3am.

For the past year or so, I've been waking up in the middle of the night. I'm using the term "night" loosely here, as it's usually around 3 in the morning. It usually starts when I get up to get a glass of water. 

I don't want to wake up all the way, so I do this thing where I half-close my eyes. I carefully get out of bed, eyes almost closed, and fumble for my water glass, then the door, then the doorway, then the sink. I fill up my water, still half in dream-land, eyes nice and heavy, and fall back into bed. I close my eyes and snuggle back under the covers.

It's about now when I start thinking about death.

Or, some conversation I had with someone a year ago where I may have said the wrong thing. "Oh, stop it, that's in the past," my Higher, Cooler Self says. "Let's not focus on the past. Let's focus on the present." So my thoughts come to the present, and stop for a moment. The thoughts look around and say "Huh. Not much happening here" and then swing into the future like Spiderman. THWACK, they land right on death. I can't imagine just NOT EXISTING. That doesn't make sense. What will it feel like? Will I even know? Then to the past - my friend's death, my mom's, everybody's. Oh no, everyone is going to die. That's worse than me dying, even. 

Then I think about the present, which, at this time of night, includes tomorrow, and all the things I need to get done. Because that's more present-ish. It's closer than, you know, that other thing I was just thinking of. There's a bill I need to pay, RIGHT NOW (that's in the present), only I can't because it's 3-f*cking AM. And there's a friend who I haven't spoken to in ages - is she mad at me? - whom I should call RIGHT NOW (still in the present!) but of course, she's not up. 

At this point, I go into the living room, and sit and stare at the wall. Actually, I stare at my mom's painting. It's this beautiful painting of a sun, and it calms me down. I listen to the occasional buses running up and down the street by the park, the sound of a car or two passing, and my cat, who's on my lap purring. And all is usually well again. Sometimes I write, too, but mostly I sit and listen. And it's really helped. I know, it's not what I'm "supposed" to do, but it works for me. 

I wrote a song about this, it's called, un-ironically, 3am. You can listen to it here if you're, say, up at a certain time and freaking yourself out. 

And here is an illustration of some 3am moments...

2 comments

  • Joe

    Joe At computer

    We've all had those 3AM moments, yours are more vivid, cogent. If a picture is worth a thousand words what is a word picture worth? A word picture set to music? Illustrated?

    We've all had those 3AM moments, yours are more vivid, cogent. If a picture is worth a thousand words what is a word picture worth? A word picture set to music? Illustrated?

  • Robin

    Robin

    Thank you so much! It is fun to think about expressing these experiences using words, music, images, all together at once. Working on it. :-)

    Thank you so much! It is fun to think about expressing these experiences using words, music, images, all together at once. Working on it. :-)

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