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The Sandman isn’t answering me. My pillow isn’t beckoning me, and again, I will wake tomorrow morning with too little sleep. Without sleep, my body doesn’t restore itself to its springy exterior and centered, calm interior.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve always been a night owl, and I always will be. The Sandman and I aren’t on speaking terms. We’ve been in a feud since I was born.

I fight sleep sometimes as if I’m still 10 years old begging my parents to stay up past my bedtime for fear that I’ll miss out on something fun and exciting or for fear of darkness and nightmares.

Even pharmaceuticals don’t always help, prescription or other remedies. But one thing that helps is my active imagination. It never shuts off, even while I’m sleeping. So sometimes, I “rock” myself to sleep by closing my eyes and imagining worlds beyond this one, creating visual stories behind my lids, until I eventually hand over the keys to Sandman for the night. The stories are sometimes about real people but in different scenarios or maybe I’m different in something that’s actually happened in the past.

It’s my own version of telling myself bedtime stories, and it started when I was really young. Long after my parents read me a bedtime story, I’d imagine more stories once they turned out the lights and I cosed my eyes. I may be an adult now, but I’ll always be a child at heart. I’ll always need a bedtime story.

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