect of this menopause thing I have down pat. I can mood swing wilder than anyone I’ve met.  It’s like my body is pushing me on the swings. Poetry in motion. Really.