What I Think About When I Think About Sleep

I can’t sleep because my heart is beating too loudly. The beats are steady and average but with every passing second, the cacophony as they open and close, open and close becomes consuming. There are no other sounds in the room and, in the silence, that organ beneath my ribs may as well be screaming as it works to keep me alive and breathing. And awake.

I can’t sleep because I have too many bills to pay. My paychecks are abysmal and they barely stretch to cover my credit cards, insurance, cell phone, loans, and expenses. I have a birthday present to buy, due dates are approaching, and what about food to feed myself? What about going out next weekend? Do I still owe him money? I hope I can pay him next week. Living paycheck to paycheck is terrible. One day I won’t have to. One day.

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I can’t sleep because I’m agitated about work. I’m tossing and turning and with every movement, the inner recesses of my mind are swimming with unknowns. Is my job is secure? Do my coworkers like me? Am I doing well? Am I what they want? Am I exceeding expectations? Am I underwhelming? The more I sink into my thoughts, the harder it is to breathe. I beg sleep to come to take it all away, if only just temporarily. It doesn’t.

I can’t sleep because I want too many things. I want to have a place of my own. I want to have a life I’m proud of. I want to see my grandparents more. I want to travel. I want that dress from Anthropologie. I want to go to grad school. I want to pay off my loans. I want to not want everything.

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I can’t sleep because I miss you. I miss the way you look when you wake up in the morning and how you play with my hair before we go to sleep. I miss drinking copious amounts of wine and telling each other how much we’re in love. I miss seeing you at the end of a bad day and feeling like everything is suddenly okay. I miss feeling the scratch of your beard on my cheek when you hug me tight. I can’t sleep when I know you’re not going to be next to me in the morning.

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