The Perks of Insomnia

10 June 2014

If you follow me on twitter or instagram it's probably not news to you that I am an insomniac. Indeed, I'm typing this at 05.11. I've always been a night owl. It could be down to the fact I'm creative - I hear it's common amongst creative types. Or it could be because I live with my parents and the only time I get absolute privacy is when they're asleep - even when we all sit in separate rooms they'll insist on wandering in and asking what I'm doing or who that girl is (usually in reference to a you tuber, whom they seem to think will be someone I know intimately even if it's a case of I've been clicking through sidebar videos for an hour). When they're asleep no one comes in and interrupts me and as an INFJ I like my alone time. What seemed to begin as a case of night time just being more convenient - my brain seems to suddenly be awake and function better once the clock hits 01.00 and, as I said, I like to be alone and be left alone - seems to have now developed in me being able to go days without sleeping.

Now, it's not exactly ideal. Because it means I do tend to get exhausted but even when I try to go to sleep I still can't. So I can see why people call if 'suffering' from insomnia. However, in the summer months especially, insomnia affords certain privileges.

There's a stillness to summer mornings - a happy stillness that the winds and rains of winter mornings just don't have. Rain in the summer seems refreshing and light and plays tinkling tunes on the windows.

The sun rises in a glorious fashion and some morning it's pink, and some mornings it's orange and some mornings it's gold. And the clouds seem fluffy, like they've been drawn by a 5 year old whose sky is a perfect shade of blue and whose clouds (and sheep) are just lots of lovely half curves. Birds sing and it's not marred by cars or trains or lawnmowers.

There's a perfect stillness and beauty to summer mornings as the sun rises between 4am and 6am that just doesn't seem to exist any other time of year. And it's on those mornings that I feel truly privileged to be blessed with insomnia and be able to appreciate it. I feel like the only person in the world who's awake and like I've been let in to the most exclusive of magical parties, where the only other guests are flowers and birds and faeries and dryads. Because in those still mornings it's easy to imagine that creatures who hide from us during the day are out there. It's a truly spellbinding time.

And it's a time to allow me to reflect in peace - which isn't something I get all that often. It's a time when I get to really appreciate true beauty and actually think about what's important in life.

I get frustrated all the time with the fact I don't have a 'popular' blog, and hundreds of thousands of youtube subscribers. I get frustrated that my boyfriend just doesn't seem to know how to take outfit photos to come out the way I'd like them to, no matter how many times I show him Atlantic Pacific. I get frustrated that I talked about certain products months before other, bigger you tubers or bloggers but they'll get the credit for bringing it into the blogosphere. I get frustrated that I don't think I'll ever get back to being a size six and I get frustrated that my ability to put an amazing outfit together is overlooked because I can't take photographs that show it off well and I won't look like a semi professional model in them anyway to show the outfit off to the best advantage, even if I did have an amazing photographer.

I get frustrated about loads of other stuff too, but let's just keep this one about blogging.

But being awake in these magical hours makes me appreciate the bigger picture. Because really, in twenty years time will I be upset that my blog I had when I was in my early twenties didn't have 1000s of followers and I wasn't able to buy a house and go on fantastic holidays off the back of my youtube income? Well, maybe I will be - but only if I don't let myself move on in life.

There's so much importance attached to 'making it' in the blogging world.

I was watching Miss Potter this morning morning (Netflix + Insomnia = Amazing Combination) and marvelling at her ability to see things in such a different way to everyone else. Marvelling at her ability to see magic in places others didn't. And I found myself thinking 'well maybe if I moved to the lake district I'd be enchanted and able to imagine a load stories about bunnies and kittens too'. The irony here begin that I'm a writer as well as a student and my first book will be published and available to buy in bookshops by the end of this summer (FYI, it's not written under my name - I didn't think it was good enough that I wanted it out there under my own name. See what I mean about being frustrated about not being good enough all the time? And this time I don't mean good enough for the blogging world, I mean good enough for my own standards - which are impossibly high as people constantly tell me.) But basically, my point is, as a creative individual I should be able to see the magic everywhere. To see things differently. And having insomnia allows me to tap into the part of me that does.

Day to day I worry about other people and what other people think and how I'm being perceived and whether I'm good enough. And during those early morning hours, before everyone else is awake, it feels like they don't exist and therefore they don't matter.

So instead of self wallowing about my ability - or lack of - to imagine bunnies pulling my parents' carriage as they headed off to a party and blaming it on the fact I wasn't in the lake district, I decided to talk a wander into the garden.

My grandmother keeps a beautiful garden, I really have to say. She actually owned her own company for a few years where she designed and landscaped other people's gardens because she was so good at it. Arthritis means she's not able to do as much to it as she'd like to anymore and she's added in a huge decking area plus three other seating areas in the garden to try and cut down on the amount of work it needs doing to it, but it's still a beautiful garden and she still spends all her free time there. I think you can just tell, looking at it, that it's a garden tended with love as opposed to one someone has paid someone else to come in and make look nice then maintain (which is sadly what I'll do if I ever have a garden as the green thumb has quite escaped me!)

So I was looking at it and thinking about starting a series of stories entitled 'Grandmother's Garden' - just some silly little things to keep me trying to see the magic in everything. Silly little stories about the pixies and faeries and nymphs and hedgehogs and birds that live in the garden.

And I started thinking about one little pixie wishing it would hurry up and be summer so she could get a new dress (pixies wear hydrangea petrels sewn together to make their dresses, don't you know?) And I started thinking about a flock of birds who all bullied one of the birds because he had a different pitch to his son than the rest of them, and he didn't fit in with the group.

Do you think birds do? Have a social order I mean? Not in the basic sense, because it's been proven that animals do. But I mean in the sense that we do. I mean in the sense that humans do, where people gain followers because they're nasty to other people, put them down and then everyone goes align with them because they don't want to be next. Do birds go through phases where certain things are cool for a while? Do birds claim ownership of certain things? Does one bird claim a tree then all the other birds have to pay that bird to nest there? Do birds have celebrity birds that they all talk about? Do birds cheat on each other then play Chinese whispers till all the birds know that Mr Atticus Pigeon had an affair with Mrs Ellie Robin? (Had to go for a Finch reference. And obviously we know Atticus would never do such a thing.) Do all the female birds then rally around Mrs Atticus Pigeon and tell her that he's a no good scoundrel and that she'd better divorce him right away?

Anyway, I'm off on a tangent here...

Basically what I was going to say is that life as a bird or a pixie seems a lot easier, you make your home, you find your own food and you can make your own clothes from flowers.

I think there's something about looking at nature that makes me feel quite immoral for how much importance I place on material possessions. And I don't think blogging helps, as you constantly see a new stream of things you want and you're constantly reading posts telling you to go ahead and buy it. Of course I'm not blaming blogging - before blogs it was magazines so it's not as if it didn't exist before blogging. But it exists so readily and in such abundance thanks to blogging - there's someone publishing a new post every nano-second now surely, and the various hashtags make finding those new posts so easy.

If the house was on fire I'd grab my cats and then my shoes and handbags. Seriously, I've thought about it. Once the cats were safe it'd be my shoes and handbags I'd want to save next. I suppose that's partly because we're in a digital age where grabbing photos and books isn't such an issue because they're all download to your kindle account an you've got a website where you've uploaded and stored the majority of the photos that you liked anyway.

But sometimes I feel the sentimentality and importance on the really important things has been lost in modern day life and especially in the blogosphere where you're not a real blogger unless you have Dipytique candles and every shade of blush that Nars makes. I feel that blogging really indulges my narcissistic & my materialistic sides and I'm not sure that's entirely healthy, especially when I estimate I spend almost more time in the blogosphere each day than I do in real life - between twitter, bloglovin, youtube and having access to all of these on my phone so that even a 15 minute train journey into town can be passed by watching a new youtube video, my life is becoming all consumed by a part of the internet that brings out two of my worst sides.

I'm not ready to take a step back from blogging, I love it. I'm just ready to spend a little more time in the real world and have a little more balance.

I think it's time where I realised that watching so and so's latest Primark Haul is actually not more important than having a conversation with the person next to me, that the non-blogger I'm at dinner with would actually like to have a conversation about something other than my next planned youtube video or skincare purchase that I want because  saw so and so's monthly favourites video, time that I realised my grandmother has tended our garden beautifully and that from time to time - even if it is between 4am and 6am - I should step away from everything electronic and just go out and appreciate what's around me.

I think it's just time I stopped sweating the small stuff. Because, as much as it might frustrate me right now, this blog is the small stuff. I love it, please don't under estimate the amount I love it and the amount of work and effort I put into it, but it is a small blog. I don't make any money from it and my next holiday isn't going to be funded by it. Neither is my mortgage, if I ever decide to get one. Which might never happen unless I can stop reaching those you've spent £100 now here's £5 towards something else you don't need landmarks on my SpaceNK card.

So for me, it's time to stop worrying. To just blog about stuff I like and hope someone else out there likes it rather than wondering why 100,000 other people don't like it.

For me, it's time to look at the bigger picture.

For me, it's time to invest a little more time in real life.

It's good to sometimes feel small and insignificant in comparison to something as majestic as a sunrise - it makes all your problems seem so much less than they are.

For me, it's time to go watch that sunrise.

Join the conversation!

  1. Great photos!

  2. LOVED this post. I've always been a night owl too; I used to think I had insomnia, but actually I think I just enjoy being awake when the rest of the world is asleep. 4am on a summer morning is my favourite, favourite time. When it just starts to get light but you can still see the last glow of the stars, and it feels like you're the only person in the whole city. Occhhhh. ♥
    Also, how did I not know you were writing a book?! Amazing! x

  3. This was such a beautiful post Roisin! Stunning pictures :) xxx

  4. What a beautiful post! I'm more of an early bird than a night own, but I do value my alone time. I always wake before my boyfriend and blog, drink coffee, and catch up while watching the sun rise. It's quite lovely :)


  5. Interesting post, I can definitely relate to a lot of the blogging doubts. Especially the boyfriend taking pics comment- why can't they just follow instructions and/or be pro photographers?!? Haha

    Faye x


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