#20. On Mornings 🌥
from a new morning enthusiast
For as long as I can remember, my strongest tools for facing the world have been writing, reflecting and containing. I am a long standing member of the Dear Diary club, even though I’ve never specifically written those words in my journals.
The biggest strength in this habit is that when any kind of emotional rewiring and self-repair needs to be done, there is a whole bunch of information to fall back on.
I’ve been re-reading my diaries, and this time I’ve paid close attention to the time stamps. I journal strictly at night, I knew this — but somehow this information jumped at me as if it were brand new. Perhaps because for the past month I’ve been trying to build a morning (non skincare) routine. And each word stacked up in my diary seems to be very revealing of how I’ve never really tried to build any relationship with mornings.
The earliest memory I recall of morning is a distressing one. Swit footsteps, heavy school-bag, an uncomfortable bus ride and the closely hovering feeling of nausea and fatigue. I would wait with uneasiness and fidgety fingers to get off the bus and pour my insides out.
It was a well understood rule between me and my friend to not speak at all through the entirety of that early morning ride to school. Not a rule that I was ever brave enough to consciously set up for my own good, but a rule that she graciously (and silently) adopted. I was just baby-steps into the hideous practice of self-containment and presenting a plastered polish version of the self — which meant I often slipped up. She could see the paleness that entered in my body, the restlessness in my ever-tapping legs and my pink nose — exhausted from having puked in the school washroom, again. She would walk into the bus and only smile, let me sleep if I had to and quietly wake me up when we had reached school.
I felt the early morning sun only when soft specs of light would make it through the bus window to rest on my firmly shut eyes. I vaguely assessed how close to school we were by the scent of bakeries, milk booths and garbage dumps.
Another morning image that comes to mind is that of hurriedly brushing lipstick with tea boiling on the tiny induction in my college’s PG accommodation. Carrying a deep blue ceramic mug with me down the steps and pushing the PG mess breakfast down my throat. Mornings there were better, they did not push me to the extremes of discomfort.
I still had what I’d call a fairly captivating relationship with nights, especially midnight. Midnight was when the 11-year-old Anji who grew up on a steady diet of girls in the Malory Towers books having midnight feasts felt all sorts of alive. There was chocolate-eating, and more Dear Diary sessions; there were tearless breakdowns and chai-making. A full-proof activity filled script played out at night, ensuring that I woke up with tiredness.
But still, for someone who faced mornings with extreme discomfort in school, I decided I was better off with this set up. Even in my tiredness, at least I still felt spirited enough to apply lipstick, slip on earrings and enjoy the sun.
I took these patterns with me in lockdown. Wake up at noon, have a shaky leon-grill-chicken-fillet-burger lunch at 3PM and find yourself at war with time. Not that it ever felt like war, it felt like the most natural way to live
I don’t know what conspiracy led me to wanting a morning routine, but I can testify that it is an active aspiration. I can’t claim to have improved my mornings drastically, but I think I can claim to have begun a new friendship with the mornings. It’s tough and seems almost uninteresting to break up with the night — which can hold so many contemplations and yearnings. But this year, my friendship with mornings and daylight is beginning to flourish. Maybe not for romantic reasons, but practical, logical reasons. As someone rightly pointed out to me — it’s easier to get things done in the morning.
It’s tedious to trade the Dear Diary sessions, blow off the scented candles, resist the urge to make hot cocoa at 2AM and sleep instead. But I’m telling myself that this new chunk of the day is worth it. And soon enough it’ll learn how to hold my languishing and yearning.
Some good things:
Every Morning by Mary Oliver
A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles apart — Brain Pickings
Morning Song by Sylvia Plath
A morning playlist that I made
On merely as my word for 2021 by Madeline Dore
Praising the mundane by Lora Mathis
Thank you for reading.
Six Impossible Things is a monthly newsletter about art, books, reading, and feelings. You may sign up if you want it delivered to your inbox. You can also come to say hi to me on Instagram @a_catinthesink