smiling through my tired eyes

Ever since I can remember, I've had a hard time sleeping. Mostly falling asleep, but sometimes staying asleep. I heard that insomnia and difficulty sleeping is more commonly reported among trans and nonbinary folks. Not sure about others, but personally, I experience racing and fleeting thoughts...primarily related to some aspect of my gender. It seems the moment I lay down to fall asleep, the most deeply personal (and sometimes scary) topics and feelings rise to the surface of my mind and body. For years, I attempted to smother these thoughts with anti-anxiety and sleeping medication...until they no longer worked. Around that time that I began to actually listen and pay attention to what surfaced during these quiet and lonely hours. The more I listened the more clearly and strongly the internal messages about who I know myself to be came through. During the early stages of coming to terms with my gender and coming out to my family, these hours awake were some of the most painful and important moments of reflection and realization. Now, on those seemingly sleepless nights in the company of only my thoughts, I take a moment to appreciate this quiet lonely space that allows the most authentic me to emerge.