It was one of those mornings born of an endless night. I could not rest and slept very little. There are just nights when I know, right from the get go, that I will be up when the sun comes out of hiding.
I tried valiantly to succumb to the hum of “Rest Rest Slumber Slummmmbbbbbeeeeerrrrr,” but my mind would have none of it. After getting up to read, then watch hilights from the playoffs, I attempted to wrangle with reason, but my other brain would have none of it. As it does in times like these, it was quite insistent that I should go out. I don’t follow those messages. I don’t know why and I do. There is always this strange sense of the haphazard in the stillness and silence of a 3 or 4 a.m. walk without purpose…as in, I am not coming from somewhere like a house party to get back home where I sometimes tend to limit how much time I am on foot.
I am not particularly worried, on average, about my safety. I have, of necessity and by design, done a lot of things on my own. I have lived, at least for a time, in China by myself. I have walked through many an alley down many a dark road alone, but as a woman there is a certain sense of vigilance that feels necessary. I am not one to let such things keep me home at night.
Regardless, there is just something that feels extra vulnerable about going out into the dark when it is just for the sake of being out there, in the city. It is really strange because it is only something I noticed last night.
I can’t be sure where to trace this back to, because there was a time in my life where I might have just gone. I can’t be sure. I don’t know how other women feel about these things, but I think I will discuss it with some of my female friends. I am curious to know how those of us who use public transit, walk, cycle feel vs. my few car driving friends. I would also be interested to compare the feelings of those of us who have experienced crime and violence to those who have not. How much caution is actually created by experience? How much is created by the fear of imagination?
That is where my mind has gone to…this is what lack of sleep can result in. In those moments, my senses are dulled but my emotions are heightened. There is incredible energy there and my real problem has been a management approach…how do I make this go away, stop so I can just go to sleep already?! I don’t think it is a matter of control…it is a matter of giving up, and giving in. And if my body is calling me outside, well, I had better do that, even if just in the backyard.
I can see the heavy symbolism in this situation; it is quite hilarious. What happens when I don’t listen to myself and the universe, what happens when the illusion of safety and connection and care are torn back and little by little, there I am in the dark of the early morning, alone and restless?