i am not a morning person.
i have never been a morning person. as a child insomniac, i read all night with a flashlight, so my mother wouldn't catch me. when she did she'd take away the flashlight and tell me to go to sleep. instead, i'd lie, sleepless, in bed for a while. then i'd go raid the refrigeration.
fear was a big part of the problem. the night terrified me. i thought there was a man under my bed, Hitler hid in my closet, and some maniac lurked outside the window.
food comforted me, but not entirely.
i wouldn't fall asleep until the sun came up -- then i felt safe. needless to say,i was less than perky when it was time for school, and i'd get ready late, miss the bus and beg to stay home from school. (i hated school. with my chubby exterior, frizzy hair and braces AND very cruel classmates, school was hell.)
my sleep (or lack of sleep) habits stayed with me. in high school, my single mother dated strange men and stayed out all night. sometimes, she'd sleepover at her boyfriends several nights in a row.
those nights loomed long. i'd try not to move off the couch, so i could watch all around for attackers. the upstairs was off limits, god knows what waited up there.
i stayed up all night and ate. and ate. and ate.
in college, anorexia, then compulsive eating took over. i don't remember sleeping. although financially strapped, i paid for cable, just so i'd have company all night. by morning, i was vaguely comatose. a fat zombie.
sophomore year of college i gained 60 or so pounds, through eating and not sleeping. finally, i dropped out of college and kind of dropped out in general for a few years.
this pattern became my life. in my twenties and thirties, i starved myself down to nothing until bulimia hit me hard. binging and purging ruled my nights.
morning's became the major nemesis. after long nights of no sleep, i dreaded each and every daylight. going to work proved an excruciating experience. i had two major jobs during those years, each wanting me there by 8 am. day after day, i floated excuses for why i was late. or i'd drag in, barely able to talk, focus or think. day after day, i felt like shit.
i still fight this fight. i'm taking trazedone for sleep (or else i won't) and wake up (if you can call it that) in that old state of zombie-ness. it takes hours to feel semi-normal. my current job is fairly flexible and most of the time i can work from home. many of my clients are on the west coast, so it's useless to contact them before noon here in new jersey.
but we do travel a lot and have early meetings. what a struggle. each morning is frightening and unpleasant. my usual traveling companion, my brother, could run a marathon before my alarm even goes off. even when it's REALLY early.
my boyfriend also bounces out of bed, full of vim and vigor. morning's his favorite time for everything, from chores to long conversations about important topics. all before coffee.
on days off, he wants to get up with the sun and head to the beach. aargh. it's just painful. it hurts.
i long to be a morning person. someone who gets up, heads to the gym, eats a heathly breakfast, reads The New York Times and gets to work before nine, when i'm, in truth, still groggily trying to open my eyes.
it kind of cuts a life in half -- officially waking up at noon. and what if i get a "real" job again. and showing up for lunch doesn't cut it?
still, i'm not a morning person.