When I was a teenager, the only way I could fall asleep was if my room was completely silent and pitch-black - I even went so far as to pull the shades to keep the moonlight out. Also had to have my hair down, no jewelry, no pajama pants, and definitely no socks. Plus I had to have my pillow, not just any old bag of feathers or foam.

Any deviation = no sleep.
Since then I've abandoned my strict sleeping requirements (mostly without having a choice) - I have slept on friends' couches, in my car, outside on lawn furniture, on a bathroom floor. I've slept in one-half of a tent in the rain (in South Carolina clay), in a room with 60 other people, in a foxhole with my gas mask on. I've slept in an airport terminal, on a helicopter above Baghdad, during a mortar attack, in the sand for several days without a shower. My "pillow" as been a rolled up sweatshirt, a folded towel, a sandbag, my helmet and sometimes, nothing at all. I can sleep with the tv and/or lights on, on a porch in the sun, in a movie theater, in the middle of a party, while my alarm clock is going off, with all my clothes on (including boots), through an entire conversation. Once I fell asleep in the shower. I may or may not be asleep right this very second.

Sometimes I feel like I can sleep for days, weeks even. Sometimes it feels like I have never slept in my entire life. Other times sleep feels like an indulgence, and although I may have to drag myself half-dead from the comfort of my blankets, getting up early just feels like the right thing to do. Then later in the afternoon I can't keep my eyes open. Then it's 2 a.m. and I'm still awake and I'm convinced I can go the rest of my life without ever sleeping again. Sometimes I don't know if I'm awake or not, if a conversation took place in reality or in a dream. Sometimes I wake up crying and I don't know why.

Sleep is a strange thing, I think. I've forgotten how to regulate it and so every night is an adventure into the unknown. Will I make it through the night? Will I wake up at 12:30 a.m., unable to fall back asleep? Will I sleep straight through to tomorrow afternoon? I either sleep too much or too little - I can't remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed.

I didn't mean for this post to be depressing, but it kind of is I guess. Sorry. What I mean to say is that I just don't know how to sleep. :(

- Antiope

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