What experiences have made me feel most alive? If I were to count, they’d be about five. I move my leg while laid in bed and think about one; sitting by bodies of water. The rushing sound is a peace for me. The second is hiding under the last night shadow at sunrise. I move my leg again with no purpose to this shifting other than the nagging feeling that I should be awake. I know it’s somewhere between seven am and eleven am, but it might also be twelve. I missed the sunrise again but then I say, “Tomorrow is another day.” My tomorrows have circled around the earth, squeezed into each other like teeth to gum. I have sung about tomorrow for a good year.
Now I’m moved by the urge to move my arm. I have so much writing to get done, but sleep has come with a French tongue and landed in my hug. It is in this pillow now. To let go of that is to let go of love.
My pre-pandemic mornings were filled with exciting energy, not lethargy. I wanted the cold and fresh morning air, and was willing to wake up at five am to get a head start. I’d rush out of the house with my heart beating in my lungs. The railway line was two kilometers away and every step had my heart singing praise to some holy name. Whatever magic there lies in a morning’s kiss, I pray it may forever remain like this. I’d sit under this one tree that remained in a bare field of scattered dry grass, and watch the mountains as the colors of the clouds begun to passionately blush with the light of the sun.
When March 2020 came around, I thought, “Time for some sleep now!” They said it’s lockdown time on the Tv and I said that’s quite alright with me. The first day I missed my morning walk, I was more than pleased and I was stuck with the loop of ‘I deserve this.’ I’d wake up at around ten, maybe eleven, and lie in bed for a few more minutes, taking in the quiet, soaking in the waking from sleep feeling. I’d grab my laptop at two o’clock because when you’re working from home, you have two bosses; the one that can fire you and the one that can have you fired. It’s very thin ice when it comes to discipline and I felt right through the crevice.
I need to prepare questions for the book club. The books need to be dropped at the university. A phone call to the magazine needs to be returned. Don’t think of emails. We’ll do those on Friday. Is today Friday? It has to be Wednesday, at most Thursday. Assignments! Why does my leg keep on cramping?
I shift from sleeping on my right to my left and face the wall. I really feel like it’s nine am. I can sleep a bit more. What I feel now is what I felt when November came around; sickening guilt. Why so heavy over small things? I don’t think these are small things at all. Being in that quiet morning made me feel truly alive, not the ten thousand likes I got on my Instagram picture. But the lockdown period released this lazy side that robbed me of a smooth mental space, turning it to a clogged scrambled mess. I know going outside will be good for me, but now I crave staying in. I know this staying in is doing more harm than good for me now that the lockdown was lifted, but inertia is still with me in 2022.
At the end of that November, I resigned from my customer service job at the bank and decided to find some work online. I was always good at writing so I figured I could write assignments for students online or find a magazine to work with. In short, anything that would blend in with my newly acquired lifestyle and allow me eleven am mornings. I figured if I could still pay my bills, I’d be okay, but I felt more dried up than alive. I’d close the curtains during the day and watch movies till four am. What was meant to be a time to reconnect with my friends and family became a period of seclusion. Somehow, my being alone and withdrawn was emphasized during the Covid-19 period. I could not tell which day was which and there’s not much difference now either. I told myself, ‘remember those moments. Remember that feeling. You want it, you know it. Remember it and go get it.” But every morning, I snoozed my alarm until I was finally forced to shut it off. Sometimes I’d open my eyes and there’d be some ray of light leaking through the sheers and window edges, but I’d turn around, face the wall and pull the cover over my head. My once so amazing, so relaxing bed became a torture space.
Is it weird, my struggling with waking up now even though I had never struggled with it before? At first I thought maybe I was sick so I drank a lot of ginger tea but here I am with healthy lungs and a body that refuses to wake up to go do what it enjoys. Why is that?
I groan with exhaustion because I’ve been sleeping for what now seems like sixteen hours. Nothing about this is relaxing. I am paying my bills just fine with online writing. Sometimes I write at night and other times I don’t sleep for three days straight. Others, like today, I intend on sleeping the guilt away.
What irony my friend!
Let me tell you about my third experience which makes me feel most alive; being in a place that’s really high, especially up in the mountains where the clouds are in your eyes. The fourth is writing at night and lastly, laughing with my family and friends. Out of my five alive list, all I do is write and laugh sometimes. I am missing out of life in this bed. She is waving at me not saying goodbye but signaling me in, and I am looking at life and saying 'no please'.
I stopped watching the news because a thread by psychologists on twitter said the shows poison you. Last week I went out with my friends for some cocktails and took this as a major first step in coming out of the pandemic phase. That’s three years of my life gone without aliveness and freshness. To this going out I say, “Again! Tomorrow is another day.”