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alarm clock, bought from IKEA

alarm clock, bought from IKEA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is your new thing now

Naked as a rose

Everything exposed

But not quite

This is your new thing now

Cards out on the table

A genius with no label

But not quite, not quite

                                                -Shawn Colvin

                                            New Thing Now

When I wake up in the morning, I am a mess. My hair is sticking out in every direction. My sleepwear is bunched up in uncomfortable places. There is crust in my eyes and maybe the dried crust of a trickle of saliva running along one cheek if I’ve had a good sleep. There are creases on one side of my face. A limb that was slept on wrong is asleep and shoots tiny pinpricks of pain up an arm of leg when I try to use it. My neck has a crook in it. I can barely see. Not to mention the non-physical effects: I am a bit fuzzy. Sometimes I don’t know where I am for a moment or two. I can be startled by the alarm clock and nearly jump out of my skin. I am trying to make sense of a half remembered piece of a dream. “Why was there crap stuffed down my throat that I was trying to shovel out with my fingers?” (This scatological nightmare will be revisited later). I am good for nothing until I’ve completed my first morning ritual. For me, this includes going to the bathroom, checking twitter, and having a glass of soda (pop).  Maybe you go to the bathroom, drink a cup of coffee, make your bed, or wash your face. Maybe you start off your day with a prayer. Once you get the ball rolling for the first few minutes, once you can come to yourself, then you can begin the task of getting yourself into an acceptable condition in which to interact with the world.

But let’s stay with you, au naturel, just waking up–when you stretch, rub your eyes; scratch something, just before you start your day; in those quiet moments when you are coming to yourself, who are you? We all have different roles that we have to play. Some of us are students; others are workers. Some of us are wives, mothers, sisters, friends, bosses, colleagues, fellow church members, and/or a fellow train or bus rider on the way to work. But who are we really?

When I was in high school, my ethics teacher taught this annoying exercise where we had to answer this question. There didn’t seem to be an appropriate answer. If you said you were a Christian, he said “That’s your religion.” If you said you were Italian, he said “that’s your nationality.” If you said you were a student, a republican, a fun loving person, a boxer, or a chain smoker, your answer was similarly wrong. I don’t know if we ever agreed to anything. While this annoyed everyone, it did serve to help us realize that the things that we put such stock in aren’t really “us.” There are so many things that make up who we are, it’s very difficult to sum us up with just one descriptive word.

I won’t attempt to make you do that, but I think it’s something to consider. I think that the fact that I am a Christian says a lot about me. Knowing that, there are certain things you would expect of me, some which are erroneous and some which are understood to be the characteristics of a Christian. However, it doesn’t tell you everything about me. Am I funny? Do I sing loud in my car? What’s my favorite color? Do I like children? What bad habit do I have that I want to break? How did I get that scar above my eyebrow?

Without factoring in anything you are for or to anybody else, I want you to tell me who you are. Who is the naked you? You can include whatever you want—except a picture of yourself nude. I want you to define yourself for yourself. BUT whatever you write, you have to include something that leaves you a little bit naked, a little exposed. It may be helpful for you to describe you morning routine. What are the first thoughts that you think each day?

Don’t forget to put one thing you like about yourself, your empowering song for the day (or painting, or whatever you’ve decided to use) and one thing you are grateful for in this entry. Also, if you feel comfortable, include a horrible bathroom picture of yourself so we can put a face to your posts.