The Decision To Be A Bird


This morning I woke with that deciphering struggle I know all too well. I was surprised to have woken with such immediacy, as if I had something big and exciting planned for the day. I nearly sprung out of bed, but soon allowed my drowsiness and the chill on my skin from the out-of-blanket air to keep me in my safe cocoon. So I did what I normally do, I sunk back into the impression I’ve so deeply pressed into the ground which is my life over my 23 years of mornings. I stayed in bed.

I’ve always had to give myself this grace period in the mornings. This is my most dreaded and yet most precious time of day: the part of the day where I get to make an important decision. Often the beauty of doing nothing in these moments except playing with my thoughts pulls me in too deep, and more often than not, I end up back asleep, sometimes for several more hours. But in the days where this practice is successful, it’s just a few moments of me, alone, in bed, not quite awake, not quite asleep, struggling to keep that feeling of uneasiness in the pit of my stomach manageable. Sometimes it’s successful, and I leave my bed smiling, having decided to be happy for the day. Other days, I fail in these moments, allowing the feelings to become unmanageable, allowing them to leave my bed and follow me around throughout the day.

But today was interesting. I woke with something of excitement, surprised to see the sun shining so brightly through my window, surprised I had woken up at such a decent hour considering how late I’d kept myself up. I opened something of a can of worms yesterday, and my thoughts swirled around me in my room last night, consuming me. Suddenly I was feeling brand new appreciation for things previously not seen, and brand new pain for things previously not felt. Though I may resemble the calmness of a lake on the surface, I realize in these moments, I have just as many tangled weeds below, grounding me to this earth.

So many tangled weeds I thought I’d dismissed…

There’s no pride in succumbing to your weaknesses, and there’s certainly no pride in admitting them. But as I lay in bed today, the sun shining brightly through my window, and then dulling to retreat behind a cloud every so often (as if mimicking my back-and-forth thoughts of “should I be happy today, can I be happy today”) a thought occurred to me.

Maybe I’m not alone in this. Maybe we all experience these early morning moments, and all of us are just busy trying to hide them, waking up to smother them in coffee and concealer, putting on smiles, letting out deep sighs as we collect our keys, trudging forward into our days only hoping to leave these moments behind.

Perhaps we all get the decision each and every day, of what we are and who we are and what we want to stand for, but most importantly, of who we want to be and how we want to feel. Maybe it’s the daily decision that’s the tough part, and not the mornings at all. Maybe all these years, the mornings have just been taking the blame.

So then the question remains: How can a decision to be happy today be so difficult to make?

Why can't we all just be birds?