I’m trying to shift my mornings away from the catch up work that comes with doing business in a digital world and the to-do lists that build in my mind over night. I’m working to shift my habits and reconnect with words. My words. The printed words of others.
My mornings require a warm mug, an open page, and a story to fall into, but I haven’t given myself that consistently in a long time. I think it’s becoming even more important because I’ve shifted away from reading in the evenings in favor of connecting. I’m finally sharing a home with someone I love and see a future with, and I believe the connection we have is worth pursuing, preserving, and protecting. I want balance, though. I know it’s important not to give up our own identities as we dive deeper into the world of adult relationships, but holding onto the things that shape our own identity isn’t always easy. It’s about putting yourself and your needs first, and the cultural message that has been handed down to us is that putting yourself first is selfish. So many strong people are fighting every day to shatter this cultural illusion, and I can see the cracks, but it hasn’t crumbled yet.
Spiral notebooks and the printed word have shaped who I am, and they continue to lead me to a better understanding of myself and the way I fit into this world when I give them the opportunity to do so. The truth of it is, it has been hard for me to prioritize giving myself the space to play on the page since I entered the working world. Prioritizing personal reading and writing is easy when you’re an English major, but it becomes so much harder when it’s not your primary responsibility. When there are other things that you should be doing, it is hard to prioritize your own needs. Some people are arguably better at this than others, but it always requires effort and awareness. We must be aware enough to name the things that nourish us, and we must be proactive and make an effort to engage in those activities.
I feed myself with words. Doing so lets me connect more deeply with my own light, which makes it easier to share with others. As a teacher, this is important. The more connected I am with my self, the more effectively I can encourage others to pursue that connection and let their own light out of storage.
I’ve been participating (albeit slowly, as I often do with these sorts of things) in Hannah Marcotti’s “Spirits of Joy” course. I’m only on day four, but the prompt was to write a morning affirmation. After some scattered words and reflection, I think I have found one that will help me explore the expanse of my mornings and embrace them as my own literary playground. I think just a few small words will be enough to remind me that, though I may appear productive when I charge through my days, conquering my to do lists, I don’t feel fulfilled. I’m at my happiest and best when I pause first to connect, when I take time to paint my world through slow words and soak in the experiences and observations that others have so carefully laid out for me to revel in. Hence, my morning affirmation from here on out: Revel now. The world will wait.