Today is an ordinary day with an ordinary name, Sunday, and just saying it chucks me into no mans land where I land with a bump, looking round me for a mark on my year map. I feel momentarily aberrated because I am uncertain of the date and there are as many possible options as there are leftover cheeses on the Mouse Man board. I search the caverns of my mind for epiphanies – that AHA! (loud whoosh of relief) thing that happens nowadays when, without recourse to laptop, diary, Iphone, wall calendar or radio, me and my brain find the answer. It is never a big deal sort of question like ‘Should I cut here or there to put a stent in the patient’s neck artery?’ because I could Google the answer to most of my piddling queries in seconds. What is important to me is that I tap my own resource supply before seeking help, and, in doing so, I take hold of my power.
I catch myself, sometimes, calling across the room, mid sentence to ask for the spelling of a word, when right beside me sits a dictionnary. I still have to look up the word, to be sure I write it down correctly, but in rifling through the pages to find what I’m looking for, I am probably employing about 35 muscles, all of which would have remained in a sleepy stupor, had the answer I sought flown across the beig carpet with the worn patches and into my shell-like.
I tend away from ‘lazy’ although it tempts me at times, I do confess and it receives a rap on its knuckles. I know the importance of personal independence in this life, and once a life gets a bit long in the tooth, it is even more valuable. It’s so easy to stop bothering, and yet not bothering always brings gloom because we are not built for sitting about all day, and, if we do it, our bodies complain; stiff limbs, skin irritations and loss of muscle strength to name but a few. All of these lead to indulgent gloomery.
There was not much sleeping going on last night. As I dressed, long before cock crow, in the weirdest combination of warm clothing, by torchlight, I considered how I would present this very disturbed night when asked How Did You Sleep? Possible responses are
a) Long face, strained voice, a theatrical sigh and much eye rubbing ‘Hardly slept a wink.’
b) Brave face. A tiny outpuff of downward sloping breath. A slightly faltering, but determined voice through a strained smile ‘Not very good really, but it’s okay, I can doze later….maybe, if I get through my chores.’ Theatrical stare into space.
c) Upbeat, bright-eyed, elevated voice….’Weird night, very wakeful – so many words inside my head, all jostling to get out and nowhere to lay them down. I wrote a story, a blog, and began a book all inside my head and could not find sleep anywhere! Must be the cheese!’ Genuine sounding belly laugh, midriff bouncing from too much cheese.
First two, whiney, needy, attention-seeking, heavy with gloom and the expectation that sympathy will arise and enfold me in strong arms for the rest of the day. In a word, pathetic. The third response is the truth. Speaking it out tells me that this day, whatever date it may have attached to it, holds promise, fun, opportunity,excitement. There is only poor little me in the first two, so why would I ever employ either of them? I have done, of course I have, even knowing that sympathy has a short attention span. I think it is that I hold out hope for a sympathy that decides to go along with my drama, and I believe I am not alone in this. It’s a perfectly normal human need to be intelligently loved but if it is dressed up in the wrong clothes and employed as a form of manipulation it always presents as melodrama and all it ever achieves is a long and tiring day. By pulling someone else down just because I am down, I am poisoning their day too, and what can any of us do with such a day beyond waiting for it to run out?
So this thing I do, this mindful consideration of how I present myself even when almost no-one is looking, is critical, to my health and the health of the home. It dictates the mood and the mood directly affects the flow of good energy. This positive energy is like a drug, despite sleep deprivation, although that deprivation word bothers me for it suggests that sleep is given or withheld at the whim of some capricious god. This positive energy will affect others, confounding their attempts (most of the time) to explain in detail their current state of collapse, which is what most people get around to once the weather and the family visit have been exhausted. This positive energy will laugh me all the way to evening and all those I meet will be infected by it, as will I all over again, and that is the strangest thing of all. If I speak out either of the first two responses, I am doomed, I tell you, doomed and so are you if you get in my way, but by choosing option c I lift all of us into fresh air.
It may have been the cheese of course, sampled from the Mouse Man board and taken just before bedtime that kept me alert till 5.30 am but I think it was the words in my head, jabbering away, bumping into each other, shouting and yelling at me to let them out, to lay them down, to write and write and write some more. Now what could be more positive than that?
That’s what I’ll say, if anyone asks.