THE TREE RING GIRL FROM MASSAGE & POST 2AM INSOMNIA 

Can’t sleep. No explanation. 

In bed at 8pm. Up at 11 because I lost my nose ring. Floundered but found it. 

Up again at 12. Then 1.

Sleep is the brain’s time to repair, rebuild, consolidate. That’s what they say. I believe it. Lying awake, alert. I watched my mind flip the pages of my to-do list. Updating the inventory. Replaying conversations. Methodically. All while I wished wished wished for the oblivion of sleep.

At 2am, I stopped pretending. Kate said what are you doing. I said I can’t sleep. She said take melatonin. I put water on the stove for coffee. 

It’s 2:17am now. 

The nose ring wasn’t in the bed, or on the pillow. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t return to restful REM. I felt the sheet, then the carpet. Nothing. Got my phone for its flashlight. Still nothing. Walked to the bathroom. Closed the door. Turned the light on. Sleepy panic. I’m not me without my nose rings. I don’t have spares. I took off my hoodie. The nose ring clanked against the floor. I sat on the toilet and peed. Sitting is better. Less noise, less ricochet, less cleaning. I checked my phone. 

Then went back to bed.

Maybe it’s the phone. Even in Night Mode. Even without the blue light. There weren’t any dramatic texts or juicy emails. A comment from someone saying she’s interested in the couch on FB Marketplace. A message from the gal I massaged yesterday saying dope massage and she’ll leave a review on Tuesday. 

Speaking of the massage gal yesterday, her friend from Virginia came in too. At one point during her massage, the Virginia friend said to me that people are like trees. We have these rings of depth. Like the further in you go, the more vulnerability and trust. The less ego. The more centered. I said mmm interesting but what was interesting was that she said we also create ripples with every word, thought, action. Every day. All the time. 

—my 2:38am mind interrupts, shouting out the costs of being up this early. I’m going to be tired. I’m going to be cranky. I’m going to have diminished sex drive. I’m going to drag. I’m going to suffer. Animals are howling outside. Not sure if it’s cats or coyotes or what. 

The tree ring girl said we can choose our thoughts, and therefore choose our ripples, and therefore create our reality. 

I asked her if she’d heard of Sam Harris and she said no and I said well it doesn’t matter he is just a guy who makes the argument really convincingly that humans don’t have any meaningful free will even though it appears and feels like yes yes we definitely do. Like why did I decide to put a period there and not keep going? Was it me? Or why did you scratch your forehead or push your finger into your nostril or….

The tree ring girl said we are like trees with many rings and that the outer ring may say one thing that comes from deep deep deep within and that’s why we really need to listen, to really center ourselves, so we can see the center from which it all flows. 

Normally I tell massage clients that I’ll respect their space and if they talk to me then I’ll reciprocate and talk to them but otherwise, I’ll let the silence do it’s thing. 

We had a staff meeting yesterday at the yoga studio and the owner is named Clark and when we were in a circle he went through the meeting agenda which was like: make sure to enter new students’ names in the iPad, and make sure to sweep the front area after class, yada yada. The last thing he said was to respect silence. He said talking is nice and explaining poses is nice, but he said it’s also really nice to just let the poses do their own work. 

I tried to take his advice this morning while lying in bed. But it wasn’t silence. It was the pounding of my fists against the outer rings of my tree. I wonder if the tree ring girl would say that I’m not really listening. Or if it’s just that sometimes the only thing to hear is the pounding of fists. 

 

>>>NOTE TO THE READER. Babies need touch. That’s what Google says. Both psychologically and physiologically. I think we’re all just large babies. With permanent teeth. Underwear instead of diapers. Paleo diet instead of breastmilk. If these Alt Dad Diary posts touch you, touch me back. You can support me and my diary project by sharing a post, writing me a note, or with some cold hard cash on Patreon. For more details, check out patreon.com/altdaddiary. I always say this but it’s true. Even $1/month (or 3 cents a day) is galactic, because think about how sustainable that contribution is in the aggregate. Namaste and feel your innermost tree ring and Happy Monday. 

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