The pendulum clock chimes five, as I throw away my beddings in frustration. Once again, the night had left me petrified of slumber.
My sleeplessness worries me this time, for it is not due to the usual causes. Quite often the woke hours of the night are due to an extreme in my emotional spectrum – but not today. Today I was stable, balanced, and totally in control. Except for the control of my sleep.
I have always craved balance. In all my endeavours, beliefs, and workings; ‘balance’ is the crucial hinge around which my life moves. It is this tendency to stay in the centre, to stand in the middle has left me often neither here nor there. I did not belong on the left, nor did I accept the right. Up north was too weird, down south was too uncomfortable.
For years I thought that if I did not belong anywhere, it was because there was something wrong with me. Why wouldn’t I see things so obvious to many others? Why were things so clear to me invisible to others? Was it due to some sort of deformity in my brain? Or was I in a very unique closet which shrouded my vision and outlook? Was I too protected to see things as they really are? Am I a convoluted version of Gautama before he became the Buddha?
Preposterous it was – the notion of comparing myself to a mythical god. But something needed to be done – cracks needed to be filled and creases needed to be ironed. The fabric of my being was required to be flawless.
Then the reason for my tense, open eyes then hit me. I realised that the sleeplessness is an act of rebellion of my subconscious, not like a soldier standing up to a tyrant but a teenaged kid standing up to his busy father for not being attentive enough. My feed to my subconscious was often like the questions I posed a while ago, and very recently they had been replaced, curtly enough, by enquiries pertaining to the viability, longevity and legitimation of a journey I had picked in the last six months. The focus invariably shifted from ‘I, me myself’ to ‘us’, and my subconscious felt ignored and betrayed, for it was always the answer provider, and now it had no answers often. It complained of having its stature demoted and value depreciated. It complained to me, about me finding other schools of thought as compared to mine only.
Do you know how difficult it is to manage a subconscious which is having an identity crisis? It isn’t like parenting a particularly rebellious teenager, it is like trying to ‘parent’ your once unquestioned matriarch of the family who now needs help with the same things your child needs but thinks they are too old for that. They were once the doers and the decision makers, who cannot take the reality that time now, once again, asks them questions they do not know the answer to, and trust me, they really do not like not knowing. More so they do not like conceding their lack of knowledge, not because of haught, but because of the still residual need to be seen in control, in power.
My subconscious then is a 90-year-old grandma in the body of an 18-year-old boy. It is a terrifying combination, not only fancy to fixated minds which cannot be moved but also sporting young energy to battle it out with you, word by word. ‘Old brain on young shoulders’ gone very wrong. Naturally then, without any fault of it, it becomes a warehouse of negative notions and vicious paranoia, which stays in until it overflows and ruins a night or two.
You think you are prepared for a gap in your monotone and it goes well for a couple of days until that honeymoon period ends. Then the time of the day that was ‘theirs’ starts looking at you expectantly, and since you have no company, you turn back to the very same grumpy subconscious who was waiting for this chance to create havoc in your mind.
I was wrong, was sleeplessness was due to an emotional high, but today it wasn’t in the aftermath of it, but it was the warning of it. Like the din before a storm and few seconds of eye-to-eye contact before two warriors start their battle to the death, this was a call to locate sleep and escape if I could. Because my subconscious was about to start it’s fear-mongering, self-hatred and sensory overloads – and this time, it had the ammunition since months, and had raised interest on its intentions.
Fear caught me. Fear of loss, of abandonment, of not being fought for and of having to bear it all alone. But hey, haven’t I been here before? I’ve dealt with these fears before, and that’s when I realised that we do not fear a new fear, we’re always scared of an experience happening again. I wasn’t particularly afraid of walking the road alone, I have done it voluntarily many times. I was afraid of being thrown alone on the road, to travel to the ends alone, broken and weak, again.
I twist and turn on my bed as the paranoia grips me.
Self-loathe returns, mocking me about my dependency, once more. But this time, it was more vicious, as it knew the dependency was different. It isn’t a dependency of ‘can not do anything worthwhile without them’, it is a dependency that affects the core of a human. It is the dependency that hits you when you try to sleep after your normal day and you realise that the option to depend on them is suspended. It is the dependency to share the smallest things and to wish them beside you when the monotone wavers, but realising that the option isn’t there. This dependency is the cruellest arrow in the quiver of Cupid, and it pains when you really don’t need anything more to feel.
I sit up and hold my head into my hands.
Suddenly everything annoys me. That one ray of streetlight from the window which would beautify the room every night, now hurt my eyes. The small clicking noise from the fan made me want to throw a pillow at it, the same pillow which was so annoyingly refusing to be in proper shape the whole night. The water I try to gulp is too warm. The t-shirt I am wearing is too hot. Everything is hopeless here.
“ENOUGH,” I say to myself, as I get up. I pace about the room in agony as I notice my work bag, and I realise that my ultimate holy water to the demon of my subconscious was already with me.
I remove her stole from the bag, the stole I stole right before our last meet, and I felt I had I just gotten hold of the golden fleece.
I went to bed, draped the stole around my face and breathed, engulfing myself in her scent. Afraid to drive that scent out of the smooth cloth, I exhaled away from it. And there and then, my sensory overload died, the self-hate was conquered by my love for her, and the fear gave way to assurance. I was calm. Sleep smiled at me now.
She was there.
What do you say to your bratty, senile subconscious?