Insomnia self-portrait with bed hair and falling-off mouth (with bonus demon not worth facing)


*black biro ( not looking) and watercolour pencils ( looking)*

I can’t complain about not sleeping tonight, as I had a great sleep last night. Also had a fantastic dream that as I lay in bed, a garden of sumptuous, jewel coloured satin and velvet flowers began growing upon the ceiling. The flowers looked like butterfly wings under a scanning electron miscroscope, but much bigger, and as I watched, they began growing faster and faster- extending down the walls in glorious stained-glass-vivid vines. It was so beautiful that I felt I must get out of bed and show someone. But then the thought crossed my mind that the flowers- now growing at quite a pace- might grow over the doorway- locking me out if I left….. or, alternatively- if I stayed- trapping me within thisΒ  butterflyflower garden all by myself, with nobody to share it with. As I had this thought, some large ants, (which were running for cover from the flowers) trickled down the wall, and to my horror, one jumped into my bed. I woke up brushing invisible ants off me.



17 thoughts on “Insomnia self-portrait with bed hair and falling-off mouth (with bonus demon not worth facing)

  1. Liking the bed hair! Bed hair is the best hair. And raucous cheers for a good night’s sleep, obviously. That dream sounds incredible, at least, until the intrusive ant. I wonder if this garden might be another symbol of blossoming/reawakening creativity? Perhaps we should consult that dictionary.

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    • And being in bed alseep is even better!
      Omigod, it was so amazing to get a proper sleep! I marvel at people who do that, like, every night. Just…HOW??? My sleeping pattern at the moment is: no sleep through the week, then popping a sleepy pill as soon as my kid goes over to her dad’s place, then getting 14 hours sleep ( no joke) 2 nights in a row. Of course, the sleeping pills mess me up for the rest of the day ( hence not being able to take them through the week/ when my kid’s at home), so it’s not ideal…but it massivly beats no sleep at all, which is exactly what happens otherwise. I’m looking forward to the day that scientists find a safe, effective, hassle free cure for insomnia! There are many of us who sorely need it.

      Oh, i hope so! I’ve been trying to analyse it. So far the conclusion i’ve come to is this: my creativity is, i feel, the one thing i have to offer the world, and yet the one thing that is also my escape from the world. I feel the urge to kinda *get out there*; collaborate,etc, but at the same time, i’m afraid of then losing site of WHY i create in the first place, and then effectively turning my love into a chore ( getting “locked out” of the beauty of that sorta *sacred space*). At the same time, i’m aware that if i don’t make some sort of connection with others using my creativity, then i’m just trapping myself in my little bubble, alone.
      As for the ants, i’ve read that they can be a symbol of teamwork, community, and productivity… there’s some food for thought! Why are they running away from the flowers? Why am i so scared of them? I guess i must somehow have it my subconscious ( and conscious mind, clearly) that the concepts of collaboration and community are at odds with my motivations to create. I need to find a way to reconcile them….

      Or something.

      Sorry, it seems i think i’m Carl Jung sometimes πŸ˜‰ Please excuse my ramblings!!

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      • Ah, well, that sounds like the best way. Good to hear you’re catching some Zs when you can, ’cause there’s little worse than going without. Oh, I know. I grit my teeth whenever people talk of what a great night’s sleep they’ve had. It’s getting to the time of year where it’s basically daylight again before I even think about going to bed, and I can’t ever remember a refreshing sleep. We do indeed need a breakthrough; hopefully someday we’ll be dropping off like Dougal!

        Don’t apologise! I find all this analysis really fascinating, and that’s a great interpretation. I totally get the feeling of limbo you speak of, for I feel much the same way. I guess it all comes down to that blinkin’ confidence, eh, and somehow taking a cricket bat to that evil demon (because cricket, obviously!). Here’s to finding a way, I suppose…!

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      • Yeah, it’s better than nothing. Even if it doesn’t FEEL restorative ( due to the grogginess the next day), i can at least know that my brain and body have been getting some well needed healing during that sleep!

        Aww, that sux; sorry to hear that. Summery ( well, Springy) sunny times, eh? I feel ya. Too much brightness. It stings. Y’know, it’s a wonder you haven’t resorted to alcohol- i’m not wanting to turn you into an alcoholic here, but i know people who claim that a glass of wine after dinner sends them off! Thing is though, that might work if you’re not used to it, but soon you WOULD get used to it, and it wouldn’t be as effective. I’m sipping a glass of wine meself right now ;), but even though i’m already physically tired, my brain is busy getting a dance party started. You’d probably just be the same. It’s a crappy situation.
        I know! Speaking of sleeping aids and Dougal related things,we need some of this!: πŸ˜€

        It’s a bit of a kerfuffle, innit :/ HOW TO CONFIDENCE IN ARTISTIC ABILITEEZ??? I really resent people who have but mediocre talent in their field, but who also don’t give a shit, and thus, end up succeeding. I’d love to “just believe”, but personally I am ashamed by my mediocrity, and it prevents me from promoting myself in any way. I’m like ” oh no….i’m going to look like a delusional idiot”, then i enclose myself in a bubble of cringiness and humilation and lock myself in my house and that’s that. It seems so logical to just not care either way about people’s response, but given that we live in a world that regularly reinforces the importance of *image* ( and an upbringing that deemed it unseemly to feel too good about oneself), it’s a bloody difficult hurdle to jump.

        Yes, i’m hoping for some such miraculous cricket bat…sigh. the whole subject certainly makes me feel like smashing things!!

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      • Yay for progress!

        Haha, yes, I think I’ll stay away from the booze! Me being the rockstar I am, I often have milk or cocoa toward bedtime – it doesn’t seem to work, but I quite like it anyway. Yep, the dance party is a good way of describing it, actually – my brain seems to wake up as it should be doing the opposite. So I stay up, ’cause I can’t bear that just lying there tossing and turning. I do pretty much all my work at that time of day – and listen to them podcasts! – to try and be as constructive as possible.

        Hahahaha, oh, yes! We need some of that sweet stuff! Perhaps when the breakthrough treatment comes, that’s what they should call it. πŸ˜‰

        This last paragraph could have been written by me :/ I don’t think I’ve ever really found anybody else who sees it so like me. It’s so frustrating, because there are times amidst it all when you feel you do have something to offer the world, but it’s hard to remain optimistic when it feels as if a roadblock has been put down to stop you getting through. I just hope you find that cricket bat soon! Perhaps the words of your finished book will join and make that satisfying whack!

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      • Well at least you’re using the time wisely- that’s more than i can say for myself right now! Late at night IS the perfect time for getting stuff done, though. Nice and quiet; no distractions ( apart from the internet, haha). Maybe i need to go somewhere without internet again….that time i went away up to NSW i took a load of photos, learnt about birds, made a dress for my niece, and restored some old furniture! It’s funny what you can do without the procrastination enabling world of cyberspace….of course, i could just not go on the internet……but that would require self discipline πŸ˜‰

        “it’s banned in most European countries, so that means it’s VERY good” πŸ™‚

        Well it’s good to know if other people understand where I’m coming from! At the same time, it makes me feel like “nooo! Don’t think that about yourself!”.
        I think our predicament is probably made worse by not having a community of encouraging and likeminded people around us. As much as people like to say it shouldn’t matter what others say or think, the fact is, it DOES matter. Succeeding in any sort of creative field requires that people notice and like what you do! If nobody around us gives a shit, or just doesn’t understand at all, then you naturally begin to feel invisible and/ or misunderstood and unappreciated, and you may start questioning the validity of what you’re doing, or at the very least just feel very alone. Art is a form of communication to me, and after a while, i get sick of talking to myself. That’s my one regret about leaving fakebook; people were beginning to notice my creations. People with influence too; people who owned independent galleries; an independent filmmaker who was starting to make waves; some well known Melbourne artists. I should have milked that for all it’s worth, but, instead i blew it, all because i didn’t feel worthy of their attention, and felt anxious and pressured about being able to ‘deliver the goods’ consistently. Then i got depressed and withdrew, and burnt so many bridges that will never be able to be rebuilt now. UGH. I’m my own worst enemy. I’m like: “NOTICE THIS STUFF I’M DOING!”, but then when they do, i’m like ” NO! DON’T LOOK!”. Talk about impossible to please. It’s that feckin’ ‘C’ word again!!!!! We need to know that we’re just as worthy and deserving of success as anybody. It seems a simple concept until you try to put it into practice :/

        I hope i find it too! I’ll totally lend it to you when i do, too! That’d be nice. An actual finished book. More than nice. Amazing, even! I’ve hit a huge wall there. I had things so planned out ( so unlike me), and now the story has morphed into a beast i no longer recognise, nor have any idea how to reign in and get to behave. Maybe planning too much just isn’t what works for me. Either way, i’d be surprised if it was anywhere near finished within 3 years :/ But, as i’ve heard it said: “the time will pass anyway”, so i mustn’t let that put me off.

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      • Yep, you’re right – I found that out in high school and did all my revision in the wee hours! Hardly being a morning person, it’s a plan I’ve stuck to ever since, really.

        Wow!! Get off the internet! πŸ˜‰ That’s awesome, and makes me realise, Christ, how much time I do waste sitting here clicking a mouse. I actually freak out when I go somewhere where there’s no internet. I’m that bad. Worse still if I’m here and the service goes down for whatever reason. Meltdown! But I can quite imagine that, after a while, it’d be a great relief and aid much productivity.

        That’s a bit of shame re Facebook, ’cause your work definitely needs to be seen by as many as possible. Perhaps you could try setting up a ‘page’ on there, for your work, and stay out of the ‘social profile’ clutches? But I suppose none of that’s helping your situation. Your withdrawal sounds very much like me and graphic design at uni. I couldn’t cope, even though I never had a bad word said about my work, at least not from tutors I respected. I could never see what was so good about my work, and always saw other people’s stuff and thought it better. I suppose I felt a bit of a fraud. Perhaps the positive response was part of the pressure, feeling that a single criticism would be abject failure? I had to drop out of university because of it all. That was the end of 2012.

        That’s exactly it – ‘look, and also don’t look’. I know that so well. 😦 I’m the same even with my blog: I want the content to be noticed and to get more traffic, yet, at the same time, if I were to come here one day and find it’d exploded and there were a hundred comments awaiting my reply, I feel like I’d run and hide.

        Oh gawd, yeah – I knew a girl once who was writing a book and it took her a bloody age (of time and stress!), even though she had it all mapped out beforehand. I remember her saying the characters seem to do their own thing. I hope you can find a way to whip it into shape!

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      • It’s good to work with the fact that you’re a night person. I am too. I watched an interesting documentary about the circadian rhythm once which described why there are “night people” and “morning people”. We “night people” simply have a slower circadian rhythm. It kinda sux though that mainstream culture severerly favours the morning folk :/ Guess that’s why we gotta find our own ways.

        Inorite?! Procrastination is waaaay too easy with internet access :/

        I do regret cutting myself off from all those people. I could’ve quit FB but still made an effort to keep in contact with certain people. I guess that’s just not what happens when depression hits, though. Sigh. I’ve thought about trying to go back and just have a page..but i also would have nothing to put on there, now! Let alone people i’d like to try reconnecting with. Most of them would’ve forgotten about me now. And, if i’m honest, too many people that i’d dread to have to interact with again!

        Aww, you sound too much like me! That feeling of being a fraud is all too familiar. And it’s annoying how it seems to override the fact that people who know what they’re talking about compliment you on your efforts, and are supportive and encouraging. It’s like there’s this paranoid voice in the back of your head saying ” they’re just making it up to make you feel better!” AAAGGGH! I hate it.

        That pressure to back up well-responded-to work with even more and more well-responded-to work is indeed a killer. It’s a legitimate thing known as “fear of success”. It’s intimiately tied with “fear of failure”, because, as you say, if, after a run of well recieved work, you were to suddenly recieve some negative criticism, that one teeny blot on the glorious landscape of acceptance would be interpreted by us as confirmation of our deepest fears; that we’re terrible, horrible fakes who should be ashamed to have ever tried to pass oursleves off as artists! It’s quite fucked. I’m sure i remember reading somewhere that our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative criticism over positive remarks…although i can’t quite remember why. It’s bloody maddening, though.

        Yep, i think i’d be overwhelmed if that happenned too. I’d probably be open to a gradual, manageable but steady increase, though πŸ˜‰

        Oh man, you’ve no idea how comforting that is for me to hear! I’m hoping that it’s common thing, rather than hard eveidence of me just being a useless writer. The characters really DO take on a life of their own. It’s kinda cool in one way, but also rather frustrating when you thought you had it all neatly planned out. The plan made me feel less lost, and now that it seems to be abandoning ship, that awful old feeling of “what the fuck am i doing? What is my purpose” has returned. But hearing about your friend gives me hope. Perhaps it’s just a matter of patience and persistence.

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      • Ugh, yeah. I can’t be doing with the morning, 9-5 routine. I am a zombie in the ‘respectable’ morning hours. I was jealous of my friends who went to a different university, because their studios (or at least adjacent study space) were open 24 hours a day. I’d have been camping in there all night, I think!

        Yeah, it’s so comforting but also so sad to think that others feel the way I do about this stuff :/ I think I definitely have that fear of success, and indeed failure. So I just put it off altogether. Perhaps that’s something to bring up when I can pluck up the courage (speaking of putting off…) to see the doctor, yet again!

        Oh, her characters would drive her round the bend! She would get so annoyed that it got to the point where I was wondering why she was doing it to herself. Hm, I’m not sure if that’s terribly reassuring for you to hear… sorry! But be assured that it’s certainly not a marker of poor planning or a bad writer!

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      • It definitely doesn’t suit everyone.There was a chart i remember seeing somewhere that showed the sleep/wake/work hours of famous artists and writers….for the life of me i can’t remember where this was, but i remember feeling reassured by it, because there was not one conventional routine amongst them. Some worked late into the night; going to bed VERY late, then rising late. Others woke early, worked for a few hours, ate, had a nap, went for a stroll, then back to work, etc. Goes to show there’s more than one way of doing things.
        The art studio sounds like ours was! T’was very convenient. Sorry to hear your university didn’t offer such flexible hours :/ Seems silly, because as we know, a huge amount of artists feel most creative and productive at night! ( especially as students, jeez!)

        Yeah, i think it’s – unfortunately- a rather common problem amongst creatives :/ It probably doesn’t help that The Arts seem a largely undervalued part of our culture. Which seems silly given how big a part art plays in our day to day. Everyone wants to listen to music; have decorative objects in their home; watch dramas and comedies on TV, get lost in a book…but very few people seem to stop and realise where these things came from, or what processes the people who made them had to go through to get said thing out of their head and into the homes/ experiences of consumers. It’s pretty crappy. Little wonder many creative people feel undervalued and unappreciated.
        Yeah, i think i should do the same! I think cognitive therapy could help? Maybe?
        No, no- it is reassuring! In fact, i feel a whole lot better about the writing today. I’ve realised that a big chunk of it ( originally the main idea, haha) needs to be taken out, put aside, and turned into a story by itself. A minor sideline has instead taken centre stage, and i had a bit of a lightbulb moment last night about how i can make the idea “make sense”. And this makes me happy because now i have 2 seperate ideas to work on. This always helps me, as i can “procrastinate” on one, by working on the other! Win win. Maybe this was all i needed πŸ™‚

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      • Ooh, that is very reassuring! I did also see an article once about staying up/working late and sleeping less being linked to intelligence. Or it might have been creativity, more specifically. Maybe there is something to it – I’m certainly happy to go with it!

        I can quite believe it. And yes, I’ve been thinking about therapy for some time (too long!) – probably the only way to go.

        Ah, well, good-o! That’s marvellous, and pretty darn clever; a procrastination that is, in itself, productive! Yay!

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      • It is, huh. Plus, just look at how differently cultures around the world approach the weekday. Siestas and late night dinners, etc. Back in ye olde days before electricity, many people engaged in “segmented sleep”, where they’d go to bed when it got dark, then wake up around midnight, light some lamps and candles, get some stuff done, then go back to bed until dawn. The invention of the electric lightbulb has wreaked havoc on our circadian rhythms! Indoor lights ( and computer screens…oopsies) trick our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime.

        Haha, i’m certainly happy to go with the intelligence and creativity association! I’d say that’s DEFINITELY accurate πŸ˜‰

        It can be good so long as you get a therapist you feel comfortable with. In theory, cognitive therapy could be done on one’s own, but it’d probably be harder to stick with, plus having someone guide you through it whilst offering moral support and encouragement has gotta be beneficial.

        Well, fingers crossed it works out that way! If i can trick myself into thinking i’m procrastinating while i’m writing, it might just work!

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      • I never knew that about segmented sleep – how fascinating! Gosh, isn’t it incredible/mad how deep an impact electricity has had on our daily routine!? It does amuse me how people would send me texts and whatnot saying, “I’m in bed but can’t sleep :(“. PUT THE BLOODY PHONE DOWN!

        Haha! I agree πŸ˜‰

        Yeah, that’s one of my biggest reservations about the whole deal – the idea that I might get a cold therapist or one with whom I can’t connect. I do struggle with this talking business at the best of times. But who knows, it’s worth a shot, I guess. With my track record, saying that now means I’ll be going in for it in 2025! πŸ˜›

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      • Yeah, it’s interesting, innit. It is kinda crazy how far away from nature we’ve veered as a species. I think twe’ve seperated ourselves too much. It makes me sad to think that there are kids growing up in cities who’ve never been camping, or seen the stars at night. I think it robs them of an important awareness of our place in the universe; that we’re not the centre of it all, y’know? Anyway. I sound like a cranky old granny.
        Haha, but yes- that’s like me right now on the computer. It’s a quarter to 5 in the morning…no point going to bed now! I think cos i had 7 hours last night, i don’t feel quite so bad tonight ( or thismorning, rather)

        yeah, it can be a bit of a lottery. I’ve been to psychologists that i think are useless, but there have also been some really amazing ones. It’d be good if there was someone who knew of someone in the *amazing* category. Maybe the receptionists at a clinic/ office, whatever you call it would be able to make suggestions. I don’t know if they’re supposed to, but you’d think they’d have a good idea about what the personalities of the therapists working there were like?
        EEk! 2025 sounds too futuristic to be only 8 years away O.o I don’t like it! Hey, i’m not much better there. It’s easy to put that stuff off, innit :/

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      • No granny – you’re right! It’s a real shame if they haven’t been given those experiences. I will say that I never liked camping, at all, but it’s at least something I’ve done. Lots of schools here do send kids out on camping/activity trips. Seeing the stars, too, is a magical thing. I used to go out walking, often at night and would catch them (around here the light’s not too bad). The view always makes me feel so insignificant – but in the best way.

        I know!! To be honest, I still find 2017 to be unsettling in its futuristic appearance. I guess I wish it were still 2000. Scary indeed to think that kids born that year are nearly adults!

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      • Mefinx camping enjoyment has a lot to do with who you’re going with. Actually, there are a lot of variables. If the weather is bad, then it won’t be fun. Or if the location isn’t something you find comfortable or beautiful. But, then, it may just not be your thing! And that’s ok πŸ™‚

        I personally really miss camping. It was always remarkable to me how quickly i adjusted to that environment; how i’d forget about all the mod cons, and embrace a simpler life. I always felt a sadness when it was time to go home again. But… then when i did get home, i’d readjust to that life just as quickly. I still do think it’s nice to stay in touch with nature, though. We’re part of it; we came from it. I’d like to live in a more harmonious way with nature.

        Ooh, you’re right- that strange but oddly comforting sense of insignificance. It’s humbling, but also liberating. I’m glad you can do that sort of thing where you are. It’s pretty good like that up here, too. Nothing will compare to when i was a kid though; out whre we were there was zero light pollution, and you could see part of the actual milky way, very clearly. I haven’t seen that for many years, which is a shame.

        It’s disconcerting, isn’t it! I was born in the late 70’s!! That makes me feel ancient!

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      • I guess! It was a bit hectic and less than enjoyable being surrounded by classmates and teachers, there wasn’t a lot of time to take it all in. I love being out in nature generally, so maybe another shot at my own pace would be different.

        Yes, it’s a unique feeling; I suppose it makes you realise just how little your problems really are? That sounds wonderful! I don’t think it’s ever been that clear around here. I imagine right out on the Broads you’d find some good spots, though.

        Yes, it is! I still think of all the 2000/millennium bug hoo-ha and it seems like a couple of years ago at most!


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