It’s my extreme honor to have Jayme Beddingfield as a guest blogger today. Jayme is an author, podcaster and extraordinary geek. Please enjoy this wonderful guest blog from her.
Sleep has never been something that came easily to me. The reasons why are countless and varied, but regardless, being the only one stirring in my neighborhood in the middle of the night is not only familiar to me, but it’s become part of who I am.
I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I am obsessed with my work. The desire to succeed overpowers most other needs and desires I have–but, I’m also terrified of it. Between all that I am trying to achieve within my career and remaining an intricate and active member of my family, I often feel like nothing I do is enough. Good enough, fast enough, unique enough, it doesn’t matter, the feeling of inadequacy rolls around in my stomach constantly.
In part, I consider my anti-hero self-perceptive part of my creative process. Or, maybe my habits of how I talk to myself aren’t the best. All the reasons above probably play a big a role into why I haven’t slept through the night in months. I don’t know what dreamless sleep is like. At first, when the wave of interrupted sleep started up again I panicked, it had been a good stretch of decent sleep, and I was plenty stressed out at it was the idea of not having regular sleep scared me.
“I have to be on my A-game,” I said to myself as I laid awake in bed staring at the ceiling I wasn’t able to see what knew was there. The first week was challenging. I fought the idea of not being able to get through the night without waking up. I was getting to sleep fine, but I wasn’t staying asleep. A dream would wake me, causing me to open my eyes and be fully alert of all of my surroundings and the dozens of to-dos awaiting me in the morning, the following week, a year from now. Every dream plays out differently, but the theme is always the same. Embarrassment. Failure. An unfixable mistake.
Anxiety started to really set in as this trend continued. Then I started having trouble falling asleep, shutting my mind off, not worrying, not planning, just being.
One night, after finally fighting myself to sleep, I was woken up by a dream. It started out by me getting locked out of my house which was remarkably similar to Jess’s apartment on The New Girl. Right before I woke up I was floating on a boat after losing my computer. That time, I got out of bed went into my backyard and looked up at the stars—there was only a few that I could make out, but in that moment that was enough. I didn’t lay in bed thinking about how much I was screwing myself for the next day. When I went back in my house, I grabbed my notebook, my book light, and a pen and started writing. At first, it was nothing but versions of insanely detailed to-dos, but gradually it transformed into fluid words and read back remarkably resembling a story. I woke up hours later with my notebook squished into my arm feeling well rested and surprised it was morning.
The following night I went to bed, brought two different notebooks with me, I fell asleep writing and woke up feeling like a person who accepted themselves a little more than the day before.
During busier times in the day, I find my mind wondering what my night will be like, not with concern but with anticipation. As the days continue to fill up, and the noise of the world buzzes loudly, I find solace in my pockets of quiet. There is no balancing act when the world around me is asleep.
When the sky is dark, the streets are quiet, my house is also silent. The warmth and love and craziness that fills the space between the overpriced walls fades into the hum of what is at the heart of all of it, and I write. I write without goals or lists. If I wake up, I take the thoughts and put them down. The thing about words is that if you follow them, they take you somewhere—a similar thread to accepting ourselves. Is sleep important? Sure. Do I need sleep? Yeah. Do I keep regular hours? Certainly not. I realize that by leaning into my natural inclination even though it’s unconventional, I find a little bit more peace.
In those moments between the departure and arrival of the sun, I can lean into my mind’s need to do something and write, just for me, naively, like I used to.
About Jayme Beddingfield:
Jayme Beddingfield is the host and producer of ‘Too Many Words’ a comedy interview podcast. She is also the creator of ‘Elliot Granger and The Clueless Brigade’ a weekly serial that follows Elliot Granger as she stumbles through grief and growing up. The series is featured as both a fictional podcast and written story that appears on The Scribbler. Jayme has been crafting stories since her third-grade assignment to write her own fairy tale. She prefers to work from the sofa with her dogs by her feet. Originally from Northern New Jersey, she now lives in Seattle, the city of her dreams. She lives with her husband, two children, and a slew of adopted pets. She is post-apocalyptic obsessed and also admits to being an audio enthusiast and recovering super villain