This morning I am up slightly early. But only slightly. Just barely beat LW, who comes in to our bed almost every night. The only nights he doesn’t come are his terrible bedtime nights. He is afraid of the dark. His bed is small. Who knows what it may be day to day, but it throws off my morning routine when he’s there. I would like to awaken and immediately do my Epley Maneuver to work on my continued “sea legs.” Then apply the salycilic acid to my beloved plantar warts. Then come to the front room, which is my preferred room in the house. (Side note: in Hollis’s Biography of a Poem I learned that Eliot always composed his poems on a typewriter. I haven’t yet finished this book, but I’m soon going to check it out again from our library.) Then proceed to the front room. In our house I prefer the front room by the windows that look toward the street. It has 2 Ikea chairs with the lower to the ground seats, which I find more comfortable. It’s also closer to the coffee.
But the front room usually isn’t where I sit: I sit in the living room. This is where the dog likes to sit when I let him out. This is where the kids show up and want the TV on for a bit. This is the crossroads of the family in the morning; I need to monitor it to keep things moving. People need to be on time. But is it where I prefer to sit? No.
This is just one little example. Over and over through the course of years, I am motivated each day by how to please the people around me; how to give them what they want. And throughout, make myself feel a bit less human under each subsuming of my will.
My inner dialogue right now: “None of this rises above a trifle. You are a whiny little thing, aren’t you. People, especially grown-ups, do this all the time. In fact, this is the essence of adulthood: sacrificing your own will and desires for the good of your family, or of society, or of the project. So suck it up.”
I don’t have a good response to that right now. But something has to change. Somehow I need to reclaim a prior self.