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  • Olivia Hill

Heavy Lids Are The Devil's Mind Control


"You look tired," my therapist says pointedly.

I can't believe that in 2019, a woman is saying that to another woman. Tell me my mascara is clumpy or that my faded dye job looks ratty, but as the woman whose sole professional purpose is to let me "find the answers myself" don't say that. It comes as a hard pill to swallow because it was chucked across the room at my face with the velocity of an MLB pitcher.

But she's not wrong.

This is the third chapter of my life that I'm forgoing extreme amounts of sleep to live in the chaos of the day and the night. The first chapter being the constant party that was college, the second being finding a love for life by staring at the moon under a palm tree on an island--so romantic and picturesque it's saccharine. And now I’m pursuing my late night career dreams while entering a new relationship that I question daily.

Sitting across from her, I don't think I look that shitty, but looking back on blurry photos from today’s POV, I realize I look lumpy.

This 50 minute therapy session is the first time that anyone is calling me out on my snoozing err.

"If you're not getting good sleep, all this work we do here is for nothing."

At the time, I'm paying $40 per session so I kind of shrug it off; compared to today’s rates which have me in bed early the night before a session like I'm prepping for the SAT’s.

But I hear her, and it makes an impact. And just like sobriety, lifting weights, eating kale, and all the other good practices I've eventually put into my routine, it's easy to understand the concept up top, but takes a few years and some falls to rock bottom to initiate the permanent change.

So I continue to think it's hilarious to eat a spoonful of sugar before going out to the Echoplex and dancing til close, staying up another three hours looking at the Griffith Observatory from a brick walled 1-bedroom. And even after that chapter ends, I just change the nouns and adjectives like Insomniac Madlibs: I think it's amusing to suck down the extra sweet sauces from our Thai take out before going out to a Tiki Bar and fighting til close, staying up another three hours looking at The Hollywood sign from a modern 3-bedroom. Life becomes a bit of a washing machine tumble.

Like the ever so popular Tik Tok recommended book, my body keeps score of every night I've fucked it. I end up in the Emergency Room on a non-descript Valentine's Day and the institution hits me with a 5-thousand-something bill for all tests to come back inconclusive. It's not even Cedars-Sinai so I can't even revel in a moment of feeling like a celebrity.

I look back on every moment in my life that I made not only the worst decisions, but a long string of them and realize the days leading up to these moments were fueled by no fuel. No processing of mental images into my long term memory via dreams, no natural release and processing of melatonin, no healthy amounts of sleep.

The idea that "idle hands are the devil's play things" rings too capitalistic for my liking. Hands need rest! Hands can sloppily doodle or flop in a repeated direction between work engagements. But heavy lids, swollen under eye bags? That's an iPhone alert popping up for the Devil to come ruin your life.

It'll come in the form of casual thoughts that sound like your own: Make shitty, impulsive decisions. Nap at random hours and miss engagements. Eat hard sugar, strong caffeine, and carbs, carbs, carbs. Snap at your family for caring. Text the ex you've had blocked for 6 months. Avoid emails from your peers asking if you could please give notes on their script. Question whether kind gestures & "I love you"'s ever had any truth behind them. Find the time to talk shit that stems from insecurity under the guise that you're "just making self aware observations." Eat more carbs with added American Cheese. Be the worst version of yourself imaginable.

The Devil will make sure you they're controlling your actions until they're so built up you are nauseously sick: mentally, physically, emotionally.

I’m almost embarrassed to say that it took the lockdown of a global pandemic to get my sleep schedule straight. It took a government mandate for me to check out this whole “prioritizing sleep” thing everyone had talked about because I wasn’t able to go out every night to avoid laying with myself. After a few months, I felt a new level of steady I hadn’t experienced before; it felt like boredom but it also felt like peace. I made sound decisions, I didn’t act as irrationally, and now anytime I deviate from good sleep I can immediately feel the Devil prod at my brain.

So for the love of Dog, get some rest.

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This has been a part of the series Sad Stories To Make Sense of My Mind. The Table of Contents will direct you to a list of descriptions to choose what heart string you'd like pulled next.

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