Your phone buzzes. You stir a bit under your sheets–wondering if it’s worth checking. You have a choice, the same choice you have every morning: open your eyes and submit to the day’s demands or sleep for “five more minutes,” relishing in the notion that this is not your life.
You concede and open your eyes. Fuck you, Urban Outfitters, thank you for the email about your sale on Boyfriend Jeans. You scold yourself for pretending to be eco-friendly in the first place and getting your receipt emailed. The girl behind the counter seemed like the type to roll her eyes had you asked for a printed receipt. God forbid someone should think less of you for a millisecond. I can taste the crumbling self-esteem just thinking about it.
To be fair, she had a tattoo of a recycling sign on her wrist. You took it as divine intervention. Sure, email it to me. Now you’re up 2-hours-early for work because of it. That’s recycling all right–one shit decision will have consequences–rinse, wash, repeat. Those arrows are sort of haunting if you really think about it. Round and around it all goes. You make a mental note to be removed from their mailing list. You forget 15-minutes-later.
Now what? Your physician would tell you to eat breakfast. “Yes Ma’m, a banana, yogurt and granola every morning,” in the back of your head you picture the cloud of smoke and bitter taste of your morning-black-coffee and-cigarette-combo. Caffeine and nicotine: they’re located on the food pyramid. Well not exactly on the food pyramid, but rather next to it, shooting spitballs at kale all day long–taunting it–as if to say, you’ll never be as fun as us. Kale only snaps once, “I don’t give people cancer!” Caffeine turns to nicotine, “This one is all you, pal.” Nicotine says, “I don’t cause cancer either, you green flakey-fuck, I cause addiction, when’s the last time someone was addicted to you?” The conversation ends there.
You do this most mornings. You have your imagination after all, why waste it?
Breakfast is complete. You move onto grooming. Karl Lagerfeld says sweatpants are a sign of defeat, Karl Lagerfeld is an asshole. You put on slacks. You’re an adult, but you think about beer before 10 AM. You’re an adult, but you have no idea what that really means. You’re an adult, but your only accomplishment to date is your degree. This is, in fact, your life, no denying it. You mustn’t complain to anyone over the age of 30 about these woes. They’ll rapidly fire back with scary tales of old age. Suggesting that you’re in your prime. Nothing has sagged or wrinkled yet. Yes, because THAT’S all there is to worry about. I’ll take a wrinkle or two over the constant feeling that I’m never going to figure-it-the-fuck-out.
You have all the time in the world, they coo, like you’re still in diapers. Words are words are words. They don’t help. Not really anyway. Too bad there’s no equivalent to a pacifier nowadays. Oh wait, I guess that’s what the cigarettes are for. Freud. Oral fixations. It all makes sense.
You want to shout. You want to cry. On occasion, you want to dance, but you have no rhythm or desire to go anywhere where dancing is acceptable (and the supermarket doesn’t count, which you learned the hard way).
You want independence, but you also want a hug. You want to take the mile long checklist you have in front of you, paint it with gasoline and sign it with a match. You wonder if you’ll ever stop sounding like an emo song from 2001. Are my depressed thoughts even my own? Or is it some 5-year post Brand New regurgitation?
Job, apartment, financial security, love, marriage, baby. Where do you even begin? Do I need all of them? Yes. You do. Are you sure? Yes. No negotiations? No. That’s not success. That’s settling. Who says? We do. Fair enough.
Eventually, when the autopilot has finally kicked in, and each day becomes as predictable as the last, something will click. This isn’t literal. You won’t hear it. You’ll just feel it somewhere in between your head and your ass. This may be your heart. Yeah, I think that’s what it’s called– thinking with your heart. There will come a moment when that doesn’t become a means of fantasy or some Disney bullshit they mainline into your vein at the age of 3, it will become your reality, it will, in fact, be your life and everything will make sense even when nothing does.
This doesn’t make you an optimist. This makes you brave. So submit to it, because not everyone does. Some people feel the creeping suspicion of their heart strings seeping into their thoughts, their goals, their decisions and they cower so deeply into their own skulls that they miss the chance altogether. It’s not reserved for artists and romantics, simply for those who allow themselves to be directed by feeling, not logic. So yes, maybe romantics and artists are on the list, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a poet, pauper, or porn star–going your whole life thinking only with your head will result in a loss of your heart. It will be a mass of tissue pumping blood and what a terrible waste that would be.