Friday, May 20, 2011

Pre-Dawn Thoughts

I'm not going to lie, waking up at 3:30 AM isn't fun.  Waking up because you're shaking with panic and can't get back to sleep, no matter how hard you try, no matter how soothingly your bed-mate talks to you, and no matter how high a (safe) dosage of anti-anxiety medication you take really, really sucks. 

On the other hand, sitting here on the couch, watching the room slowly fill with soft, gray light (no real sunshine this morning, unfortunately), listening to music through my headphones, wrapped in a fleecy blanket, and browsing the internet with no intention is kind of...nice.  I am glad for Alix and Rupert that they are peacefully asleep.  I don't resent my solitude, in spite of the loneliness that inevitably hovers in my subconscious like a pesky cough that never seems to quite leave your lungs.  My loneliness and I have made a kind of peace with each other.  I accept that it's here to stay, for an indefinite period of time, and that I am given occasional respite from its persistent presence through the love and support of family and friends.  My loneliness, in turn, has learned to back off a bit when I am surrounded by this love and waits semi-patiently in the background until it again seizes free reign over my mind.  So yes, am I lonely out here on the couch by myself, tired but not sleepy, dreading the day ahead?  Of course.  But I'm also enjoying the rising sun, the fleecy blanket, and the warm computer on my lap. 

I'm also enjoying the thought of my friends and family in different places and what they're doing with their time right now.  My dear mother has been up since at least 5 AM and is enjoying her morning coffee at the kitchen table with my father in their pajamas.  She will shower soon and get dressed for work, driving an hour through the countryside, listening to NPR and idly thinking of her many children and the newest renovations on the house she and my dad are working on.  I might not know time differences for shit, but I imagine a college friend, of Latitude 43, waking up to the crisp, cool air in her Chilean home and shivering a bit while building a fire in the gray foggy morning light that New York is also seeing this morning.  I imagine a newish but so-close-I-swear-we're-twins friend, of The (Online) Nanny Diaries solidly asleep in her cheery yellow room, buried under her blue covers, getting ready to wake up to a full day of work and the chance to love on her six-week-old nannyboy.  I imagine my friend in Brazil on a Fulbright sleeping under barely a sheet, with the warm breeze blowing through an open window (truth be told, I don't have a clue what the weather is like in Brazil these days, but I'd like to imagine someone in paradise right now), getting ready for her day of research and adventuring in a new country that is beginning to feel like home to her.  I wonder, do they ever think of me?  Do they think of me catching a nasty cold from my nannykids, or waking up at 3:30 AM, or getting my morning coffee around the corner and enjoying the first delicious sip? Do they know how much my heart aches for their physical presence, for their hugs and kind words, and their simple proximity to myself?

I'd like to imagine they do.  It might be selfish to pine for these things, but when loneliness and anxiety are always waiting impatiently for the chance to flood their way into my mind, I think pining for love is justified.  Lord knows I'm lucky to have as much coming my way as I do.  But right now, sitting alone on the couch, I'm trying hard to remember what it feels like to feel warm arms around me and kind words whispered in my ear.  In the meantime, I'll relish my blanket, my music, and my loneliness solitude.


The Nanny said...

Honey, you know I'm thinking about you damn near every second of the day right now.

Love you so big.

Lauren said...

While it's heart wrenching to read what you're going through, this post is really truly beautiful. It has helped me pause and reflect for a moment on an otherwise run of the mill morning at the office. So thank you for the that and I do hope the loneliness and anxiety take a step back soon.

Dori said...

I hope these days, the loneliness, the waking-up-to-panic are few and far between for you! But also rest assured that a dosage of solitude (if in the right mindset) can do you a world of good, as well. I can't say I know exactly what's going on in your life or why you woke up panicked, but I do know that I've found a pretty healthy (I think) balance of friends, family, and solitude in my new life here - and I have to say that sometimes the moments solitude, while lonely at some points, keep me fueled and grounded and ready for whatever comes at me.

I'm sorry to hear about your panicked wake up so early in the morning. I do hope everything is ok! You're in my thoughts.

Margaret said...

Loneliness versus solitude, that is also my question! But yuck, midnight panic attack sounds awful. I woke up to snow this morning-- it didn't quite reach us here, but came most of the way down the surrounding mountains. Oh my. And by the way, since mother's day, we are in the same time zone! (Chile = US east coast), until we change back in october or somewhere in there. I hope your day got better!

Cait said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. Coming to peace with loneliness and solitude is a work in progress for me. Getting through this rough patch of life is definitely teaching me some valuable lessons about how to do that.