Friday, May 10, 2013

Can I buy a Z?

“Winston was gelatinous with fatigue.”

                                                                                             -- George Orwell, 1984

Polymer clay face 5-10-13

“You cannot imagine the craving for rest that I feel—a hunger and thirst.”

                                                                                     --H. G. Wells, When the Sleeper Wakes

Soooooo tired.

After an all-too-short sort-of hiatus, my insomnia has stalked me down again, with a vengeance.
Just when I thought I was making some miniscule headway, crawling out of the dark and tangled forest a sleep-drug-free inch at a time, insomnia reached out and snatched me back into its spiky, spiny briars.
And not just the "it takes a long time to fall asleep" kind of insomnia. Oh no. It's the "wide awake all f***ing night, a 42 mile bike ride, two Ambiens, two Unisoms, a fistful of melatonin and valerian, white noise machine, sleep hypnosis CD, all the chamomile tea in the world can't touch it" kind of insomnia.

Forget about catching Zs. I can't even buy any Bs or Cs.
Go big or go home, right?

I frequently, seriously and hopelessly wonder if it will ever get better, or if the rest of my life is going to be this -- this search, this struggle, this quest for something that is supposed to just naturally happen, that is one of the most basic functions of being human. Or maybe it's not so much as a "quest for" what should be happening, as it is a wish to "escape from" what actually is happening, this mean and terrible thing.

Either way, it's a tug and pull that is grinding me down, hard. A lifetime of it looks pretty bleak.

Not sleeping can crush a whole day -- just pulverize any possibilities and potential into a dry pulpy dust.
So as a result, I don't make plans.
I don't look ahead.
I don't commit to anything.
I don't "hope for."
I don't make promises.
I don't go anywhere.
I have no great expectations.
I have no not-so-great expectations.

Because chances are I won't be able to show up or follow through anyway. And I hate having to back out of things and cancel stuff all the damn time. An uninterrupted string of empty blank squares on my calendar is soothing, a comfort. If I don't make plans, then I don't have to worry about letting anybody down, because nobody is expecting anything from me. It's easier to just say no, and to isolate myself, like I'm under quarantine. At least behind the self-protective closed door of my life I'm the only sufferer.

And behind the closed door, I have this 365 days project. And I will not let insomnia ruin this. Because right now, this seems to be the one thing that I can plan on, look forward to, commit to, hope for and expect. It's someplace I can go. It's the only promise I seem to be able to keep. So I will cling to it.

I tried to shoot a self portrait today, but for the first time all year I just deleted every photo, every file.
I looked ninety eight.
And not a good ninety eight.
I haven't played with my clay in a while, so I sculpted this exhausted little face as a stand-in for my own.
My fingerprints are all over him, though. So I guess it is a self portrait of sorts.

Or more accurately, a self portrait out-of-sorts.