I get a late start on the day, and I realize I can’t let even that be okay. I let it ride me all morning like I am wrong, a crow hovering just overhead, scolding me. It nags at me while I do the dishes, pokes at me while I sweep the floor. If I must be so attached to judging, I wonder, shouldn’t I wait to scrutinize until the end of the day? Can’t I allow myself the day’s unfolding before I decide I’ve fallen short? Is it not possible I slept until the exact perfect moment for myself today? Even though now it is already after noon, could I not be having the exact perfect day? Might I not still find myself come evening with enough essays graded, enough blog posts written, a good half hour of qi gong and a second lovely walk to gaze back on? Enough to feel like I did good, like I met the invisible mark, like I’m okay? It makes me sad to think the freight train whir, the nothing I do is ever enough pattern, hard metal on the rails and chung of moving steel plays through every moment of my day, subliminal, echoing, endless.
I lost a class this semester, and even if I didn’t need to find ways to bring in more money to make up for it, I would still think I needed to work harder, do more writing, trim the pyracanthas, practice papier mâché. I would still think I needed to use those extra hours I’d been allotted every week. It never occurred to me until today that maybe after all my long years of working hard it might be okay to take it easier for one semester. It might be okay to just do what needs to be done, to slide into taking longer walks and let myself be seduced into quiet afternoons reading under the umbrella. It never occurred to me until just now that maybe losing this class was the universe telling me to take a bit of a vacation. But I like the idea, even coming late to it as I am. I stretch my legs out on the chair before me and lean back. Where did I leave my reading glasses?