Thursday, October 25, 2012

148. Unlearning

It’s so hard to unlearn bad habits.  Even when you think you’ve long since gotten over something, it’s so easy to slip right back into it. 

Growing up with my mom was a difficult thing… for many reasons.  Her and I are just incredibly different people.  One of the most surreal seasons of my life was the summer I spent living with my dad and realized how alike we were.  Totally flipped my perspective on the whole nature versus nurture thing.  One of the biggest differences between me and my mom is our basic personality types.  I lean quite heavily towards the introvert side of things, whereas my mother is all extrovert.  Enjoying being alone is just not something she understands at all.  Living with her as a teenager there were some rules that were just… well, very difficult for me to live with as a young, closeted (even to myself), introverted lesbian.  The biggest one was that I wasn’t allowed to close my door.  Ever.  I knew that there was no where in our home where I could be assured of some alone time.  At any given moment my mother was likely to walk in, without knocking (“family doesn’t knock” she snapped at me once when I asked her if she could do me that courtesy) and just sit on my bed and start talking.  It was maddening.  And totally frustrating because, as I said, I’m pretty introverted.  I need my alone time to feel sane.  And with my mother, to this day, I feel like I need to be “on” the entire time.  It’s exhausting.  So, I developed a bad habit. 

Well, it probably wasn’t a bad habit originally, it was just a survival technique.  I learned that once I was in bed, she would usually leave me alone.  And I mean, I had be lying down with the lights out… if I was reading a book and she could see my beside lamp on, she was likely to come in and want to talk.  So, I would say goodnight to her, turn off my light, leave my door open (yes, it had to be open at night too) and lay there… awake.  For hours.  Just… thinking. Being alone with my thoughts.  It, quite frankly, was often the best part of my day.  I honestly looked forward to it. 

Once I was out on my own it took me ages to realize I no longer needed to do that, I could take my alone time whenever I wanted and when it came time to go to bed, I could just… go to sleep.  I have tried for years to retrain my body to do that, and I’d say over the last decade or so I’ve done pretty well.  I can usually get to sleep within about 30 minutes of going to bed (I know for most people that’s a long time, but honestly, for me that’s nothing compared to the hours and hours I used to lay there).  The problem is, whenever anything of any significance happens to me, I slip right back into the bad habit I have worked so hard to break out of.  And it doesn’t have to be anything major.  A stimulating conversation, a crush, an idea for a story and suddenly I’m back to that old habit again.  I don’t need that time anymore, but I do it anyway, and it actually hurts me now because… well, I need my sleep.  When you look at the clock and it’s 3 AM and you realize you’ve been just thinking for the past 3 hours and you’ve only got 3 more before you have to get up… well, it’s a stupid habit, and I wish I could just stop.

So obviously, I’m writing this because I’ve been having a difficult week, sleep wise.  I’m exhausted, but I can’t seem to stop myself from doing this night after night. 

That’s really all I have to say.  I know it’s not ‘blog theme relevant’, but it’s what’s going on right now.  So… yeah.