The lizard part of my brain didn’t want to get up today; it didn’t want to stand; it didn’t want to walk the 15 blocks to the coffee shop where I choose to work most days. The lizard in my brain saw the grey & white sky and rolled back into the folds of my blanket.
I’ve been sleeping on the floor the past few nights in an attempt to deal with back and neck pain which seems to come from the softness of my bed. Even on the floor, I wake up five or six times, startled awake, gasping for life as if dragging myself from the grasp of accidental death. They call the disorder “hypnic jerks”, but the name doesn’t capture the terror of that sudden jolt; that savage lunge to exist.
The softness of my quilt promises something that sleep rarely delivers: a satisfying wash; a fantasy fulfilled. I know I need to get up. I have something to mail and I’ve already heard the mailman come and go. I know I need to walk at least to mailbox at the end of the street.
Not every morning is like this. Some are normal, where I wake at a reasonable hour and feel ready for my shower and tea; other days I awake sore and leave my bed looking scornfully back at it as a dog looks at the hand of a brute. Today is different; today the there was no sun and as I age, light becomes a crucial nutrient. It’s 10:45; I know I must begin and the reptile inside me yawns at the sky like some dew drenched plant.
In a similar way, I fight with writing; looking at the page with an exhausted sense of purpose. The multitudes inside my head seem impossible to arrange. No longer driven by a desperate need for validation, the writing has improved but the effort is harder to wrangle. Writing is an organization of chaos and were it not for a sense of identity and a half-mad fury, I would never get anything down on the page. 360 days a year I melee with contentment; I got to war with warm sheets; I’m more willing to accept the passive observation of life over combat. The other five days of the year come easy, lubricated by the euphoric illusion of inspiration, but if I laid in wait of angels I’d sooner fall prey to winged scavengers, bed sores and collapsed lungs.
What gets me out of bed most days is regimen; the acceptance that I am a person who rises at a certain time. It’s a standard I hold myself to and it becomes part of how I identify myself. So must I see creation. I am one who makes—not one who makes good or makes bad. I am simply one who makes. I draw Something every day, I don’t debate. No matter what, it happens. That’s who I am. And now, I must exert the same upon my writing. 500 words a day. No matter what. Get to Work.
After I rise and dress, I set out into he world with only the corner mailbox in mind. Envelope in hand, I find myself pushing on to the coffee shop. I aim for one page, but inside I know the possibility for something larger looms just beyond. The anger, that I’m often accused of carrying, sears the coals of my struggle. We all channel something or we die napping on memory foam mattresses like lizards to stones in snow.