Wake up knowing you have to go to work today. No. It’s the NowTimes. So no one has to GO anywhere. You are someone, but you are also no one, just like everybody else. You don’t actually have to GO anywhere, but you do have to go to work today. You have to DO life today. When someone asks “How are you today?” you will have to say something nice like, “I’m well, thank you, how are you?” Wake up knowing this. Wake up dreading this.
Stall. Find the ten-foot charger cord for your cell phone tangled up with you and your bedsheets. Stare at the ceiling of your brand new bedroom. The room is long, shotgun style. Why do they call it shotgun style and not “trajectory of a bullet as it leaves a shotgun” style? Like the ones that killed Breonna. Remind yourself that you promised yourself not to think about murder first thing in the morning.
Find your phone again. What if this cord got wrapped around your neck while you were sleeping? It reminds you of how when your Big Sister was born, the cord that existed to give her life was wrapped around her neck. If the doctors hadn’t realized it in time, she could have been born dead, her life force strangling her before her first breath. Remind yourself that you promised yourself not to think about death first thing in the morning.
Continue stalling. Look at your Facebook memories. Scroll. Try to make it regular scrolling, not doom scrolling. Crane your neck to look at the red numbers on your alarm clock. The shotgun style room is already bright with sunlight, so they don’t make a red glow onto your face. It’s 7:14am. You promised yourself that you would get out of bed by 7am so you would have time to do yoga this morning. Decide that “by 7am” really means “within the 7 o’clock hour” which means you are still right on time.
Stretch. Notice how when you really put your back into it, it makes your whole body shake. Release a sound. Would you make these sounds if someone else were in bed with you? Maybe for another reason. On the tv show you watched before bed last night, they kept having sex first thing in the morning, and you kept thinking about what it is like to not be bothered by another person’s morning breath. You are bothered by your own morning breath, so you have never enjoyed morning sex—smelling your own breath as you orgasm. La petite mort. Remind yourself that you promised yourself not to think about death first thing in the morning.
Make your body perpendicular to the bed. Your knees on the edge, your belly down, your feet pointing to the ground. Tip. Tip. Tip until your toes touch the ground. You did it! You did it. You are out of bed now. Stand up. Stretch again. Stretching is stalling that looks like a healthy thing. Groan. Scratch your belly. Put your hands on your low back and turn your chest up to the ceiling. Release. Ask yourself if this counts as doing yoga?
Smile at your reflection as you walk past the full-length mirror. Tell your reflection that you don’t have to shower today. You can wear these panties all day. Maybe you will go to work in nothing but your panties and this cropped Lion King pajama top. Would you dare? Nobody will know. And you are nobody. Just like everybody else. When asked “How are you?” one of your uncles used to respond, “I’m ALIVE!” Until he wasn’t. At least you’re alive.
Make coffee. Log in.
Image: “Woman in white shirt lying on bed” by Kebs Visuals, licensed under CC 2.0.