Originally published April 2018
“What keeps you up at night?”
Every month, my blogging community posits a singular question for writers to use as a prompt — in this case, the bogeyman that wrestles us from our slumber. I read the prompt and my first thought was, “Are you kidding? What doesn’t keep me awake? Where do I start?” Here’s a truncated, but very real list:
- Oh my God. Trump is still president.
- I swallowed an air bubble. Shit. Am I going to die from an embolism? (Note: The night this happened, I actually got up at 1 a.m. and kissed all my kids goodbye.)
- Did I lock the front door?
- What are my college-aged boys doing?
- I can’t believe I missed that XXX and XXX are XXX in “The Woman in the Window.”
- How does Scott Pruitt sleep at night when I can’t?
- What is my husband thinking about? Maybe I should ask him. I’m sure he won’t mind.
- The dog didn’t poop when we went out. I know he’s going to wake me up. Or not, if I don’t fall asleep.
- What if I have thyroid cancer? (I didn’t. But then I lost sleep pondering how much wait I would gain after thyroid surgery and how I would never be able to eat bread again. And then I ate bread.)
- I can never go to Seattle ever again now that I know the West Coast is overdue for an earthquake/tsunami.
- This house needs so much work. (Mental list-making and adding up of potential expenses ensues. Wondering how much blood I would have to sell to cover costs.)
- Can indigestion be fatal if you lay down?
- Is the fridge going to keep leaking? I should go put the beach towels on the floor around it.
- I should have read my book tonight. I’m never going to finish it. I blog about books. I should be reading. I’m awake. But I’m lazy. (Next level self-loathing engaged.)
- How many people saw me with my skirt caught in my tights before I dislodged it?
- Where did I put my daughter’s birth certificate? Damnit, did I misplace it?
- Maybe I can dress the part, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to figure out I’m a fraud. (Insert work role/mom role here.)
- What the hell is wrong with me? I’m trying to avoid sugar. But no, I had to have that chocolate cake shake. (Master level self-loathing unlocked.)
- What if North Korea bombs us?
- Why do those motherf*ckers keep letting their dogs run loose in the park? THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO KEEP THE LEASH ON. ON!!! Do they think rules are optional?
- Should I cut my hair?
- I didn’t properly introduce myself to XXX at the conference. Now he thinks I’m that weird chick in the hotel gym that was staring at him. That’s just great.
- My toe is throbbing. I must have gout. Is it gout?
- I have three books to read before the weekend. Which order should I read them in?
- What the f*ck?!?!? Why is Teddy in the lake?!?!?!?!
The point being, I spend a lot of time at night awake. Not so much that I am hopelessly ineffective the next day, but enough that
I should be journaling more. Writing, even in the middle of the night, often helps to shine a light on the silliness of a particular worry, or a path to resolution for the honest-to-God real problems.
Cheers to everyone else that turns the light on and grabs a pen at 2 a.m. I’m right there with you.