Sleep couldn’t find me last night.
10 PM: Tired from work, an immediate post-work run with the dog, beer on an empty stomach and multitasking catching up reality TV with catching up on literary journals. Go to bed.
11 PM: Eyes shut but won’t stop moving. I stare at a Netflix stream of some ABC family drama about foster children and feel my dog move to the floor in a complete surrender of hope for a peaceful evening.
12 AM: I notice it’s the next day. I obsess over work, going back today, being really great at it. I nearly dress over twelve hours early for the occasion, desperately excited, hopelessly eager. I make tea. I spill tea. The mind sighs.
1 AM: I’m still watching this family drama, wondering why conflicts regarding marijuana are still considered “dramatic” conflicts and nodding my head in time with the happiness of the gay teenager in the series who has finally found a boyfriend and is finally ok with himself despite incessant peer pressure to do drugs. I think about boyfriends. If you’re a man in my life who isn’t family, we dated in my mind last night. We married. You were an ok person. Thanks.
2 AM: Not “starving” because that’s a really dramatic way of saying “regrettably hungry”. I eat bell peppers until my stomach stirs and then, in an effort to control the stirring, I eat pasta because one time my mother told me that starch cures a stirring stomach by “sucking it all together” and I still believe her.
3 AM: Nothing is sucked together. I wonder about whisky. I burn sage.
4 AM: I get up (for the millionth time), the dog’s eyes follow me in a painful “fuck you” of a stare, I open the window, I return to the bed, I sit up and watch the outside. Maybe when the sun comes up it will burn my eyes shut and then I will be forced to sleep.
5 AM: My alarm goes off. I’m too tired to get up and meditate, stretch, run with the dog. I say to the phone “just five more minutes” as if I’ve been sleeping. I fall asleep.
8:30 AM: I wake up. I’ve missed my opportunity to run with my dog. I make coffee because what other drug is as acceptable as the domestic amphetamine Caffeine. I foam milk in a hand foamer and try my best to create latte art but the milk is too foamy or the coffee is too cold or I just suck at everything. My dog lies on the floor and stares at me.
This is morning. Last night was morning. The day before was morning. There have never been nights.
I will tell you what a night is:
A night features an enchanted darkness, one that sucks you in and then sings to you, one that holds activity enough to tire you out and warrant a Goodbye I Will See You Later, a darkness that invites wolves and owls and men, night is subtle, night is sleepy, night is what beckons the dew, the new and the eager.
Night is not for thinking.
When I was a child, less than ten years old, I thought I controlled my dreams. It’s possible I did. I would close my eyes and see channels. Actually, it looked a lot like Netflix (obvious prodigy). I would select the type of viewing I desired and then it would just happen. I would enjoy sleep. I would enjoy letting go of my thoughts.
A little older than that, I would usher dreams into my head. From beneath my pillow, they would line up, little icons and I would move them around the cue and let them into my head, swipe them into my brain. I know I was older at this point because I distinctly remember imagining two people making out and being eager to let the iconic Romantic Couple jump to the start of the line. Night was time to create. Create dreams.
It never occurred to me that I should feel bad for obsessing over whatever images appeared to me that evening. When I was little it was often candy and then it grew to be more sexual, more inventive, sometimes I would dream of transformations. As I aged, generally, I remember just wanting to know more about the things I heard because I heard about them and they wouldn’t leave my head. I wanted very little other than to just know more. When I couldn’t know more, I invented more in my dreams. I didn’t feel bad for my indulgence in fiction.
Now, I obsess over boyfriends or my job and I feel like a desperate cow with pathetic goals who even the dog rolls his eyes at etc etc etc etc.
Thoughts are very important. But not really.
Last night I let myself feel desperate but, really, all my mind wanted to do was invent. For some reason, something in me, couldn’t stop inventing. Instead of using the energy to create, I just lay around and wished I was better at…What? I just lay and fantastically denigrated myself. I didn’t let the night in. Had I let the night in, I would have known: There is no one around and anything can happen. This is not time to worry about work and men and family, this is time to be alone, in the dark, with whatever magic can be found, return, return to being eight years old and fascinating yourself with movies, mind-projections of whatever you please because this is night, this is not the morning where we have to embrace people and be right for people and give to people, this is night.
I used to insist that I was a morning writer. I also used to write more, all the time, compulsively because I was in writing school or in university (which is basically writing school) and that’s what I did. Now life is rounded out with obligation and writing just happens when it can. There is no such thing as morning writing anymore. Mornings are for obligation. If we never let them end, we sink into the desperate hope that we will fulfill those obligations with the grace of a lifetime’s worth of experiential wisdom but it’s impossible, work will never be perfect and love will never be perfect so leave it for the daytime. At night: Just be alone.
When I initially wrote the role of Kara, she was engaged to be married. She later became married, somehow, without a wedding because of course that would be documented, but I just changed the vernacular of her life from “engaged woman” to “wife”. Problematically, I couldn’t picture who her husband would be. I do know she would want to be a wife but I couldn’t accept that she would be focused enough on one person for long enough to get engaged. Of course though, she is the type to find a shallow person who will stick with her forever regardless of how little they know or love each other, they will exist in shallow social circles and maybe he’s a plastic surgeon who reinvents her face when she is forty for no real reason or maybe she has two children and they go to private school and do cocaine at age twelve or maybe, I don’t know, maybe anything kind of gross, or really gross but hardly emotionally committed. Maybe she has a guy like That, a life like That. I hope she’s smarter than superficialiaty. Though, she is someone who makes existence look easy. So, she is probably someone who makes marriage look easy.
Alright. I can picture her husband now. I, personally, hate him. But, he has good hair and he shows up sometimes. Kara sleeps at night. Beside him. Free from anxious hope. Free, just generally, free. It’s that narcissistic freedom. But then, maybe it’s just freedom and I shouldn’t judge.
I really hope to be a wife. One day. To who? I have no idea. I constantly wonder if anyone’s fascination in me can turn to love but, I guess we’ll see. The fact that I hope for years of relationship growth with a fictional man literally overnight is a little sad to me and maybe too easily the product of fairy tale overload. But, truthfully, I don’t remember ever being a Fairy Tale obsessed little girl. I remember writing my own stories.
My very first story I ever wrote was about a man who was made of vegetables and I think he either ate himself or rotted to death. I was maybe ten when I wrote that. My stories have hardly changed in content. None of them are fairy tales.
When I lay at night, I do dream of fairy tale like things. Sometimes I have nightmares, fears, globally and personally but those are often remedied by open-eyed fantasies about a woman, a Kara, I wish I was.
You’ve all read I’ve been on dating apps. You’ve all read I’ve suffered recent heart break. You’ve all read about everything. Did you know that my first kiss came when I was eighteen? He was a trucker. A young trucker. In Syracuse, New York. We kissed on the back steps of a frat house while it snowed. I then took one step and fell down the stairs.
Nothing in my life is a fairy tale. Last night was consumed by the commercialized hope for goodness. It could have been art. I could have sat up, taken a pen and written anything, crafted anything from that hope, from that fear-based hope, taken the night with me to the morning so that the appearance of sun and people wouldn’t be so exhausting. Tonight that’s what I’ll do. I am almost doing it now but daytime rushes me through to the next task.
I am ever grateful that people read these articles. If you’re like me and you’re awake at night, you should find me and send me a message. We can fill the night with each other, make the night-fowl jealous and spin our hopes into a realistic conversation about nothingness and the agony of bedtime.
If you aren’t awake at night, if you’re asleep, curating your dreams then, you’re probably married (or whatever metaphor that might spin into with regards to your personal life). Well done.
Some of us hope but hope is empty. Hope takes Ego. I wish I was (blank blank blank). Who I was, who I am, irrelevant. The possibilities are only congratulated when the mind is accepted, the body invigorated and the right to invent deemed Ok.
Salutations to the things I hope for. Thank you for allowing fear to hide. But then, night is what fear is meant for. If in sleep, then in sleep but, if sleep is provocatively out of reach, something other than Ego needs satisfying. Something other than I. Let the narcissists sleep. Let the egoless invent. Freedom, either way, shouldn’t feel like broken bell peppers and judgemental puppies. Shouldn’t it feel more like bliss?
New mission: For Bliss. Perhaps through the expulsion of fairy tales.
And when my eyes stay closed, I know I’ve found it.
This blog is updated daily, detailing my transformation into a fictional character who is being crafted for a larger theatrical project. If you like it, please share to social media, follow the blog and come back soon
You can read Kara’s blog at http://www.okkarablog.wordpress.com
or follow her on Instagram @karakarrara