It's 2:57 am and I'm obviously not asleep. Being awake at this time isn't unusual for me. It's my pattern most nights that I fall asleep early (my best friend calls it my "baby bedtime") then wake up somewhere in the 1:00 am to 3:00 am range. I'm awake for maybe an hour or so and then I got back to sleep and sleep through the night.

Insomnia, unfortunately, is also something I'm really familiar with. I've had bouts of insomnia so bad that I didn't want to go to bed, knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep - or sleep more than an hour or so. However, I haven't experienced that kind of ongoing, overwhelming anxiety for a little while now. (Thank God!)

This time was different. I woke up like normal and did what I usually do - play games on my phone and listen to ASMR videos on YouTube until I get sleepy again. But then I started thinking...

Those thoughts have continued racing through my mind ever since I woke up. I'll come back to them later.

After having the realization that sleep might not come again before morning, I decided to go ahead and get up. I had a snack (one part of not being able to sleep was that I was hungry) and laid down on the couch. Sometimes getting out of bed and going somewhere else helps. Tonight it didn't.

Those dang thoughts wouldn't calm down. I got some awards from the media outlet I often work for today - three awards for my photography. At first, I was thrilled.

Then I found out that a photography assignment that I've done for the past three years - one of the biggest and a great income-generator - has been cut back. Instead of doing the entire conference, I've only been asked to shoot the first day. 

I was really surprised and thought I heard wrong. When I clarified, the person I was speaking to mentioned budgetary reasons as to why they have to cut back this year.

So, I have incredibly mixed emotions. 

Today this same group awarded me for doing such great work. The judge (an award-winning veteran photographer who also teaches journalism) praised my work and said it was consistently outstanding. I haven't received any negative feedback about my photography (other than I often turn in too many photos for each shoot - I'm working on that.)

But the pessimist in me - the part of me that hasn't quite gotten rid of imposter syndrome - feels like either I'm not good enough or someone else is better (or both).

On top of that, I'm nervous about another impending surgery. I thought that when the second carpal tunnel procedure was finished, I was done with restrictions for a while. 

Imagine my surprise when I went to check on the results of an MRI of my shoulder - thinking the pain and numbness were from some kind of arthritis or nerve damage - only to find out I have a torn rotator cuff. 

Though the surgery wasn't something I had to have very soon, it would definitely be in my future and the longer I waited, the more likely it was that it would tear more, or even tear completely. I looked at my photography schedule and decided to put it off just a couple of months - after the aforementioned shoot.

Maybe that's one reason this is hitting me especially hard. I could have had the surgery a little sooner but I thought I'd be needed for all three days of the conference. However, after asking about it but not hearing back and then making the assumption that they would want me the entire time, I scheduled another shoot for the weekend afterward. 

So now it's too late to reschedule the surgery for earlier.

Sitting here analyzing this, I realized I'm also really nervous about the recovery time for this one. Though I am supposed to be able to type, and thus can continue that part of my freelance work, I won't be able to shoot for probably 2-3 months. I won't even be able to drive for four weeks. 

With every surgery, I've had over the past few years (and I've had several), the recovery has taken longer and been more difficult than I was led to believe. I'm nervous about this one.

I guess on one hand, I have several upcoming real-life scenarios where many people would be worried.

My major photography client is cutting back due to budget... what will that mean for me? Even though I've been praised for how good my work is, what if I'm still not good enough? What will the next four months look like and how will I handle everyday tasks during that time? 

On the other hand, I'm thankful for what this media outlet has done for me. I have grown so much as a photographer while working with them and I wouldn't be a professional writer at all if it weren't for them. My shoulder at least can be fixed so I'm hopeful the pain I live with every day will be eradicated.

Either way, I'm still wide awake. I think I'll edit photos for a while. I'm still slightly behind from post-wedding/early marriage time suckers and it would be good to catch up completely before the surgery... just in case.

I just have to keep in mind that I've made it through many, much harder events in my life. I can make it through all this too.


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