Where to start ... it's been awhile. I moved recently. It made sense to move in with my boyfriend of over two years now, since I spent most of my time at his place anyways. Now, I'm not so sure. I'm a morning person - I get up at least two hours before needing to go somewhere and I write and I work out and I do all the things I'll never get to later in the day because people are up and in my business demanding this or that from me. The mornings are the only time when I'm focused on something solely for me - not my boss, friend, neighbor, whoever, whatever else consumes my time, just me. The last seven months I have set my alarm for 0515 and done Insanity (a workout only for the insane). It's become such a part of my routine that I look forward to the 45-60 min of intense drills that leave me on the floor wanting to puke. It makes me feel elite, not everyone can or wants to put themselves through this type of personally driven hell, but my sisters and I do it daily. Very few mornings do I wake up not wanting to work out and those mornings usually end up being the most gruelling workouts after I make it through the warm up.
It's week one of being officially moved in to the new place. I try hard to make less noise than a god damn church mouse, but I'm not a god damn church mouse I'm a klutz who likes to listen to talk radio in the morning and bang cups and throw brushes. I tiptoe around the apartment taking 15-20 minutes longer so Brent can sleep in 'til whenever (he's unemployed at the moment - looking for anything in electronics and we're willing to move if you know of any opportunities). I dry my hair in the bathroom with no mirrors or even a place to plug it in (the cord barely extends from the nearest outlet on the other side of the door), I put make up on in the dark and try to float in and out of the bedroom (in case you don't know me - I don't float I clomp). I didn't think this would be as much of a problem, but when we talked about moving in he had a job and was up in the mornings as well. Of course, life changes plans.
Yesterday, while working out, I was on my pull up bar - the type that is placed in the door frame with no screws or attachments and the weight of pulling down holds the bar in place. For over a year, I've not had a problem with this bar, but in the move I forgot this little metal clip that didn't seem to matter in the engineering (says the writer who clearly knows her engineering principles because she read the DoD engineering basic principle guidebook). I can do a few pull ups on my own, not a lot but a few. During this particular work out I have to do over a hundred (I told you insane), so I use a chair to prop up my feet. To make it harder I place the chair in front of me so my feet are straight out, not below me. This technique gives me leverage, but doesn't allow me to lift myself up using my lower body. I did one, two, three and the bar started to give. I looked up to see it coming off the door frame. There was no time to react and before I knew it I was on the ground looking up with the bar in my hands thankful it didn't crash down and break my nose as well as my back. Sometimes I think there has to be a god and he has a sick sense of humor. I jumped up and changed work out videos. I still had time to squeeze in some Tae Bo (I've been a fan of Billy since I was 15 years old). If I couldn't do upper body out of fear of the stupid pull up bar, I could still do core work since I am going to a water park on Friday and want my abs in tip top shape. It starts with body twists. Squat down so your knees are at a 90 degree angle and twists your torso from one side to the other so your upper body is adjacent to your lower body. Now, do this for about seven minutes. Twist, twist, twist, PULL! And the collateral damage of my accident on the pull up bar surfaces. My entire neck and upper body stiffens like a tree bracing for an earthquake. "Fuck!" I whispered so not to wake anyone. "Mother fucking fucker fuck," I whisper with an intensity to match the pain but as silent as this little church mouse I'm about to find and curb stomp. I don't care what my mother tried to teach me - the act of yelling expletives does indeed relieve pain (I'm sure if I looked long enough I could find a grad school thesis explaining how the act of yelling releases endorphins somewhere, but without evidence I can tell you it does). Armed with Tiger Balm and a chiropractors number I get ready for work.
I tried to explain this incident to a few of my coworkers and boss yesterday and they laughed, which was the reaction I was going for as I told it in my most dramatic/comedic tone. I went to the chiropractor and will go back in a day or two because it still hurts this morning, but is getting significantly better.
When I woke up this morning an unfamiliar dread creeped into my body. I sat up and stretched my neck from left to right - still sore. I'm full of nervous energy from not working out yesterday and after a day of absolutely no focus on anything because this energy and pain I'm tempted to try. Do I work out and risk hurting myself more but give myself the confidence to wear a bikini on Friday or do I go back to sleep which is probably the best for my body? Well, too late for sleep since I'm up now. I decide to take advantage of this time and energy and write. I get up, make some tea, and tiptoe into the bedroom. I turn on the computer on and dim the monitor light, plug in headphones and start typing away.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Brent rolls over and lets out an exaggerated sigh. "Can't you use your fucking laptop."
"It's broke." I whisper, feeling bad, but not bad enough to stop. My laptop is broken and his doesn't have any of my documents on it and typing on a laptop while sitting in a lazy boy is not comfortable or condusive to focus and creativity.
Another long sigh and he puts on a pair of boxers and wonders out into the living room. I sit and think about it for a minute. I guess I could read and try to finish the book about a plague that wipes out 99% of humanity and is written about the survivors (appropriately called "Survivors" by Terry Nation). I decide to give in and let him rest and shuffle out of the room to tell him. I assume he's smoking, but find him asleep on the couch.
I guess this is the moment when a good girlfriend would go wake up her honey and tell him she's going to rearrange her life to fit his unemployed life. A good girlfriend would probably cook him breakfast before she left for work too. A good girlfriend wouldn't be as loud as a fucking elephant in the morning, but I'm just not that person. I will never be quiet and sometimes a selfish act is justified. I turned the computer monitor down, I typed as quietly as I could. I've offered him my Brookstone sleep mask I use on long flights and told him to buy earplugs, but he seems to think I'll stop running into the weights at the foot of the bed or the dresser, the desk or the closet door less once I'm settled. I guess he thinks I'll devlop super powers that allow me to see in the dark and generate heat from the palms of my hands allowing me to dry my hair without a noise machine. More than that I think he believes he'll get used to it, maybe he will but until then I can't comprormise by going to work looking like a homeless person who bathed in the San Diego River behind the office. There is just no room for compromise on my part. I will get up in the mornings to write and work out and go to work and he is going to try to sleep, bitching and grumbling every morning when I wake him up.
I know this will work itself out eventually. I don't need a lecture on how love is patient and kind and relationships require compromise and all that crap. Right now I just need to bitch because I'm awake and I have nervous energy that I can't go sweat out. My attempt to write anything positive or work on the essay I want to submit to a local anthology with a deadline at the end of the month is a moot point. In the "Artist's Way," one of the first exercises she teaches is to write three pages of negative in the morning. Dedicate three whole pages of a journal or MS word or wherever you write to just plain old bitching. I think this is the best writing exercise ever and I need to add it to my daily regiment again. The purpose of the exercise is to write out all your self doubt, anger, frustration so you get it out of the way on those three pages and can silence the vampires that keep you from your creative works. I guess this morning it is three public pages because I feel like I need to produce something and I don't have time to do three pages and then blog afterwards.
Earlier this week, I woke Brent up while trying to apply what little make up I wear, powder and mascara if I even remember it, without poking my eyeball out and when he woke up he told me my shirt looked like a maternity shirt. When I got mad he called me a bitch. Well, who isn't a bitch in the morning when getting ready in the above mentioned atmosphere and being told you look pregnant while trying to cater to his royal pain in the ass?!
I do love him and it makes sense to live here so when I get home we'll talk. I'll apologize with a velvet dagger, "I'm sorry but mornings are my time to do the things that I want to do without the rest of the world demanding my time, patience and attention. I'm trying to be quiet but I'm not going to change my routine..." I'll explain how after nine hours of doing technical, logistical paperwork and sitting through meetings all day I come home to cook dinner (he does the dishes if I cook and I hate dishes more than I hate cooking) and it's already 8 pm. At that point I'm exhausted and just can't turn on the creative faucet and let it flow from me like the Amazon River. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that for you non-artists folks. My faucet is on in the morning and if I don't plug the sink it all goes down the drain completely waisted. Could I train myself to work the other way? Probably if a gun was held to my head, but a gun isn't held to my head. I'm not sure if I'll be able to start getting up at 0445 instead of 0530 to write for 45 minutes before working out once I'm settled in more, but I'd like to eventually. My body has always been in tune with the natural cycle of the sun/moon. When it's dark I sleep, when the sun rises I wake. It's strange in this world of artificial lighting, cities that never sleep, and demanding careers/life, but I am an old timer and my body really is in tune with this natural life cylce.
In a relationship there will always be compromise and someone will always feel like they are giving more than the other (maybe both parties feel this way), but some things just can't give. Maybe the answer will be to get a two bedroom once he's working again. It would be a new and nice concept to have a physical room to write. Maybe I'm dreaming too big for this economy, but it is that dream that is going to get me through this transition period. We'll work it out down the road with ear plugs, making room in the living room for my computer or something else, but I'm not going to compromise my writing any longer. Growing up, I compromised my creative ambitions to study math and science in order to get a good score on the SATS to get into a good college. In college, I took creative writing 101 with Barbara Bean on a whim. She gave me permission to study it, to be a writer. "You're really good at writing," she told me after workshopping one of my pieces, "why don't you major in it?" I didn't even know you could major in creative writing at that point, but so say we all - it was decided. I declared a major at the end of my freshman year. For three years everyone told me to pick something more useful, but Professor Bean believed in me and with that one little compliment I was able to tell them to fuck off and let me be. People always seem to know how you should live your life and no idea how they should live thier own. I suppose I do the same to my siblings, I think it's only natural. After college, I had to compromise my writing to pay the bills. Literally starving in NYC and sleeping on floors and couches, I gave up my dream of being a starving artists to join the Marine Corps (huge leap, I know - maybe this is proof that worm holes exist in the universe). In the Marine Corps, I gave up writing for mission accomplishment, but continued it "as a hobby," I would say to my commanding officers.
Now, I understand that the key to compromise is balance. I, Lisbeth Mae Prifogle, will give in, but to a point drawn either in the sand or with pixie stix wrappers down the center of a dorm room. I have to go to work to pay the bills - yes. I have to be quiet in the morning becuase I don't live alone - yes. I have to give up writing either as a hobby or in a vain attempt to be a "real" writer, whatever the hell that means - no. Plain and simply, no. The world can take, I can give but I won't give up writing ever again. Sigh, but now I have to go be a logistician ......