It’s amazing the things we can ask our brains to do – such as recite old words like memorized poems – or look for missing names and missing faces and missing car keys. I wake up every morning in my bed, and sometimes, it’s like my pillow has swallowed me whole and spit me out.
I even try to get thicker and firmer pillows, but the result is the same – like a sinkhole has opened up and the back of my head is falling into it. That must be how I sleep – on my back and hard against the surface. My arms are thrown above my head – straight up like I’m doing a cheer. I can even feel my hands wiggle like jazz hands as I’m coming back from the breathy grip of a dream. I’m not yet old enough, or I’m still too limber, to feel any soreness from the stiff neck even five minutes past wake up. I can tell it’s coming, though, like a hot breath on my neck – that same hot breath that takes me from jazz hands dreams into the orange gasping morning.
I wake up every day in this cushy, beautiful, bed, and some of the thoughts and routines are like Groundhog Day, even when changes happen so fast it’s disorienting. Nothing is ordinary.
When I wake up, I don’t feel old – not yet or maybe not ever. I feel 17 and 27 and 37 and 77. Sometimes my chest feels heavy like something is resting solidly on it. There’s a feeling of amnesia every morning – waking up unsettled, almost unsure, nearly breathless, and tangled in sleep and sheets and dreams of mystery people and touch and joy and fear and pain, and it’s way more powerful than the feelings you feel during the day. It has to be. Your waking self has to suppress them, and numb them, and push them back between the sheets, at least a little.
The first thing I think about each morning is..(Top 10 List):
1- I sometimes feel unsettled, as if from a dream still leaking out. Am I being the best person I can be? Is there an apology I owe, or an explanation I haven’t given. I call it morning sickness, but luckily it isn’t daily. I think it means I’m not always living my best life, but what can I change?
2 – I think: “Did I sneak into bed too late? Did I sleep well? Have I even really seen Cassidy in days? Did I fall asleep in front of a Hallmark movie? Who or what woke me up, or is it just me?”
3 – I always look to the east from the foot of the bed because if it’s early and the sun is going to come out, it turns the sky red. I always think I should get up and take a picture, but I rarely do.
4 – Often, there’s a chicken squawking or someone drops something or the cat is scratching at our pretty carpet and that always makes me shoot my head up. It’s mostly always pet noises.
5 – I very often, if not weekly, wake up and wonder if I’m dizzy. I wake up dizzy probably about once every two years but I guess that experience is so scary for me when it happens, that it’s something I think about briefly. I don’t like anything that spins, and especially not my head.
6 – Sometimes there’s a small twist in my neck or a small ache in my hip, and I wonder how long I have before I feel aches and pain. Maybe never. Maybe it’s soon. I know it’s strange to think about something that hasn’t happened, but mostly everyone I know who is my age or older has experienced some sort of regular chronic pain and I never have. Is it coming for me? And when?
7 – I don’t always reach for the phone right away (and try not to sleep with it) but when reach for it, it’s to check silly, neurotic things, like my bank account balance, if the sun is due to come out that day or the next day, or really ever, and if I lost too many Instagram followers overnight.
8 – Then, the details come. Is Des’ library book due? Scarlet keeps track of her own. Where did all the pets sleep? Did we live another day in which none of them ate each other? (we have 9 brand new baby chicks as well as an in-between chicken we adopted last month and I swear to you that Athena licks her lips when she sees or smells any of them) Do I have one or two school pick ups that day? And don’t get me started on my own work schedule. This is the home details.
9 – I have breakfast thoughts. They start the night before. There’s nothing like waking up to that fierce hunger, though. It makes me wonder why I often start working before breakfast. LOOK:
10 – I don’t know why I stay in bed awake for as long as I do sometimes. I have to get to that point in which I think, “Am I going to wake up and kick butt today? Yes, yes I am. Am I going to be the best person I can be? Yes, yes I am. Am I going to deep breathe through the unsettling and annoying and neurotic and negative thoughts? Yes, yes I am. Am I going to face my fears, pitch new clients, learn new skills, face down my demons, and live another extraordinary day?
I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday for another great prompt. This week’s topic is “The first thing I think about each morning is…” And there’s still time to write yours. Link up HERE.