It’s Monday, it’s morning; I need to get up.
In the bed my body seems to want to stay, or is it my mind? My mind is wide awake, I think.
The moment my conscious mind is switched on the thoughts begin, my eyes don’t even have to open.
Part of my mind wants to get up and enjoy the morning, part of my mind is still the kid that doesn’t want to go to school. My mind is fragmented.
I picture freshly brewed coffee, impending financial calculations, groceries needed, work to be done, eggs scrambling…a fleeting and momentary delight at the prospect, but I go back to images of work, then chores, then money worries, then scolding myself for worrying. One more hour of sleep please? Ok, just one more.
I roll over and close my eyes that I didn’t even realise had been open and staring at the ceiling. I must relish this hour, it will rejuvenate me, it’s a luxury. I twitch, I toss, I turn, in my mind a thought lands like Wellington boots in a puddle…splash!
I must wash some clothes, and bring the dry ones in…it’s going to rain. What am I wearing today? I need to answer that e-mail, I mustn’t forget to buy milk. I have to call that person…damn I forgot to answer those messages last night!
I huff, I groan, I stretch, I raise my fists toward the ceiling and shake them…threatening the skies beyond it, the groan becomes a growl becomes a whimper.
Finally I get up, joints and deep tissue, creaking and clicking, stomach gurgling and a yawn that stretches for days; eyes pooling with salty yawn-tears.
Why will my mind not leave me alone?! Why does my body not feel awake when I’ve just gotten up? It’s not age; age is in the mind…so my mind must be the culprit.
Washing my face and teeth I contemplate breakfast again, and while making my breakfast I contemplate everything. Another cycle of similar thoughts turns, everything I look at prompts thoughts and more thoughts, of lists and more lists. I think about writing, I must write, I haven’t written enough! Why did I not write yesterday in that hour gap? When can I squeeze it in today? But I have X, Y and Z to do…so, maybe tomorrow? Oh no wait…there’s that thing tomorrow, OK then maybe the weekend?
My mind fragments some more, sharp and splintered. Voices scrambled like my eggs, frustrated voices. Each voice’s identity fighting to be heard. The ego of a thousand masks.
I need to shower, the sound of water will calm my mind. I stand under the stream, the warmth like a soft blanket, and my skin lifts with goose bumps. I sigh.
How delightful this moment of pea…wait! I could get some writing in between the figures and the e-mails and the chores and the calls and the shopping and the work and the paperwork and… ‘ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH!!’
Who said that?
Which part of my mind said that just there? ‘Enough’.
Who are you?
‘Oh that old question again…I just wrote about that recently, remember? It’s me, you know…the me that was enjoying the shower, the present observer.’
How can you enjoy the shower when you have so much to do, when you’re not yet where you want to be? You think those small present moments mean anything? You’re such a dreamer, look at yourself, you can’t even focus on one thing, I bet you’re not even going to get through half of that list…
‘Woah! no, no…YOU can’t focus on one thing…I am focus personified. Do you know who you are?’
I’m, I’m, I’m…Don’t ask me stupid questions, just shower quickly, get out and get on with it.
‘Wait, don’t be this way! Let’s talk, let’s work together!’
Uurgh you’re so pitiful! Can’t you do anything right? You’re wasting time talking to me, even trying to understand me…you dilly and dally, you faff around, you procrastinate…’
‘Don’t you mean YOU do? Then you take it all out on all of me.’
What are you on about now? You’re such an annoying loser, you can’t even shower like a normal person. Now just get your stupid self out of the shower and get through that to-do list, it’s piling up because you’re spending too much time trying to shut me up, too much time talking to all of us in your head..trying to make us all friends and ‘whole’ like a stupid hippy, do you think any of your efforts will ever make a difference?
‘STOP! Please, please, please just stop! You’re making our mind hurt, our body hurt, our heart hurt, our soul. I’m just…
My body bends forward in the shower as I heave with a sob, crying out to release the pain of the self-attack, my stomach muscles gripping to a stop at the end of a sob so powerful I fear I won’t inhale again.
As I finally do manage to breathe back in I begin to catch my breath, tears splashing down my blotchy cheeks.
‘I’m tired. I’m so tired. Just stop, just leave me alone.’ I pant.
‘Ah, I know who you are…you’re my critic, my stories, my blueprint made of everyone and anything that’s ever told me something about who I should be…my demon.’
‘You’ll be OK you know, you’ve been doing great, this was just a little hiccup. We’re in this together’
More precious silence.
I carry on with the day, doing whatever I decide to do. The demon seems to have backed off, perhaps having achieved the desired results, but certainly not with its tail between its legs.
Though I am tired I will not give up on it, I will smother it with love and forgiveness because it is a part of me, and because if I don’t, I have no idea how far down the black hole of mind-hell goes.
Later in the day as I sit back with my tea, watching steam snake up through the air, I smile both inwardly and out. The fragments have melted down and blended together again, for now.