I Believe in Bedtime Stories

March 18, 2011
When I was much younger than I am now, 5 or 6, I looked forward to bedtime. Not because I was exhausted or I wanted the day to be over, but because each night my mother would tell me a story. Sometimes she spoke of elegant princesses and other times of magical fairies with glittering wings. I would squeeze my eyes shut really tight and imagine. I envisioned myself sitting on a toadstool and sipping tea with the princess. Other times I was soaring through the sky with the fairies, weightless and worriless. Within minutes of listening to her soothing and loving words, I would drift away from reality and enter the mystical world of dreams.

Now that I am 16 I no longer find it as easy to succumb to sleep. I toss and turn each night, fraught with worry. It’s always too hot or too cold and my mind just won’t stop spinning. Desperate for a bit of shut eye, I researched and researched. I’ve tried it all, chamomile tea, rainforest sounds, the ocean roaring, and even aromatherapy. None of it worked. Not a single one. Finally I decided to quit asking the internet to solve my problems and try something I hadn’t done in years. I laid down in bed without tea, scented oils or any of that other stuff. I just closed my eyes really tight and told myself a bedtime story. I visualized myself standing on the beach alone, barefooted. The gentle breeze tousled my hair, I tasted the salt that hung in the air, and I felt the warm sand crunch in between my toes. No princesses nor fairies were featured in this story. It was just me. My breaths were deep and my heart beats in sync with the rhythm of the ocean’s roar. Once again, I was weightless and worry-free. My journey to the realm of dreams was swift that night.

I’ve realized that every now and then, we all just need to get away from the real world that’s chock full of anxiety and to do lists. I believe that we all need to tell ourselves a bedtime story at least occasionally, if not every night.

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