Published

One way to fall asleep

Lying in bed for ages thinking “why can’t I get to sleep”, then I finally realize every muscle in my body, every fiber of my being is tense.

How does it surprise me every time? A mindful body scan usually does the trick.

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When I was a kid, probably around 5, I distinctly remember this moment where I was lying in my twin bed staring at the doorway and suddenly thinking, “How do you fall asleep? … I don’t know how to fall asleep!”

I realized that I had never actually experienced the moment of falling asleep (of course not, I was half-asleep at that point) and started overthinking it. It became this process I didn’t understand, and then I was just lying there wide-eyed not understanding and confused about what to do next.

I’m not sure if it was that night or a few nights later, but I eventually asked my mom how to fall asleep. She looked at me and said, “… Um, just close your eyes?” I did, and to me the next day, it seemed like I had fallen asleep instantly. It felt like a revelation, that there was such a simple answer.

I sometimes notice nowadays, that moment between wakefulness and sleep.

Every once in a while I notice my thoughts getting weirder and more abstract and suddenly think, this is it. It’s quite an incredible state, nothing like it. I guess it’s lucid dreaming, but it’s so short… I try to stay in that state but it’s almost impossible, thinking about it wakes me up and leaning in to it makes me fall asleep.

Sometimes I get in to the same state upon waking, but unfortunately that’s usually because I’m coming out of a nightmare.

Published

first time using a hot water bottle

River Eden at sunrise, Appleby-in-Westmoreland

10 years ago today, I spent a few days at a very hospitable couple’s house in Appleby-in-Westmoreland, Cumbria. I was about two weeks in to a six-month stint studying illustration at Glasgow School of Art. This is the River Eden at sunrise when we walked in to town to pick up the paper.

They had a beautiful stone house on Battlebarrow and kept chickens in the backyard. I’d never seen a house quite like it, you just don’t get places that old in most of the US. They put a hot water bottle in my bed at night and introduced me to QI, both firsts for me. I was only there for a couple nights, and they made me feel very welcome in the UK during a time when I felt pretty untethered.