it wasn’t so long ago that i could endure all-niters and still work my way up to a normal day. neither an evidence of thriving eye bags on my face, nor a manifestation of artificial enhancers in my system, and i felt like my body had the capacity to perform normally. i was in my naive phase; just learning the ropes of life independently, earning a living while learning how to budget, while almost everybody thought i had the most perfect sleep the night before. almost everyone…
one teenage thanksgiving evening and a couple years back, my cousin invited me to check out a place with his friends during the weekend. a commercially-dilapidated warehouse nearby the raiders stadium where thrill-seekers enjoy the adrenaline-rush. a thousand heads were already out in the gates waiting. for almost half an hour we made it in, like rush hour traffic, and the cold november breeze still penetrated through our warm sweaters. it soon heated up as we got in.
the lights followed and percolated with the senses despite the dark mist’s omnipresence. at this moment the ears felt like they were the gate-keepers of this realm. there was a driving force crashing every nerve and vein inside, mono-chromatic chords turn dry appetites into bursts of exhausted yet agitated flows of energy as soon as the room gushed in with different forms of stimuli from all directions. the loud yet soothing beat of recurrence felt like thunder crashing into the skull, the fast-paced movement seen from the outside looked like slow flashes of life coming from within – it was like the soul was peering through the eyes, watching a movie in slow motion, the body feeling antsy but somehow there was a feeling of comfort similar to dying but not fearing the last stroke of death’s impalement. to the eyes and other senses, almost everyone felt like fainting but but at every end of heightened phenomena shouts of joy were heard – it’s like everyone’s souls flew up to the sky a hollow thump turns into full-blast, while my eyes stagger to the darkened room, drum and bass follows trance, and the mind was thirsty, floating, yet likened to being relieved.
i didn’t notice that i was stuck in the same phase, and a couple years of doing the same things every weekend, i realized i had to learn from many social mistakes and minimize the damage from that point on. the tracks of oakenfold, pvd, dieselboy, eventually went to the backburner – except for a few occasions – and i embraced the next phase.
playing in a band became productive, covering incubus tracks and the like, and some experience i went cold turkey on the e phase and found an alternative to the growing noteriety of sensation. a friend introduced me to a water pill, while he noticed a loss of appetite and esoteric chills. combine that with an excessive workout, a bizarre uneasiness to be productive, and he would feel like a blazing dragon-ball ready to turn muscles into slashed-out hoses. i tried the unknown lozenge, and i ended up staying up late with a good friend eating thai at 1 am. noticed that my body wouldn’t feel a tinge of breaking down after only sleeping for 3 hours. routine work would be normal, like i still have a capacity to ignite a sudden burst of energy waiting to explode from within. the workout in the evening would even intensify my natural endorphins to a higher plane. i stared at the mirror and felt like a superficial super-saiyen lifting 50-pounders with a bicep curl.
and my mind started to wonder what would happen if i kept on doing the same things over and over again. my soul was out in the middle of nowhere, wondering which direction to go. i chose the the first sign that might lead me somewhere, and the next phase was on.
next thing i knew, my self-proclamation stated that i have been up for 24 hours hitting the books while at least 40% of the time was spent on aim and surfing. staying up late during that phase wasn’t for the overnight sensation, it was a little inconvenient, but it felt kinda good. i felt like my life was at least going somewhere. it appeared that the wild phase was over while driving up to a nearby starbucks to grab myself a caramel frap at 6am in the morning. there would be times that i would study in the library the entire day, noticing the same student in the same position quite focused on her work. walked back to my pad to recoup and nuke some leftovers, and coming back to discover the same student in the same exact position. ‘she must be going somewhere,’ i thought. the feeling was somewhat sensational, almost similar to what the buddhist speaker’s claim as a state of nirvana while rolling on ecstasy. i’ve gone cold turkey during this point on.
there are times that i feel like having short-term blackouts. i would stare at the screen, twisting and turning those numbers after every theoretical lesson and seeing if something has actually hindered my ability to store more information. blackouts or not, i feel like i’m studying etymology in a meeting or just anywhere, trying to figure how such a simple word that i’ve read a million times came to be. my brain must be dripping on me. if i would imagine back then and picture myself doing those same things at that very moment from a sober perspective, how did it actually feel? sobriety can never bring a perfect experience, but a great memory can endure a lasting feeling.
things have turned calm lately. felt better actually. probably with a direction and a goal that i am looking forward to. i may have slept 4 hours once in a while, but the results weren’t just for me; they were being shared to others. and last night’s 11-hour calm repose reminded me of a few instrumental phases in my life.
sleep-deprivation, music and metabolism in concise review