There is a slight-but-important distinction between the two ideas presented in this title, I swear. Also, hello, welcome to my spooky Christmas story!
Context: I’ve been mostly-in-charge-of-myself (with relatively more successes than failures) for a long time. I’m competent at Not Opening the Door to Strangers. I can use the stove and I know all the different kinds of wounds and how to first-aid them, and to never throw flour on a fire and when to call Emergency Services or Poison Control. In fact, I even have a long and uneventful history of supervising other people. Most of my income from ages 11 to 19 was derived from babysitting—sometimes as many as five tiny people at once. I’m very good at remembering who will eat sandwiches with mustard on them, and who won’t.
Over the years, I’ve proven how very much I’m allowed to be in charge of myself.
There is one specific area in which I am really, really bad at supervising myself. It’s when I’m asleep.
I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking right now, which is that most people don’t actually need very much in-sleep supervision.
And I’ve talked about this before, but I think maybe I didn’t convey how dramatically bad at sleeping I am. I am SO BAD that it’s almost like a joke or an urban legend. Among my distance-friends—anyone who ever has to travel with me, really—it’s become a poorly-understood but generally-accepted phenomenon, kind of like gravity, complete with concise, factual explanations for the benefit of others (Tess) and dramatic reenactments (Maggie).
Sharing a room with me is the kind of thing that no one is just born ready for. It’s an intermediate endeavor. You have to work up to it.
At home, the situation is normalized. It’s fine. I’m married to someone who pretty much takes these things in stride and explains to me (patiently) that no, the ceiling does not in fact have an octopus on it, and the closet is just a closet, and it’s not flooding outside, the water is not higher than the windows.
But sometimes, D has to go out of town for work, and then I’m left unsupervised.