I wasn’t warned about this!
What I wasn’t prepared for was a lack of sleep. I’ve suffered from sleep deprivation in the not so distant past for many reasons. The first reason is just staying up really late. Sometimes, I wouldn’t go to sleep until 2 or 3 in the morning and wake up 4 or 5 hours later. I’m pretty sure I consciously stayed awake later as a means of avoiding the next day. The days I deemed most important leading up to South Africa were filled with me feeling unsuccessful and pathetic. What I realized later is that I was too tired to do anything productive because of my lack of sleep. After a while my insomnia returned and over the last few months, I stayed awake for days. When I did fall asleep one of two things would happen. I would either, toss-and-turn, never finding a comfortable spot or I would have hellish dreams. Although my eyes were closed I was fully aware of my discomfort. If I did reach REM sleep, I was plagued with all sorts of harassing thoughts. I had dreams about transitioned relatives, old lovers, violence, and homelessness. In one dream I was an undercover assassin, forced to kill Jill Scott to maintain my cover.
Once again, I regularly suffer through restless nights. Ironically, I was surprised at how tired I’d become over the past 6 months. I’m always tired. This tiredness hangs over my head like a gray rain cloud, following me wherever I go. What’s scary was I didn’t know when it would let up. The many unknowns that lay ahead, especially my upcoming trip to Johannesburg, continued to haunt me. I may look calm and cool on the outside, rarely verbally expressing my inner thoughts of worry and insecurity. This occurs because my stress and doubt manifest in my dreams. In my dreams I face uncontrollable emotions and consequences such as death, haplessness, all sorts of inconveniences, and turmoil.
So as I prepared for my journey to South Africa, I prayed the most for peace, peace of mind specifically. I hoped that my thoughts would calm down enough to enjoy the moments. While traveling to South Africa once again, I suffered from restless sleep. As we all know, sleep on a plane is the pits. I crossed several time zones during terribly long flights, thus adding to my dishevelment. During the 16-hour flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg, I maybe slept 3 hours. This small amount of sleep was also interrupted by a stewardess who kept awakening me for meals and snacks (I’m not complaining, I was grateful for this food, just saying).
When I finally arrived in Johannesburg, I was a hot sleep walking zombie mess! My landlord was there to give me a lift, thankfully, but when we arrived at her place we stayed up talking for at least another hour and then after bathing I headed to bed. I lay in bed for another hour, reading and then forced myself to close my eyes. I didn’t have high hopes for this modest bed. To my dismay but relief (and happiness) this bed performed magic.
I slept 10 hours, peacefully. No tossing. No turning. No nightmares. No interruptions. 10 hours of sound, restful sleep.