Limbo

There is something special about the time between 12 and 4am. It’s like the world stands still, and everything is in limbo. I get my best work done during this time, I don’t know what it is about limbo, but it crystallizes my thoughts, and gives me a different perspective on life. Since the ‘Rona struck, I’ve been staying in my house and trying to ignore the constant suffering that seems to have bled into every aspect of life in 2020. At first, I thought that I would adapt, and thrive, but that isn’t the case anymore.

In order to keep from losing my mind even more, I’ve started looking for ways to get out of my head, which for the front half of the year meant mixing bourbon with more bourbon, and writing whatever came to mind. This worked for awhile, but like all things, the usefulness faded over time until I looked at that fucking blinking pixel I hate so much, and had nothing to say. As the weather got warmer, and my insomnia got worse, I needed to find ways to tire myself out. This is where I discovered limbo. It all started one night when I was having one of those days that turn into one of those nights, that turn into that delightful feeling where you stare at the clock at 3am and count down the hours, minutes, and seconds before you have to wake up and be a person again. Obviously, my ” Go to Sleep” cocktail of 20mg of melatonin, a 100mg edible, 6oz of Eagle Rare, and a Zzzquil wasn’t working. At around 3:30, I had an idea: get up and go for a jog. Now, since it was the dead of night, and I’m a degenerate, I figured it’d be fun to roll a joint for my jog, so I did, and after a half-mile and a gram, my eyes started to feel the much-needed embrace of sleep.

This went on for a few days in a row, until I realized that while I was trying to beat my brain into submission, some interesting things came out. First and foremost, I had to make a playlist that encapsulates how I felt, because life is so much better with a soundtrack. After making a 4-hour long “‘Rona Radio” playlist, I started thinking about why people are afraid of the dark. I think it’s because they are afraid of what’s out there, and as I walked around my safe upper-middle class neighborhood, I started thinking about how many people are ruled by the fear of the unknown. I know I definitely am, but the more I walk around at night, surrounded by bears and coyotes and God knows what else, I started to become less afraid. After a few more weeks of nightly walks, I became more comfortable walking around at night than during the day.

As quarantine continued, I started to look forward to these night walks, they were a stable, crystallizing moment of my day where I could think clearly for a change. I think there is something beautiful about night time: it’s incredibly peaceful to be able to walk around by myself and not be bothered by anyone, to have complete silence in a world where everything is so loud all the time.

I’ve been thinking about why this time is so special to me, and I think I can finally put it into words: this is where time stands still. Since most people are asleep, it seems like time freezes, which gives me time to stop and think. I need that now more than ever, and since I’ve had crazy bad sleep problems for a long time, I’m already up, so it fits together very nicely.

Safety Blankets

The world is a terrible, cold, unfeeling place. The only thing that makes me feel better are the “safety blankets” that I’ve developed over the years; those things that make me feel comfortable and safe.

Right now, music, whiskey, reefer, and bad T.V are my safety blankets. If I have the right dosage of all 4 of those things, I’ll be alright, and that’s so important to me.

I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ll either go to sleep at 11pm and wake up at 12pm, or I’ll be up until 3 or 4am, and wake up at 3 or 4pm. I’ve been trying to fall asleep sober, but it just doesn’t work. How does anyone sleep sober? It’s fucking impossible. I’ve tried everything I can think of; tea before bed, turning off all my devices and reading before bed, listening to jazz, going to bed early (this one’s the worst fucking piece of advice I’ve gotten so far), I’ve taken melatonin, Zzzquil, Ambien, you name it, I’ve probably tried it.

Wouldn’t you know it, whiskey and weed put you to sleep like nothing else. As I’m writing this, I’ve got a glass of Evan Williams and an edible in my system, so I’m hopefully going to get some sleep tonight. I’ve cut back on my usage though, because it got out of hand for awhile, and every once in awhile I still overdo it, but for the most part I’ve gotten a grip. Reefer is like a sleep cheat-code: no matter what time it is, a few hits off a joint, or a couple bong hits and I’ll be able to drift off into that sweet, sweet restful abyss. I hope there isn’t ever a time when it stops working, I’d be really screwed.

I don’t only need my safety blanket to sleep, I need it to talk to people too. I don’t like it, but I’ve gotten so awkward and anxious around people, so it’s in both our best interests that I have a couple drinks in me. Neither of us is going to enjoy the interaction if I’m sober. I used to be good with people. I used to be the guy my friends would send to talk to people because they couldn’t. I don’t know what happened to me. Maybe it was working at Dunks and dealing with the worst of humanity all day. Maybe it’s because I was always awkward, but had enough self-confidence to muscle through the awkward. Who knows.

Music is the safety blanket that is least harmful to me. I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the music I listen to, it’s kept me going in the times I’ve been drowning and can’t see the good in anything. Music is one of the few things that actually makes me feel things, which is super uncomfortable because it makes me think I’m dead inside. If I’m ever having one of those days, I have a playlist that’s specifically meant to break me out of it with all of the songs that make me smile and laugh. Music is the biggest help, it’s one of the few things that makes me happy when I’m sober, and that is so important to me. If I can figure out which album I’m in the mood for, I can determine how I’m feeling and begin to process that emotion. Everyone has their coping mechanisms, I’ve spent the last few years developing ones that won’t kill me, so I guess that’s progress.