I am tucked away comfortably under my blankets as the hour nears midnight. Out of habit, I have the lights off in the room and my phone screen is set to the lowest brightness. That’s probably not good for my eyes but I still do it anyway.
Outside my room, I hear the going-ons in other parts of the house. The front door has just been opened downstairs. My brother is home after a long day. For a moment I wish I could block out the noise. My heart pounds in sync with the sound of his footsteps as he comes upstairs. I assure myself that I won’t be disturbed. I am not, although part of me feels guilty for the deception. Having my room lights off and my door closed gives others the impression I have already gone to sleep, however, I do this on some nights to give myself the privacy of being awake for a little while longer and not wanting other people in the house to know I’m still up.
Paranoid much? Yeah, that’s me. Mostly I don’t want to be asked the following morning about how late I stayed up and when I went to bed. These are questions my father asks me, not out of strictness but just in casual conversation. It’s not an interrogation, yet I get paranoid about what kind of conclusions he may draw if he knew I didn’t go to sleep right away. He and my mom have definitely known about my past bouts of insomnia, although I never explained to them the reasons behind the issue. I wouldn’t know how to begin such a conversation. Maybe I owed them an explanation then since I was still just a teenager at the time, but I’m an “adult” now (twenty-seven-years old) and I feel like I should be able to deal with my own shit instead of burdening them.
Am I a night owl? I don’t know. It’s probably not in my nature to be one since my body seems to always know to start feeling drowsy and sleepy around this time. Whether I actually fall asleep is another matter entirely, depending on if my anxiety acts up and I’m stuck laying in bed thinking about something (or many things) I am unable to put to rest in my mind. I do think I have improved on this somewhat, albeit not 100%.
It’s comforting to listen to the hum of cars and even the occasional roar of a motorcycle passing by outside while it’s absolutely still in the quiet of my room. Traffic is not heavy in my neighborhood this late at night. Even so, I am not bothered by the sounds (except for the dreaded car alarm) and can fall asleep once I’ve put in my ear plugs. It’s interesting to think about how, for me, my night is coming to a close as bedtime rolls by, but for other people, their night is just beginning.