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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.