Before Peyton started kindergarten my life was set by the sun and moon. Alarms factored very little into my life. I led a charmed, though albeit unemployed life for years.
Things changed drastically the spring before school started. I wasn’t making ends meet and so took a second job that required I arrive by 7:30 am. It felt like hell on earth. That fall I quit so I could take my own baby to school and ever since I’ve been a slave to drop-off and pick-up and after-school commitments with our summers chock full of camp commitments starting by 9 am.
This summer we’ve decided to cut way back on all of it. My ex will take care of his weeks and I’m responsible for mine and since money continues to be tight I can’t afford camps and Pey is dragged to my office on short days and dropped off at my parents’ on long ones.
However: NO ALARMS.
No goddamned alarms kicking me out of slumber. No groggy morning routines. No interrupted afternoons. No stolen pockets of time. No bedtimes.
And it is fucking glorious.
This is the second week of summer vacation and my first week without my baby. Each morning I awake gently, early still. I stretch, I let the dog out, I lay back down, I take pictures of my 40-year-old body and think, Not bad. I research how to make the perfect French pressed coffee.
And then I sit at my kitchen table with the window open behind me and I write and catch up and read my friends. My bottom was sticking to my cheap plastic Ikea chair so now I sit on a cheap Ikea lambskin. It’s like a dream come true.
I’m already trying to figure out how to incorporate this into my life come fall. I struggled to find time to write during the school year; the only time I had free was in the evenings or an hour or two during the day but I found myself worn out and empty.
Was it Hemingway or London who’d get up at 5 every morning and write for two hours then just chill the rest of the day? I know that’s when I’m my most creative and relaxed and I feel like a motherfucking winner if I allow myself to write in that space. And yet, I rarely do.
I get distracted by my phone, IG, sexting (if I’m lucky), crap around the house, whatever.
At the Tate with Ben we wandered into the room with some Picassos and Dalis. He was impressed — this wasn’t what he was expecting to see that day — then wandered into another room with art by people we didn’t recognize. “You know what makes this art?” I asked him. “The fact that these people say it is and work so hard to put it out there. If they didn’t, it’d just be a hobby.”
I’ll never be a lauded author, but I know this is more than just a hobby. I’m a writer, a poet, an artist. This summer I want to reconnect more deeply with what makes me tick, what drives me. It used to be that I floundered aimlessly. Lately I still flounder, but I have an idea of where I want to go.
It’s been 3 weeks since London, since I allowed anyone to enter my body. I’ve shared kisses twice since I’ve returned, but I am in no rush for more. The thought of anything less than what I experienced with Ben shuts me down. This summer, I have a feeling, will be one with many early mornings at my kitchen table and quiet nights alone. I need to catch my breath and embrace the writer in me anyway. I don’t want this to feel like a hobby. I want it to feel like motherfucking art.
This could end up becoming the summer of no men.