2:26 am… most of you don’t even recognize when your clocks check into this time because you’re off snoring those ZZZ’s. However this increment of time and I have become infamous friends over the decades. I am completely infatuated with the ambient silence the moon and star studded black skies morph into as the sun falls into a slumber. Sleep and I are the best frienemies in town. The insanity began at the young age of 11. Strange worlds where strange creatures resided flooded my over active imagination. These unexpected nightmares led to sleepless nights where I played Night Guard of my room. Any sound presenting itself caused me to check under the bed and in the closet to make sure all was clear. Night in and night out surveying the usual suspects. Steel eyelids that could no longer keep themselves open was the only way sleep could be induced. Picture it… nightmares that were like mash-ups of Alfred Hitchcock films meets Tim Burton films with a dash of the Goosebumps series and a pinch of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Yeah, straight outta crazyville. 😉 The strange thing was that as much as these freak shows scared me, at the same time they fascinated my young mind. I had always been drawn to the darkness in this lit up world.
“I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed. Get along with the voices inside of my head. You’re tryin’ to save me, stop holdin’ your breath. You think I’m crazy, yeah you think I’m crazy, well that’s nothin’…”. -Eminem
Sometimes I wonder if I created my insomniac world due to my love for horror movies and the more twisted stories. For example, in the 4th grade we were assigned book reports every couple of months. Our class would take a trip to the library and check out whatever book our report was going to be on. While most kids were choosing books like The Babysitter’s Club or The Boxcar Children, I was checking out The Dollhouse Murders and Goosebumps. Shit, while most kids were watching Disney movies, I was watching The Gremlins and Silence of the Lambs. Not to say that I didn’t watch Disney movies because I did, I still do. I was a Nickelodeon kid and loved my Saturday morning cartoons. I just happened to have a love for the creepy stuff too.
To be honest, I was probably way too young to be a fan of poets like Edgar Allen Poe or movies from Director Wes Craven. Now please don’t think that my parents didn’t pay attention or monitor what I read or watched. Trust me, they did, but they also were the kind of parents that didn’t stifle what I found intriguing or had a passion for. Look, my mom will tell you that when I was the age of two she knew that she had an intelligent kid and would have her hands full. So she was never really surprised with anything when it came to me. She’d give me that “chica, you’re crazy” look, but she’s never stomped on my intrigue.
As I grew older, the nightmares grew more realistic and more intense. Sleep was no longer an option and the insomnia now became cemented in. Hot teas that were supposed to help one sleep were sipped, listening to soothing sounds to relax the mind were listened to, but nothing worked. I tried everything under the moon, well except pills. I once had a horrible cold so I took some Nyquil to knock me out. Well I ended up having a nightmare, but I couldn’t wake from it. The Nyquil definitely did its job crashing me out. The unfinished ending to that psycho dream played over and over again, like a broken record. After the fifth time the masked man stabbed me I finally woke in a breathless panic. My heart beating so hard that I swear I thought it was ready to pop out of my chest. That was the last time I took any type of cold medicine. An experience I’ll never forget.
Over the years I have become immune to the lacking of slumber and have even found certain triggers that aid in calming down my overly awake brain (it turns out that it wasn’t just those crazy dreams of mine keeping me from getting those zzz’s, it’s also due to the fact that the “awake” receptors in my brain are too active which doesn’t allow the sleep part to turn on. So basically my brain won’t shut up 😉 )
Oddly enough, caffeine has an opposite effect with me. It doesn’t energize my brain like it does for most. It actually calms down the upstairs chaos allowing me to focus better at whatever task I’m working on. So some nights I’ll sip on a latte while watching my favorite movies on Netflix (Netflix and Caffeine) then I’ll read for or while or write and finish the night with music flowing through my headphones as I catch a few broken hours of sleep.
2:26 am is a beautiful time of the night or morning, depending on your perspective. So sweet dreams to all you dreamers out there and happy creating to all of you insomniac nightmare driven night owls. Dream On!!
“Hello there, the angel from my nightmare, the shadow in the background of the morgue. The unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley. We can live like Jack and Sally if we want. Were you can always find me and we’ll have Halloween on Christmas. And in the night we’ll wish this never ends…” – Blink 182