The neighbourhood I grew up in is a rough one. Gang wars, burglary, squatters and domestic violence that spilled out onto the street. From time to time there would be an abandoned car parked outside my house or just around the corner. It was filled with rubbish and planks of wood. And then, in the early hours of the morning we would smell the smoke and hear the sirens.
A beautiful but deadly blaze.
My biggest fear was that the flames would catch onto the branches of the tree that stood right outside our house and burn us alive just like it did to my friends family home. Five kids and the babysitter.
I think the fear was magnified by my mothers paranoia.
I would sleep on the floor of my parents bedroom because I was too scared to be alone. I don’t know why I thought that I would be safer in their bedroom. I guess it’s just one of those childhood things; the ignorant hope that the monsters weren’t actually real.
I knew the streets, being kicked out of the house at any given time.
I found my hiding place; an alcove, just wide enough to fit my frightened body in. I would crouch down in between the drainpipe and mean scratchiness of the walls. i would hold my breath every time the rushing waters of the drainpipe crashed down and shook the earth below me.
Its funny isn’t it, how that when you are so small everything around you is so big. And loud. And scary.
Oh and I still don’t light fires or carry hot soup.
Insomnia. Sigh.. I get tired just thinking about it. I have delved deep into my nightmarish past and come up with a possible explanation as to why I have chronic insomnia. This is not a diagnosis, rather an understanding of it from my own view.
we develop healthy sleeping patterns from the way we are taught as kids. This takes into account routine, calm atmosphere and positive encouragement towards sleep.
but what if your life as a child was one of constant disarray, the only people that were calm were your neighbours, and you got tied to the bed, whipped and threatened with death if you did not shut up and go to sleep?
Fear kept me awake for hours on end, straining my ears for the familiar sounds of doom impending footsteps.. I learnt to recognise her breathing, her walk, her climb. Each was as familiar to me as my own name. When I was awake, I was somewhat in control. It was when I was sleeping she had free reign to do whatever she wanted. it was that paralysing fear, of being vulnerable, that kept me awake at night and subsequently evolved into a habitual lack of sleep which affects me until today.
M. used these wooden tongs to scare me and my siblings and then would beat the shit out of us with them. We called them the ‘clapper’ because of the loud clapping sound they made. That sound still rings through … Continue reading →