Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Light

There was a time in my life when the middle of the night was my worst enemy. There in the dark, I would re-hash my biggest failures and heaviest anxieties. There were nights when I thought I am seriously not well, because I couldn't stop obsessing about my ex-husband or a mistake I made at work, or something embarrassing I did when I was twelve! Eventually I'd wear myself out and fall asleep and when I woke up in the morning I could early remember what it was I had been so stressed about all night!

My life lesson here is: Everything looks better in the light of day.

I don't know why it is but I know it's a common condition. People all over the world lay down to sleep at night and are flooded with worry and pressure, fear and loneliness. I remember a particular period of time when I was single and would curl up on my side at night, imagining a loving man spooning me and I would think Some day I will have a man to spoon me. I won't always be alone. I'd wake up in the morning with my dog curled up behind my knees and think I'm not alone at all. Why the hell do I worry so much about finding a man? I believe the solitude that is forced upon me by the darkness leaves space for the doubts and fears to creep in.

Over the past several years, I've gotten a handle on my anxiety thanks to finding the right medication, therapy, exercise, a supportive partner, etc. Nighttime is not something I fear. In fact bedtime is one of my favorite parts of the day because I always read in bed and I love to sleep.

But occasionally the demons do show their faces around 3 or 4am. They say "Hey, what about that magazine deadline? Do you have enough money to pay your car registration? Stay awake with us and worry about those things!" That's when I snap on my bedside lamp and reach for my book. Distracting my mind with reading is one of the few things that makes those worries evaporate into the words and characters on the page. I read long enough to keep drowsy and turn the light off, knowing that when my room is flooded with sunlight in the morning, I will be able to tackle everything on my to do list!

Similarly, I often notice a difference in my disposition on a bright, sunny day versus a gray, gloomy day. Here in Montana, we can go through phases in the winter when I can't remember the last time I saw the sun. Everyone becomes slow and a bit melancholy. And then suddenly it's a glorious day filled with sunlight and I feel like myself again! There's such a huge shift that occurs in the spring, when the days get longer.

I'm a person who would rather be hot than cold. I'd rather sit in the sun than the shade. I'm a morning person. Daylight and sunlight represent a lot to me; motivation, happiness, the hope that comes with a brand new day. 

Tinsley likes to find a sunny spot, just like me!


  1. I love that picture of Tinsley in the square of light. I know how unhealthy thoughts can creep in in the middle of the night, but I had to chuckle when you were talking about rather being hot and preferring morning, because I'm exactly the opposite! I love the magic of the middle of the night. Great post.

  2. Great post. I relate all too well to the whole idea that "night = lonely fear" etc. Well written, friend.

  3. Hi,
    I enjoyed reading this post because I relate to it. There are times when I wake up in the middle of night scared. I have discovered for myself that I love daylight and I also love warmth. At the moment, I am living in Germany and it is like Montana. It is cold and the winters are very long. That's one of the reasons I plan to move to Italy. I miss the sun shiny sky and white clouds of Georgia.
    Very nice post. I want to read all of them, but I started just picking out one randomly.