Sunday, May 3, 2020

Waking Up One Day Someone New

She was a lush, a slut, an utter wreck. Each night she downed a bottle of Chardonnay, often tacking on a few beers or cocktails. She would wake up bloated and groggy, yet her insecurities and fears drove her to the gym and to count her calories like they were precious nuggets of gold that had fallen out of holes in her soul. She held onto her beauty like a thread, but her white-knuckled grasp was tight indeed.

At this point, her spirit had become nothing more than a reused, frayed burlap sack. Nobody would take the time to pick it up from the roadside ditch and mend it back together again with a needle made of love and thread of tenderness, let alone want to trade places with it.

Yet myriad folks have envied Jane's lot it life. The way her cleavage slipped accidentally from behind her garments like a coquettish child playing peek-a-boo. The way her dimples seemed to form in sync with the radiant glint in her eye. But little did these gawkers and wannabes know that Jane was merely a creature of habit. Countless nights had been spent in her teen years in front of the mirror, observing the way her body moved, anticipating the best postures and angles needed to procure maximum satisfaction in her peers (and often in her superiors, too). "What a beautiful creature," they would comment on the side, their assumption being that she was born that way, no work required, like an Arctic fox cub born into aesthetic perfection. Little did they know.

Habits had made her who she was and they could make her into someone else one day, too. Afraid of waking up one day someone knew, she was reluctant to make any life-altering changes, so, instead, she set out to prove to herself that she could stay consistent with a new habit, only this habit would be purposeless, nonsensical, an experiment designed to nudge her in the direction of change without actually changing anything.

What pointless new routine would she decide to take-on then? A few ideas had been circling like sharks through her head. One was to cut a single strand of hair from her head each evening. Another was to knock twice on her own (empty) apartment door each morning as she was leaving for work. A third, the eventual choice, was to fill up a cup of water upon waking and, before doing anything else, to pour it in the toilet.

So that is what she did. For an entire year, she filled up a five-ounce paper Dixie cup with water from the bathroom tap and poured it into the toilet. Jane poured it rain or shine, healthy or sick, calm or stressed, drunk or sober. And unpredictably, consequences did occur. She had thought that this would be a consequence-free exercise, but oh how wrong she had been. That simple, seemingly meaningless little ritual transformed Jane inside and out.

She became less lonely, for one thing. The part of her that drank and obsessed over prostrating to her many insecurities seemed to be a different being than the sly fox, the trickster, who poured the water into the toilet each morning. The Jane who had spent her youth manufacturing her image in front of the mirror found this newfound persona despicable, and vice-versa. Interestingly, the more Jane's front and center mind (her Driver) dwelled in the satisfaction that the water pouring ritual gave her, the more she handed that trickster the keys, and the more the old Jane took to the backseat.

The backseat on the road of life can be a lonely place indeed. Often the road is dark and forlorn with the only light being the radio display up front. One can lose touch with oneself if stuck in the back for too long, and as the sly fox navigated for the driver it also picked the tunes to play on the radio and, all due to this funny little ritual, Jane's Driver began to prefer the trickster to the insecure perfectionist.

Jane started forgetting to doll herself up like she used to. Her bosoms often found themselves comfortably bound up behind sweaters and turtlenecks. Those manufactured smiles, like sidewinder missiles, found themselves forgotten back at the hangar for Jane turned inward for warmth and happiness more and more frequently with the trickster in the front seat. She needed the stares of others less and less to be content with her life.

Over time, she found herself skipping after-work happy hours and forgetting to go down the booze aisle at the supermarket. She began getting most of her exercise outdoors at green parks with paths made of wood chips and that smelled of mulch and grass clippings. All because of that funny little ritual. One day while at the park she caught the eye of a bearded stranger and knew that he was the one for her. It was love at first sight and the twinkle in her eye that had once been entirely contrived, came out of her as innately as a bird flapping its wings, and she flew somewhere new that day, somewhere lighter and loftier, somewhere she could never and would never return from, all thanks to pouring five ounces of water into the toilet each morning upon rising.

No comments:

Post a Comment

back to top