Clock

Leaf-Day 8

Do you want to know a secret?

It’s not a happy one, I’m afraid. It’s not something that I tell many people.

I have trouble sleeping. And I know that everyone has trouble sleeping at some point in their lives, but I’ve had trouble sleeping for almost four years straight.

It all started when I was a senior in college. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do after I graduated. I was planning my wedding. And one night, I just couldn’t fall asleep. And the next night, I was scared that I wouldn’t fall asleep. So I didn’t. And it went on and on and on.

And at one point, at about two o’clock in the morning, after months of not getting good sleep, I thought about if it would be easier for me to die than to go through another night of sleeplessness. I thought about hurting myself for a brief second. And I got on Facebook, and saw that one of my dear friends was up as well. She lived in my dorm, and she came and sat with me when I asked her to. She brought down a bucket of soapy water and a warm towel, and she sat down on my dorm room floor and washed my feet. And she slept in the top bunk in my room so that I didn’t have to be alone.

I was so ashamed. I thought “I’m a Christian. I shouldn’t be thinking things like this. This is not good. I need help.” So the next morning, I called my then fiance and now Husband-Man and told him that I’d thought about hurting myself. And I scheduled a visit to the counselor on campus.

And I was so scared to go see her. But, I went. I thought she would tell me I was crazy. She did quite the opposite. She sat and asked me questions and listened to me. She drew pictures in her notes and didn’t look down her nose at me. And when I was done, she said, “Honey, no wonder you’re having trouble sleeping. Anybody would. Here are some things that you can do to help.”

And I tried those things, and they did help. My issues with sleep aren’t over. And I’ve not talked about that dark night to many people. But a lot of that is pride. I don’t want to admit that I’ve been to such a dark place. I don’t want to admit that I still struggle with sleep, and that I don’t have  clock in my room so that I can’t count the minutes until I have to wake up while I’m trying to sleep.

But, God is honored in our weakness. He is glorified because every night, I fall asleep and trust that He’ll still be God even when I’m not awake to make sure that everything is okay.

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. If you’re interested in catching up on the entire series, click here.

Writing: A Non-Process

(Scene: Early night in a public school. Chairs designed for children are arranged in a circle around a lone, dangling halogen light. Neatly groomed adults occupy the diminutive chairs, and avoid making eye contact. One particularly nervous looking lady checks the large analog clock hanging over the open door, and at the exact moment the second hand passes the twelve, calls the meeting to order.)

Leader: Good evening, everyone. Protocol dictates that our meetings begin at 7:00 PM, so no dawdling. Let’s begin.

Carla: Hi, my name is Carla. And I’m ritualistic. And sometimes, I don’t like it.

 

I am the kind of person that can’t sleep without brushing my teeth. I dry myself off after a shower exactly the same way every day, and can’t sleep without a soft t-shirt draped over my eyes to block out the light. I am a creature of habit. Most of the time, I enjoy having patterns and habits surrounding my days. I take comfort knowing that no matter what happens in my day, my bed will be made when I go to try and fall asleep. Occasionally, my habitual bent stifles my creativity. I can’t do something creative the same way every time.

I have intentionally not created a writing “process”. I like to think of it as a non-process. I have ideas, usually when I’m trying to sleep, and file them away to be mulled over. I think about them when I’m driving, when I’m doing dishes, and when my stress levels exceed a healthy level. I sit down and type them out when my idea feels fleshed out, and I write. I pour my words out, and then leave them for a day or two. I then re-read, make sure I’ve capitalized every reference to Husband-Man made, and ask him to read it. (He approves content related to him, and most of what I write involves him in some way.)

I read it again. And I check to make sure I’m being honest. Honest enough that Christ’s perfection is highlight and my weakness is not hidden. Because this blog is about being honest, and encouraging you all to be honest with yourselves as we think about the small and big things in our lives.

For some, this might be quite a set of steps to not be a “process”. But for an over planner like me, this is sheer anarchy.

And when I’m about to explode? I take my journal (this journal cover from Oberon keeps my plain black Moleskine looking inviting), and I “word vomit”. Not a pretty phrase? Good. Because it’s not a pretty process. I feel a particular sense of release when my prayers are written, when I can see them scrawled on a page and see the resolution to which I’m drawn at the end through Christ’s grace.

All of my processes are developing, because I’m a newbie at writing things for other’s eyes.

What does your creative writing process look like? I’m linking up worth Victoria’s Ramblings today to share with some other lovely folks about how we work, and I’d love to see how your process works!