It’s 4 am and all is not well.
I can’t sleep.
This past week has been a blur of professional disappointments, personal failings and what I believe was a mild case of food poisoning (I think the chicken had gone bad).
But with so much going on you’d think that I would be exhausted by the end of the day and ready for a deep, fulfilling snooze. Yet here I lay on my thatch, Chinese mattress staring up at the ceiling and wondering why I feel so unbearably sad. Not on the edge of tears sad, but a thicker, heavier feeling of burden.
What is this burden?
I feel guilty because I lack accomplishment. I feel I have not gained or worked for anything real this past week and this idea has burrowed so deep in my mind that my sleep switch has been paralysed. And I don’t deserve sleep until I have accomplished something. But, and here’s the fun part, it’s 4 am and nobody accomplishes anything at this time. Well… people on nightshifts like doctors, firemen and overnight delivery workers probably do. Go them!
But not teachers. No, we have our hours given to us by God. They’re in the daytime. With a lunch break.
But hey, I’m a teacher! That’s a fulfilling job right? Why do I feel like I’m trying to carry a rhinoceros on my back?
Because I had a bad week.
The thing is, when I look back at my life as a student I recall a few individual lessons and moments that were meaningful to me but the rest is a blur. I remember my teachers within terms of their personalities, whether I liked them or not and their own personal quirks. I definitely don’t remember the lessons that were a bit dull or when I zoned out. We view life with ourselves as the main character. We have ego. So you edit out the snoozy stuff.
As a teacher, though, it’s the opposite. You remember the bad ones. They’re seared into your brain and keep you awake feeling like you wasted everyone’s time. That you’re not worth what you’re being paid. That you’re failing your students. From a more objective perspective, the lessons weren’t bad; from a personal perspective, they were nothing close to what I could accomplish. And this isn’t due to laziness or anything (although I am #TheLazySlinky). It’s due to a lot of loathsome top-down agendas that prioritise the wrong things. I just need to learn to work better within them.
So here I lie, next to my gently snoring partner, wondering if I should poke him accidentally-on-purpose so I can finagle a cuddle.
The last time I felt like this was when I was unemployed. Working is something that gives many people purpose and resolve, myself included. I love my job and I hate feeling like I’ve been bad at it. It’s like not having a job at all. But more tiring.
So I can’t sleep.
Because I think I don’t deserve to.
Not consciously of course. Consciously I really want to sleep because I need to get up early tomorrow to play Final Fantasy. In my unconscious mind, however, the cogs are whirring until I achieve something.
I actually hope this post counts as a thing that is of worth. Gonna try doing sleepies now to see if my cunning plan worked.
If I’m not back in 20 minutes, you can go.
Can you sleep? How? Tell me.
If you’re more an email person, join my mailing list. I post weekly-ish. I promise I won’t spam you.
Or read some recent posts that I am quite proud of:
- Do you ignore your tea until it gets cold?3 min quickie about when your tea goes cold. Heavy journalistic stuff. Proceed with caution.
- I took a week off work, but it didn’t change my life.5 min read about expecting too much from yourself because #alwaysbehustlin’
- My Sunday evening: doomscrolling, taking offense and yogaQuickie 2 min read about that dread you feel every Sunday evening.
- Was Valentine’s Day even relevant in the pandemic?Defending Valentine’s Day for 7 minutes straight. 7 mins of reading I mean.
- What school assignment still haunts you? Mine is the Tiger EssayGorgeous 10 min read about a formative childhood experience. With #siblinggoals