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I'm concerned that I am motivated entirely by pleasure.
I find it very difficult to get out of bed. In bed there is maximum comfort. My body is held, I am the optimum temperature, I am wrapped in soft covers that make me feel safe.
I need to get out of bed.
I think about the work I want to do. I do not move. I think about my responsibilities. I do not move. I think about food. I fantasise about delicious food. I am more tempted...
When I am with a lover, only hunger will move me from the bed. What more could a person need? When you already have company, sensation, laughter, connection - the world is yours.
I probably have womb nostalgia. Being born must have been a monumental shock. From perfect containment in the ultimate bed to being painfully pushed into erratic temperatures, separateness, not having sustenance on tap. No wonder babies cry so much.
But I'm not a baby anymore. I'm a grown woman and I have things to do! So why do I just lie here, marooned on my bed island with a thousand vessels available for my travel towards Productivity, but pretending there are none?
Why do I secure myself so absolutely to this bed, until only social obligation can unpeel me? What about my obligations to myself, my work, my passions? It seems that pleasure and comfort overrule. They rule the land of me.
I have no doubt it is fear, ultimately, marooning me. But it feels so much like pleasure and that's a more persuasive narrative. Naming it as fear; feeling skinless in a brutal world, overwhelmed by responsibilities to myself, the people I love, contributing something valuable, all make me cower more deeply under the covers.
When I am covered up, I am hidden, I can pretend I am not here. Cannot be called upon to create, to produce, to contribute. It's like when a child plays hide and seek and just covers their own eyes to hide and all the adults laugh because the child doesn't realise it can still be seen. I cover up my body in my duvet and I lie very still so no one can “see” me.
A part of me is powerfully invested in not being seen. All the days I am seen, all the time I am out of bed, feeling skinless in this brutal world, it depletes me, it devours me. So when I can, I retreat to soft, warm, stillness and I allow my skinless self to weep. To breathe. To regenerate. I allow myself to be held in stasis, like a nostalgic plastic action figure pining for the days when it was still in its box, with the packaging sealed. Dreaming of activity, but not actually getting the scratches and bruises that come with it.
And then I worry that if I became ill or if I was dead I would be forced into inactivity. And I feel more paralysed than ever. The irony! I feel guilty and stupid and lazy and a fool. But when one feels guilty and stupid and lazy and a fool, one does not want to get out of bed and expose this shameful litany of failings, one wants to nestle further and sink lower into hiding.
Marianne Williamson’s ‘Your playing small does not serve the world’ plays on repeat in my mind. Sometimes it inspires me to move, encourages me to act. Other times I hear it in my inner ear and I apologise and play even smaller.
At these times I wish I could be an entirely different person and I could rise proudly from my bed, no need for covers. Skin firm and strong like leather. Rise and conquer. Head held high. Body in motion. Unafraid. Unindulgent. Unfettered. Proud.
But instead I battle with myself. I fight and pull the hair of my own incompetence, berating myself for being self indulgent with a bashing right hook, sneering and pummelling myself for being lazy with fierce little fists. Sometimes a referee shouts “enough!” and out of sheer exhaustion I untangle myself, dazed and stumbling from my bed unable to stand another moment of the war.
So, it's unsurprising, then, that I feel tired a lot of the time. That when I am moving in the world, I yawn and sigh and exhaustion grips my throat and presses on my shoulders.
And I laugh mirthlessly at the unlikeliness of it all. For all that bed rest, I remain deeply unrested. And I laugh too at the other irony; that when night-time falls I do everything to avoid getting into bed.