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White noise

I don’t know about you, but I love white noise.  Not the white noise that your TV makes when it can’t find a channel or how old TVs are full of static and occasionally have a gray and black screen that makes a creepy noise.

I mean the type of white noise that my ceiling fan makes or the hum of a car on the highway.  Those sounds can put me to sleep (provided I’m not the one driving the vehicle), and they have many times.

Whenever I sleep somewhere new, I like having a noise barrier between me and the rest of the house because, well, I’m a worrier and if I hear one sound I’ll freak out.  I won’t be able to sleep obsessing over the creak that could be a murderer coming to get me.  This simply isn’t acceptable because sleep is one of the most important things in my life (behind my family and tied with food).  I’m a monster if I don’t have food or sleep so if I’m grumpy, there’s a good chance I didn’t get enough of one of those.

My maternal grandma also has problems sleeping in dead silence and one day she called to tell me that she ordered me a sound machine just like hers.  Little did I know that my life would be forever changed after opening that little box.

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This is the brand of my sound machine, and lucky for me, it’s portable so I can take it everywhere with me (I even had it on every night in Jamaica).

The sound settings are Ocean, Summer Night, Rain, Thunder, White Noise & Brook.  My machine is always on white noise.

It’s not that I don’t like silence at all, it’s just that I like having background noise that isn’t distracting when I’m doing stuff.  I can’t listen to music when I read but get irritated when I hear people doing, well, anything so I have to listen to white noise through my headphones when I’m in public doing work.  My favorite is the video below.

It’s a 10 hour video so you don’t have to constantly restart it.  And it’s soothing.  And great.

Before you judge my obsession with white noise, let me explain.

Since birth, I slept with a Heartbeat Bear: a bear that made sounds that mimicked the sounds a baby hears inside the womb.  My obsession was born at the same time as I was born.  My sister had a similar bear when she was born but my mom said she would turn it off as soon as it was on in her crib.  I did just the opposite and let it lull me to sleep.

When my mom and I flew to St. Louis, MO to visit my aunt and her family before I was a year old, I fell asleep before takeoff.  I don’t spend a lot of time with one year olds but I’m pretty sure that isn’t normal.  The baby on the flight back from Jamaica with me certainly didn’t sleep at all and was noisy.

Cars lull me to sleep even to this day (when I’m the passenger).  I’ll fight the sleep but sure enough, I’ll drift off to sleep.  The same happens when I’m on an airplane.

What does any of this have to do with anything?

Well, let me explain.

This white noise helps me relax my often-racing mind and very few things can do that.  The white noise helps me focus on what I need to get done– fall asleep, stay asleep, read an assignment– better than anything else helps me.

I dance around and lip-sync to music when I listen to it while doing work.  I don’t do that with white noise.

I pay attention to TV when it’s the background noise while I do my homework (especially when Law and Order: SVU is on).  I don’t do that with white noise.

I get reminiscent or nostalgic when listening to music.  Once again, I don’t do that with white noise.

This white noise is important to me for more reasons than helping me fall asleep.  It helps me put my head down, get to work and be productive.  In my Branding of Me class before Spring Break started, someone mentioned white noise as a tool for helping them be productive or .  I immediately created a draft on WordPress because I identified so closely with that statement.  Now that almost two weeks have passed since that statement, the exact wording and context escape me.

Even without the exact wording, I know that white noise can be used for much, much more than a sleep aid.  Not the noise necessarily, but you can have something in your life that helps you drown out the outside world to help you focus.

Though I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, I know I have something that acts like white noise in my life.  I know this because even when I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I’m still able to push the bad out of my mind long enough to get stuff done.  My mind is temporarily soothed and my emotions are temporarily paused.  Before you think this is avoiding my problems, let me explain.

We’re always going to have stuff going on in our lives that aren’t perfect.  Maybe it’s a rejection letter from a job you really wanted, a fight with your best friend, a break-up or just a lousy day.  These things don’t care what you have scheduled for the day and it’s not worth it to put everything on hold for you to deal with something that most likely won’t matter next week, next month or next year.

I’m guilty of wallowing but I recognize that this isn’t the best strategy, so I try to find my white noise.

When I identify what that white noise is for me, I’ll let you know.

Do you have white noise in your life, either the actual sound or something acting as white noise for you?

*Sorry I’m not sorry there isn’t a commenting form on here, but you should know that if you read my blog about disliking comments.*

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