But, however frustrating it may be, there is one amazing thing about not being able to sleep - the things it drives you to do in the meantime. It takes about forty minutes of forcing my eyes shut or staring at the walls before I simply cannot take it anymore and have to start doing things. It's incredible the extent of things one can be driven to do out of a desperate frustration from sleep deprivation. Hell, its currently 5:16am and I'm sat on my bed tapping away, overlooking the misty sleeping street below, after waking up as usual, at 3:57am. Sometimes its rudimentary things like tidying my room or getting round to answering those emails, but the only thing which I find that truly prospers within me during the wee hours of the morning, is creativity.
That was the situation when, a few weeks ago, I discovered the little orange book. I didn't even remember bringing it to university with me, but when I saw it, I was overwhelmingly glad I did. Now, for as long as I can remember, I've kept journals. These aren't like diaries where I write what I did each day (although some of them are failed attempts to do so), these are notebooks filled with my thoughts, feelings, memories and stories - pretty much an explosion of my mind onto paper. I always said to myself that one day, when I retire, I shall collate all of my writings and put them together in chronological order and create one massive book of fifty years of rambling. Then recently I realised, that this is exactly what I'm doing right now.
Anyway, my little orange book is the holy grail of these. This is the one where I believe my most impressive work and my most bizarre and magnificent thought processes are kept. This book holds theories about the universe, senseless ramblings about intelligent design and the birth of humanity and even a design of my own city. It began in July 2011. I remember the exact time, place and reason why I bought it.
I was on the Greek Island of Zante. (And no, not on a girls holiday getting pissed and partying - the idea of that repulses me.) I was staying with my family in a beautiful secluded hotel at the foot of a mountain, where the long sun-drenched days stretched endlessly and the exotic birds sung merrily in the bountiful vegetation around the turquoise pool. And I felt positively morbid. Simply for one fact: I was in love. (The fact that I was rendered in such a morose state in such a beautiful and fleeting place is but one of the reasons that contribute to my current zero tolerance of love and relationships, but that's a whole other kettle of fish which I shall go on to rant about at a later time.)
I was full on, head over heels, in a near-death feverish state - lovesick. The gentleman in question, I shall refer to as Oscar. And my god, is the back story of him worth telling one day. But for now, world, this is your first introduction to Oscar. Although in some ways I resent Oscar in reference to how foolish and narrow-minded I become in romantic situations, I owe a lot of my mind to him. Oscar is an extraordinary individual with a presence and unexpected intellect which inspires, and a sense of creativity and greatness of mind which seems to diffuse through the air like a tangible substance, infiltrating the minds of the people who spend time in his presence. I am firm in the belief that I would not be able to think and write in the way that I do now, if it wasn't for him. In fact, I said this to him not a month ago;
"When I am alone, I can just about bare the force of my own thoughts. But when I am with you, it feels as though you give the tiniest, most minuscule amount of matter to my thoughts, a little speck of dust, point zero zero one gram to every idea in my brain. So much so, that at times it feels I cannot even hold my own head up due to the sheer weight of my own thoughts."
Imagine having that, being separated from him, and having nowhere to write. I was losing my mind. So I went down to the local Greek market and bought the only notebook they had in the whole place - a little book with a plastic orange cover. For the next week I unleashed sweet, beautiful hell into that bad boy.
Now, being two years on and a whole other life away at uni, I discovered this notebook one night when I could not get to sleep. It blew my mind to read back over all the things written in there, right from the very first day I'd bought the book and hilariously melodramatically titled it "The lonesome, pinesome sentiments of an abandoned sweetheart in Greece." I smiled whimsically reading back through all the stuff about Oscar, and all the observations and musings about the world I'd written, but then I found some stuff that I hadn't remembered writing, and it was about Mr X. This was not my ground-breaking impressive work or the holy grail stuff I'd written with Oscar in mind, but this really took me aback. Although this was written toward the end of the little orange book, it seems appropriate to relay this now, to put a close on the whole Mr X scenario. And to be honest, there is no sense of a logical time line in any of this blog, so why start now! This was what I'd written, and reading it again filled me with this profound self of peace and nostalgic wisdom;
"27th June 2012 - Midnight.
Before I start, there are some things I feel I should justify to myself. I do not believe I am completely naive. I am trying my hardest to keep a realistic, level head. But there are those times, when you can simply relish in being nothing but ignorant, this delightful, beautiful ignorance where you are completely and utterly clueless as to whether good or bad may be coming your way, all you have are the memories of what has happened so far and the knowledge of what is happening to you right now - THIS is the feeling that you live for. THIS is the feeling which you so long for in the mundane. I never wish for happiness, I never wish for contentment - I wish for that heart-aching, stomach-swirling, nail-biting, soul-consuming, thrill. THIS. I am going to do my best to describe what this feels like right now, because I know this could all disappear in a mere nanosecond.
For want of a better metaphor, I feel like a beach. A veritable fucking coastline. Hahaha. (I actually wrote hahaha to myself in a diary... hahaha.) I get these low, steady, predictable waves of adrenaline course through my body when I think about the situation, when I think about him. Adrenaline which swells and blooms, like the deep oceanic tidal swells, far out to sea. But then there are the times, when I'm not tuned into my thoughts, when my mind can be idly wandering, or I'm watching TV, reading a book or having a menial conversation, when BOOM this huge tsunami surges through my body, sweeping all my attention away from every other distraction as it goes, and like seawater crashing against the shore crawling across every nook and cranny in the sand, rocks and pebbles, creeping in every tiny available gap - this intense surge of excitement, adrenaline and thrill floods every vein and artery, every fibre of my soul to the very tips of my fingers like golden light, illuminating my being to this beaming incandescence.
I am completely powerless to resist these rogue attacks which get my heart pounding and my stomach swirling, just as the shore is powerless to resist the breaking waves. But I am thankful for that. I was starting to feel that it had been so long since something ignited my soul, that my heart would've forgotten how to respond. The mere memories of what has happened so far just melt me. This is one of the most incredible opportunities I have ever been given, I just hope I don't fuck it up. You know, for someone who makes so much of their own luck, I'm godawfully superstitious.
I'm not writing this for him, Katie, I'm writing this for you. For two reasons. One - do not ever forget what this feeling feels like. It doesn't matter how long you go without being ignited by another person, it will happen again, often when you least expect it. And no doubt, bigger and better than any time before. Two - You make your own luck in life. You can't wait for opportunity to come knocking on your door because life is short, and you can spend the rest of your time waiting. Instead, you go out there, you see an opportunity and you do not hesitate. If it fails, so what? It fails. What have you lost? You've certainly not lost any time, and in the end, isn't that what we all fear losing the most?
3am - no closer to sleep. He's like a plague on my brain. Every time I feel tired and my head starts to feel heavy, I turn out the light and BOOM there it is again, that tidal wave of happiness. The fact is, I know this is the most dangerous way a girl can let herself think. Someone once said to me 'Never let your whole happiness depend on something which you could quite easily lose." But when, realistically, does anyone actually say that to themselves, and mean it? That's the sort of cynical shit you say after you've been hurt and pretend that you knew it all along. I know letting my imagination run away with itself is dangerous and I may want to scream this from the rooftops, but I understand my complex relationship I have with Lady Karma, and this is so cruelly tempting her to prick up her ears and take note.
But this is like a drug. I know it's bad to be this foolishly optimistic and painfully naive, but I think I want to let myself spiral out of control and wallow in this pleasure and gratification because I live to dream. I do try and give myself a reality check every now and again but the fact of the matter is I am a daydreamer, a fantasist and however much I hate to admit it, a hopeless romantic. At the end of the day, this situation will undoubtedly turn out the way I secretly know it inevitably will, but for now, who cares if it's being naive? After all this time, I think I've decided, even if I do get hurt, that I am allowed to let myself completely and entirely lose myself in this boundless, unprecedented, blindingly brilliant, soul-affirming happiness. Because right now, you know, I think I deserve it."
I think what surprised me most, was the tone in which I spoke to myself. I guess when I wrote it I knew that I was going to discover it again in the future, or look back on this one day when I really needed help. It's weird, I seem to constantly learn things from my old self, like I'm living my life in reverse. Most people say "I wish I knew then, what I know now" or wish they could've given their younger self advice from their older self, but for me its the complete opposite. Past Katie seems to know exactly what's going to happen to me, and the only way I seem to make progress as Present Katie, is to go back and have a conversation with Past Katie. She's just so much goddamn wiser than I am.