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Being Left Out and Simply Being Different Can Feel So Similar

·432 words·3 mins

I was excited when you suggested that we go to bed early. We were both exhausted. It seemed like a good chance to catch up on sleep.

Every time this happens, when we retire early and I get excited, I’m reminded of the difference between childhood and adulthood. Because I can remember being very small and upset that it was time to go to bed. I was particularly upset that my bedtime was earlier than most of my large family — everyone except my younger brother. We were typically put to bed around the same time.

But while my brother mostly accepted it, I was often quite dejected at bedtime. Especially because I could still tell that other members of my family were up. I could hear them down in the living room, watching TV, having conversations. I’d sneak into the stairwell to listen.

Occasionally, I’d wander into the living room, where I’d promptly be turned around and sent back to my room.

Where I would cry and cry.

So it’s funny now that I get excited about the prospect of going to bed early.

Although it wasn’t the sleep that troubled me… It was the feeling of being left out. Of people having fun after I went to bed. And since we were both going to bed, that wasn’t a risk here.

Except now it’s 4 am and I’ve been up for an hour, after a nightmare woke me. Unable to go back to sleep. Godzilla knows I tried. So it’s just me in the darkness alone with my thoughts. As the minutes wind on, it’s less and less likely that I’ll be able to get enough sleep that I won’t be a zombie today, even if I were to manage to somehow get back to sleep.

And as I wish I could be asleep with you, on my way to having a day in which I’m not totally sleep deprived, I can’t help but feel left out again. Like I’m standing on the outside looking in — at everyone who seems to have it together, to have some kind of plan that they’re following.

And it strikes me now — how being left out and simply being different can feel so similar. How your emotions can be sloppy about recognizing the difference between others excluding you and isolating yourself.

And as I do, I find myself ruminating on all the repercussions of this and all the times I’ve seen it happen to me or someone else.

Which isn’t helping me fall back asleep. But hey. It is what it is.


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