The darkest hour
For years now, this has been a waking time. On a good night, I rouse, see the clock, grimace, shut my eyes, and will myself back to sleep. A typical night leaves me restless for another hour or so. Lately, I've just surrendered and gotten up.
I turn to late night TV, the internet or some light entertaining book. I might pop in a movie. I have to have watched it enough that its familiarity might comfort me back to sleep, though this time in the comfy chair rather than the bed. It has to be good enough to really watch again if that doesn't happen. I might give myself a facial, pluck my eyebrows or wax dip my hands. I just won't do a manicure. This time of the day guarantees I'll smudge fresh polish. It's a good time of night for popcorn, and that can actually set the stage for small, frequent meals during the day.
The main thing is that I cannot use this time to think. Not 3:00 a.m. Even the brightest happy thoughts can be twisted at this time of day. This is a time for LOLcats or throwing things at people on Facebook. My thoughts have not been so dark that I'm running from them. I'm just a little hesitant to even give them an opportunity to turn dark. I miss thinking on that level, skating the line between mindful, honest observation of self and gut level emotion, trying to contain both within the discipline of lucid self expression.
I've gotten some good writing out of those deeply introspective moments, and I've really missed writing well. Losing my "voice" this year has made the other losses harder. It's an incredible buzz when I'm writing well, but the risk of introspection, especially at this time of night, is just too high.