"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

nobody puts baby in the corner

I once read an article in a magazine about a lady who was seriously not a morning person. Her story was her confession  of this simple fact of her personality, as well as how much this simple fact had come to play a haunting role in her life.  Like so many of us are, as a "responsible" adult she was expected to rise early in the morning, be happy to accept invitations for early morning exercise classes or groups and brunches and simply become active early with a chipper desire to conquer the day with great energy.
She gave it her best shot, but just couldn't keep up. She found herself pretending to be someone she wasn't. And when she couldn't keep going that way, instead of pretending to be someone she wasn't, she began hiding who she really was. When asked or invited to participate in early morning activities, instead of feeling like she was able to tell the truth and simply say I don't want to get up that early, she made up false excuses, like she had other plans, simply so that she could be who she was (not a morning person), without  suffering the judgement.
This article both pleased and horrified me at the same time. It pleased me to know that I am not alone in my bodies never ending desire to sleep later than 9am, but it horrified me that this lady had to pretend to be someone she wasn't, and hide a truth about her for fear of judgement. JUST BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO SLEEP. I mean, really?
It may seem silly, and even a moot point. Who cares if someone wants to sleep late? But in a society that operates from 8am to 5pm, values over working and prioritizes punctuality and perfection, it is a perhaps surprising, but sad reality that not being a morning person causes one to get treated differently than those that so conveniently fit into the early riser box.

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.

Ok, so late to bed late to rise makes you, unhealthy? Unwise? How about lazy? This is a judgement that I have dealt with more than once for being a later riser. I sleep in late, wasting away the day, and I must be lazy, right?

There are certain ideas that seem to be universally logical. Things that benefit everyone and are for the best of the species. Example, treat others as you want to be treated. Seems simple, clear and generally like a good idea. Then, there are ideas that have somehow come to be considered the norm, over years in certain societies and cultures people have adopted abstract notions about the proper or correct way to behave in a society. Example, waking up early.
And I have another one, that I'm sure many would disagree with; punctuality. What is time, really? Its how we divide up our days. Its a categorizing mechanism so that we can organize our over busy days.
Now, time is a helpful tool. It allows us to plan things and accomplish things. But people value their time way too much. Is that all that matters in a life that is so short anyway? You spend your days counting your minutes and thinking that your time is so valuable. There is a fine line here. Time must be valued, in so far as it is limited when you are a mortal human being. So take the time to appreciate your life, being alive, the birds and the bees. But that's not what most people are doing when they say their time is valuable so you better not waste it. They are thinking how many things they can squeeze into a day that will benefit themselves.
Beyond that I just could never understand the sheer weight and grave importance put on punctuality. It is the rudest thing you could do to someone to be late, how dare you! Um, I'd rather someone be late than not really be present when they are there, to not be kind and careful when needed.
This is especially true when it comes to the work place.  Its the ass in seat mentality that I have such a hard time swallowing. How dare you be a little late to work, even though there was nothing that you were going to be doing productively when you were there on time. If you get there late, stay late to make up for it. So, stay there late when you have nothing you can do for work, as long as you are physically there, just sit at your desk and stare, because that is better than being late.
How about we focus in the quality of the job someone is doing. Isn't that the most important thing?
Now if someone is not punctual and misses something they are supposed to participate in or because of their tardiness cannot complete work, that is a problem.

I am just so tired of what seem to me to be arbitrary customs, and getting judged because i exist outside the box.  To me, it just seems like a waste of negative energy and a serious overlooking of whats really important in a life.

And now I am left with the sad fact that I don't see our society changing its arbitrary values and notions anytime soon. My choices? Ditch normal life and become a homeless wanderer? Pretty sure it will have to be continue to force myself, against all my natural inclinations, to fit into the box already built for me. At least some of the time. The rest is for me and those I love who accept the misfit that is me for who I really am.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Last week I bought a bicycle. I haven't owned a bike since I was maybe 10. Making my purchase, I pictured scenes of summer; riding near the beach on a warm summer day, biking to get a Popsicle.
I figured I'd ride it on and off when it was nice out.  As it turns out, it will be wonderful for those very things I pictured. What I didn't figure was that it is, to my pleasant surprise, good for so much more.
 One summer when I was about nine or ten, I spent my days playing cards on the shady front lawn of my neighborhood friend's house, chasing the ice cream truck with her and saving money to buy candy at the liquor store. Those wonderful lazy days we spent our time alternated between her house and mine and on all the tree lined streets in between. We owned the neighborhood and were free to make our own days and go where we liked because we had bikes. On our bikes we were free and independent, as free as any ten year-olds could be. Riding was fun and it was a means to explore and feel like we had the chance to make of the world what we wanted of it.
A few years later as a teenager I became less interesting in riding a bike and of course more interested in driving a car and riding in my friend's cars while they drove. We found freedom and a thrill in riding once again, but this time a little faster and further. But the thing about driving is, it eventually becomes a chore. Traffic, commuting, siting in a car for hours becomes tedious instead of liberating. We hardly take notice or pleasure in our surrounds, failing to enjoy the journey and focusing instead on our time and hurry and wanted destination. Unfortunately so many things become tedious like this or lose their simple pleasure or appeal as we get older. To my very happy discovery, riding a bike is not one of those.
I've ridden my bike every day since I got it, and what a pleasure its been. I feel like a kid again, the wind in my hair, looking up at the sky and noticing the trees and the clouds.
And as a completely independent, car driving adult, able to go wherever, whenever, I surprisingly and quite unabashedly feel freer than I've felt in a long, long time.