I remember those nights I awoke from nightmares, my sheets damp from sweat yet my body shivered like I had just finished an ice bath. My teeth would chatter and I’d scan my bedroom for the monsters, finding crazy-shaped heads in the shadows and green eyes peeking out from closed closet doors. I would slowly, carefully step out of bed so as not to wake them and sprint to my parent’s bedroom telling my seven-year-old self, don’t look back. I would traipse over to my parent’s bed and squirm in between them, and it was in the warmth of familiar faces that I could fall back asleep within seconds.
But something changes when you get older. I’ve learned monsters are not shadows in the dark nor are they nightmares that disappear when the sun rises. You can’t just wake up and find yourself back in your own bed anymore. They are within you and they are wherever you look. You may even get a better night’s sleep now because for you, seven hours of closed eyes means seven hours of escape.
But don’t push the monsters away.
Set them free.
Let them out of your mind, your blood, your bones.
— Leigh, day 337