AM/PM: Early to Rise

Welcome to AM/PM, where Autostraddle team members share our morning and evening rituals.

I have always been a morning person. Saturday morning cartoons, 7:00 AM “zero period” from middle school on, a bright and early geology class my first semester of college? All no problem. I think I get it from my dad. As far back as I can remember, he has been making coffee or already at his computer by 6:00 at the latest. So now I feel like I’ve wasted the day if I’m not up, dressed, and doing something by 8:00. Yes, I am one of Those People.

A white woman with short brown hair wearing a dark green t-shirt sits up in bed stretching her arms above her head. She's under a light green blanket, and the bedsheets are gray.

Hear me out, though — I think morning people just have really bad PR. Everyone assumes that because we get up early, we’re self-righteous about it. We can’t wait to tell you about our sunrise hike or how many charitable organizations we donated to while you were busy hitting snooze. Guess what: for me, not true! People love sleeping in! Especially on weekends! Great! I will let you do that! I’m not interested in lording my circadian rhythm over anybody. In fact, I think not having to talk to anyone for a while is the whole point. So by all means — stay in bed until noon and leave me alone.

A black iPhone 6s with a pink case sits plugged in on a black desk.

Being an early riser doesn’t make me immune to distractions. I fell into checking social media from bed and stuck with it for way too long despite the fact that it made me feel like garbage (because that’s how habits work). Recently I started stashing my phone on my desk rather than my nightstand while I sleep and dear reader, it has changed my morning game. Forcing myself out of bed rather than allowing for the linger gets me off on the right foot and makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something from the very beginning. Like, even if I do nothing else today, I got out of bed on the first try. Small wins, forward momentum, boom.

Two photos together: the top one is of a freshly made bed with a light green top blanket and pillows with teal, yellow and gray chevrons. Bottom photo is of a white woman with short brown hair doing a butterfly stretch on a blue exercise mat.

The Virgo Code of Conduct states that one must make their bed each morning, so once that’s done I settle in for about 20 minutes of stretching. Cerebral palsy makes my muscles really tight and stretching them out extra important. I didn’t get into doing it every day until college, but now I definitely understand what my physical therapists were nagging me about for years. (I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Barbara from Glendale Adventist Medical Center.) These days I feel off kilter whenever I don’t make time for it.

If you’re going to start stretching in the mornings, I recommend investing in a thick gym mat that will be kind to your creaky bod. This is the one I have.

The front page of a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, still wrapped in its packaging after being dropped off in the driveway.
Then I go outside and collect the daily paper from my driveway. That’s right, kids: I still get the newspaper! As paper! Mostly because I like doing the crossword puzzle by hand, but it’s also nice to catch up on news without having to spend even more time on my goddamn phone. I’ve really tried to cut back on gazing at screens this year because it helps me avoid Trump Despair and the newspaper is a great tool for that. I’m not actually a day behind in news because yes, I still use the internet, but doing in-depth dives at night or the next morning instead of INSTANTLY OH MY GOD TELL ME RIGHT NOW has boosted my mental state a thousand percent.

Also Rachel Maddow thinks you should subscribe to your local paper, so.


Whenever my girlfriend sleeps over, I make breakfast for us. She is much better at cooking dinner than I am, but she’s also not naturally a morning person, so breakfast is my time to shine. Whatever I whip up usually involves eggs because my roommate keeps pet chickens (and their terrifying coop) in the backyard, so we always have a surplus. Also the rumors are true: fresh eggs taste better.

I’m not as good about cooking involved breakfasts for myself, even on weekends. During the work week, I’ll usually just make toast or a smoothie and go. I’m getting better at prioritizing sit-down time — for instance, I’m now a night showerer after years of doing it in the mornings, and it’s really made a difference. But having my girlfriend there to cook for helps me slow down more and be appreciative. I don’t have to rush right away.

A plate of food showing eggs on toast with a small grapefruit slice next to it. There is a white mug full of tea in the background.

This time I made toast with eggs and Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam, which you should try if at all possible because it will make your life (and your breakfast sandwiches) better. I also really like this Numi Aged Earl Grey Tea a friend sent me in a post-election care package. Grapefruit courtesy of my girlfriend’s Imperfect Produce delivery.

A white woman with short brown hair and glasses fixes her hair by running her fingers through it. She is wearing a blue and white plaid shirt underneath a black houndstooth sweater.

Once I’m dressed and my teeth are brushed and I’m otherwise ready to head out the door, the last step is doing my hair. I stopped wearing makeup about four years ago and have paid a lot more attention to my hair since then. It used to be this thick sheet that went down to about my shoulders and almost completely covered my eyes. In high school and into college I would flat iron it to within an inch of its life because I didn’t know how else to manage it. Now that I’ve gotten shorn (as part of a larger effort to actually look how I want to look), I love the natural waves in my hair and how I can run my fingers through them. I used to use much more intense gels and such, but for now I’m into Jack Black Clay Pomade because it lets my hair be itself, just gussied up.

Related: I need a haircut.

A white woman with short brown hair and glasses wearing a blue and white plaid shirt under a black houndstooth sweater smiles close-lipped at the camera.
And thus, with our top buttons buttoned and our layers on because yes it was actually raining in Los Angeles at the time of this writing, we are ready to face the day.

Carrie's body is weird and she's making that work for her. She lives in DC by way of Los Angeles and has a conflicted relationship with social media, but you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram anyway.

Carrie has written 81 articles for us.

17 Comments

  1. “Morning people have bad PR”

    Yes! Although I wouldn’t exactly call myself a morning person, I would rather get to work early and leave at 4pm then get up late and not leave until 6pm. Sleeping in for me is 7am on weekends and that gives me a good couple of hours before I have to face the world. It’s lovely. It also helps that I have a needy cat who wants me to be awake when she is…

    • Cats always seem to know when to be their most insistent xD Mine are always up and crying for treats as soon as the clock strikes 5 (also they probably hear that alarm I try to ignore…)!

    • Imperfect Produce is great! I subscribed a few months ago and get a box every two weeks, they even let you customize what is in your box based on what they currently have in stock.

  2. Lingering too long in bed (or in my case pretending that I can fall back to sleep after my partner leaves for work) defs makes my mornings harder. Thanks for the tip on Imperfect Produce; I signed up to find out when they deliver in my area.

  3. Ugh I should really move my phone away from my bedside so I can’t do the linger (and also so I can’t fall back asleep in and out of snoozy weird narcolepsy dreams bc I drop right into REM when I fall asleep so I can keep the same dream going for a solid 5 9 minute snoozes, though each progressive dropping back in after hitting snooze makes the dreams like 10x weirder and more vivid, which is usually a fun weird so I am not super motivated to not do that in a barely awake frame of mind).

    And I should also stretch in the morning. I stretch at night because it helps with pain so I can sleep but man, stretching in the morning would make days be better and less painful.

  4. i wanna know if every gay person has those pillowcases/duvet covers from target because i know of at least 6 including me and you. also, shout out to early mornings. i haven’t been able to wake up later than 6:20 so thank you for making me feel seen.

  5. I am emphatically Not A Morning Person (I woke up this morning to let the dog out and feed her breakfast, as I am dogsitting, and then me and the dog went back to bed together), but this article is like, my goals. ONE DAY WHEN I’M NOT A LAZY MESS.

    Especially the stretching part. I have chronic pain and I’m still working on figuring out a routine that works for me, since I’ve forgotten everything my physiotherapists told me two years ago (sorry guys!) but I just watch yoga videos on youtube and try to make things work as best I can. Also trying to wean myself off catching up on twitter in bed.

  6. That breakfast jam sounds super tasty! I’ll have to pick some up soon. Within the last couple years I’ve had to go against my own rhythms and wake up at 5 am. I respect morning people, but as a night owl, it’s rough going :/ At least once I’m asleep, I don’t wake for anything ^^

  7. I’m a bit of an early riser. I have two cats that sleep with me at night. And what is interesting is that they are different waking up times in the morning. Rex likes to get up (and get me up) at 5. But Chloe likes to get up at 8.

    So if I am not up at 5, sometimes I sleep until 8. I should totally start stretching for my cerebral palsy too. I keep meaning to.

  8. “In fact, I think not having to talk to anyone for a while is the whole point. So by all means — stay in bed until noon and leave me alone.”

    This. This is so true. Also, if other morning people are anything like me, we can’t really help it.

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