As I walked up the ramp leading towards Northwestern’s student center earlier today, I felt a rush of blood to my head and nearly passed out. I was between midterms, this having been the busiest and most stressful midterm week of my undergraduate career, and it seemed like a nightly dosage of four or five hours of sleep and a diet consisting entirely of Cheetos and tacos was no longer enough fuel to function at even a below-average level. I sat down at a table on the center’s lower level and stared at Lake Michigan, its composition not unlike my own, cold, immobile, and brimming with chemicals and garbage.
There was a time when this was not an uncommon occurrence in my life. My freshman year of college was defined by sleepless nights of tossing and turning and crying. I fell asleep during every single algebra class my sophomore year of high school, and often sang incoherently during the time our teacher allotted for working on homework. I almost quit my job a couple of years ago after I slept through an alarm for the third consecutive day. I once wrote an AP English essay at four in the morning after watching The Big Lebowski, only to have the teacher use my introductory paragraph (without my name attached, thankfully) as an example of how not to write an essay. I would have been more embarrassed had I been able to keep my eyes open. My average night in high school involved watching Late Night With Conan O’Brien, attempting sleep, failing, repetition of the last two steps, and finally turning the TV back on and hoping to fall asleep some time before five o’clock thanks to the white noise of ESPNews.
But that is in the past and today was an anomaly. I sleep easy now, for the most part, except for when I step on nails or get sucked into internet rabbit holes. Life is good, and I am happy.
I drank a Red Bull while my eyes consumed the lake earlier, and I just made myself a coffee, my second of the day. I am hoping the caffeine assuages my haziness, as I have to drive home in an hour or so. Home is Milwaukee right now. It is the city that I have lived in for the majority of my life, but that is not what makes it home. It is home because she is there.