partly because I was bored to semi-consciousness — partly because my mind took any opportunity to race. It took off in its own direction — seemingly aimless — at any chance, at any minor stimulation. Still does, by the way, but not being at school anymore, gives me leeway in a way I didn’t have back then. My mind would jump from one item outside the window, to another, to items in memory, to mental concepts, to dreaming, to… just about anything. Lots of the time I was half in a kind of sleep mode, my brain hibernating drenched in its own dreamy substances, feeling as if on endogenous overdoses of valium. Or on what valium is supposed to be like, but isn’t to me. Ordinary sleeping pills don’t make me tired. Alcohol awakens me too, most of the time.
At nights my mind raced. My body raced. At night there was never any natural valium, never any sleepiness, never any respite. It worked overtime. Hypervigilance as a method for staying awake at any cost. I lay awake. I spent my childhood and my youth laying awake in bed, evening, nights, into the mornings. When I was in kindergarten, I used to watch, or listen to, TV secretively in the hallway where mum and dad couldn’t see me. (Or I lay in bed screaming, but that’s another story… And as a baby, I screamed too, and never slept much. I was a horror.) Or I lay counting patterns on the bed, the linen, the wallpapers. Or pondering the cracks in the wooden floor or the transitions from dark to light in the gleams from doors and windows. When I was older, I read. Children should sleep at night. But what if they just can’t sleep?
I was always sleepy at the wrong time. I was always relentlessly hyperactive at the wrong time. There was a restlessness that never let my brain relax and naturally sleep inclined — except, apparently, when it was under the requirement to be attentive and I was required to sit still in a chair.
I still have a mind that gives me no rest. It’s not to much use, as a matter of fact. I still can’t sit on chairs. Unless I am to drift off to sleep, I need do all kinds of strange contortions. Physically. Or I must move around. Fatigue comes from being still and being bored by the lack of relevant mental input (that is, of such nature as I can process it), but then my body and my brain battle it by fighting, by drifting, by moving around, which means I can’t fall asleep — unless I fall asleep sitting up and — well, pretty much — involuntarily.
So for the past half decade I’ve been on medication that makes me actually sleep. Sleep like people normally do. They go to bed, and they fall asleep (reasonably fast). I didn’t know what that was like, but it’s a relief. If I forget the medication, I spend hour upon hour with a mind racing in every direction and a body that just can’t be still. I’d be bored, but because my brain is busy, there’s no falling asleep. I’m not bored in the same way I was bored during school days. My mind occupies itself. It did then too, but at night I’m consciously wanting it to bore itself unconscious, at day I want it to be constantly active as not to fall asleep (and the not sleeping at night leads to unbearable tiredness). So it’s like I’m my own worst enemy. As I said, nowadays I’m blessed with the drug-induced ability to sleep.
Anyway, I don’t know why I’m writing this. Perhaps it was my realization that I still suffer from recurrent states of unfocus and inattention, that I still can’t go to the supermarket without losing concentration, without feeling disassociated. And then it’s this feeling that I waste so many years — not learning. Not being allowed to learn anything. Being made to sit and listen and listen and listen — and not really hear anything. Never being instructed in a way I could have understood. Because I always was very capable when I got written instructions — but waldorf schools look with contempt upon children who read. You’re supposed to imitate. But what if you can’t? Well, you’re a lost cause, a hopeless child. You’re supposed to listen — preferably in awe and reverence (remember, these are characteristics waldorf aims at instilling in children) — but what if you just can’t get much out of it? What if listening and having to remember everything — rather than being allowed to write it down — means you can never do anything but fail? Well, then you’re the retarded child. And even if you really aren’t retarded, you’re compared to a model anthroposophic child and you fail and you fail and you fail. It doesn’t matter if you’re bright. If you can’t remember the instructions for wet-and-wet painting — you fail! And nobody will explain why you fail all the time.
Maybe you’ll be sent to “curative” eurythmy, which you hate. Or you’ll be evaluated by the anthroposophic doctor who diagnoses you with soul failure. You’re going to die. No more human incarnations for the failed children.