There’s no rest for me


Kiera Kemppainen

“The city never sleeps at night,” and neither do I.

I used to have trouble sleeping. 

There were monsters under my bed, in my closet, and outside my windows. My room was too dark. Nightlights filled the gaps of every open outlet. I would lie in bed and count myself to sleep: from 1 to 100, back and forth. As I stared into my IKEA bed canopy, I would tell myself stories, my sound machine a whirr of waves in the distance. The clouds adorning my tulle canopy could not whisk me away to a better place; my bed was not levitating to bring me somewhere to sleep. I would march my little feet to my parent’s bedroom—no monsters were there.

I still have trouble sleeping. 

I cannot allow myself the peace of silence.

My room is silent, with no waves to break the monotony. My uncurtained windows let in the moonlight. It’s too bright. I close my eyes, and suddenly, it’s too loud. My head is pounding, and my vision is blurring—I thought my eyes were closed. Incoherent voices fill the air, and I understand them. I have to get up; there’s more to do. There are futures to think of and stories to write and people to talk to and things to learn and, oh, I’m tired. I cannot allow myself the peace of silence. My eyes cannot close without an overwhelming terror filling my body. Tears stream down my face, needles poke my temple. Please, just let me sleep. There is no rest in a world of changes. I march my little feet into the kitchen but not on the way to my parents. I take Ibuprofen for my headache and triumphantly go back to bed. Silly me, I thought I won some sleep. But when my head hits the pillow and my eyes close, it all comes back. Eventually, I fall asleep, in tears. I’m not sure when they stop, if they do, and if the voices stay with them.

I always have trouble sleeping.

“I don’t do naps” are words that often come out of my mouth in that specific order. I wish I could. My mind wanders too much, but not like a stroll in a park. No, I am on 20 different paths all at the same time. I am being attacked by wasps, bears, and squirrels. I am pestered by mosquitoes, pollen, and ants. Each one is something I need to do right that second. I need to look this up; I need to go here; I need to do this. I don’t want to.

I don’t want to have trouble sleeping.