I’ve been sleeping quite a bit lately, which is unusual for me. (Sickness will do that to you.) I have been a chronic over-scheduler since Jr. High. I was that girl – the girl who joined everything. I was part of drill team, band, Spanish Club (I don’t speak Spanish), Political Action Club (I was a Young Republican), student council, you name it, I joined it. I also had the need to prove I was a clever girl, so I took the hardest classes available, as early as possible.
It is somewhere in my DNA to keep going until I absolutely collapse from exhaustion. Even as a child, I would fight sleep terribly, for fear I would miss something. I can remember getting up at 5am on game days, after going to bed at midnight, to shave my legs so I could wear my drill team uniform and letting the hot rollers cool in my hair while I finished my Algebra homework… in 8th grade. And so began my two-decade pattern of sacrificing sleep for my pursuit of perfection. Or at least for what I thought looked like perfection to other people.
I can’t say this quest has been all bad. My obsessive drive got me into and through graduate school, helped me be reasonably successful in my career, pushed me into volunteer service and even led me to do my part to keep coffee growers in business. Every successful woman I know gave up sleep some time before she gave up real sugar. It’s all caffeinated Splenda in a to-go cup these days. I mean, who even has time to sit down for breakfast (unless you’re in the car)?
Here’s the paradox: I really like sleep. For years, I have contended the hardest thing I do all day is wake up. Baby Daddy usually interjects to say the hardest thing he does all day is wake me up. Sleep is my friend and my enemy. If I were Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie, sleep would be my frienemy. I desperately need it but regularly avoid it. I don’t talk bad about it to the tabloids, though; I’m not that kind of girl.
Now I laugh at Monkey Boy for his fight with sleep. He is a brave soldier. Eventually, sleep gets its aim right and shoots the poor kid. I tell him no one will think less of him if he surrenders, but I would never allow that of myself, so I understand his battle.
If this illnes has taught me anything so far, it’s I have to figure out how lay down my weapons in this war on sleep so that he can see a good role model. Because more than sleep, we all need rest.