Waking Up

Waking up is the worst. Not from bed, but from what I can only call “COVID slumber”: the choice I made sixteen months ago to tone down and tune out much of my life in order to shelter in place, as we were told.

I, like many others, rocked sweat pants and dress shirts. I prepared many a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and discovered, yes, it does indeed pair well with a nice Pinot Grigio and endless streaming of episodes on Hulu.

But now, vaccinated and part of the U.S. efforts to get back to normal, I am struggling with embracing what I so desperately want: the joy right in front of me and the light of my own creativity. But both are proving to be a bit elusive, and a bit exhausting once I find them.

Sometimes I feel somber, even when there is goodness all around me. Sometimes I would rather watch Schitt’s Creek reruns, like in COVID slumber days, than birth a new dream.

Incidentally, I am having this revelation while I clean a toilet. It is accompanied by the thought, “Dear Lord, how long have I been living like this?”

I am not proud, but I will admit freely to you: I have no idea the last time that toilet got cleaned. I am only cleaning it now because my sister comes into town tomorrow and I love her. Allison, you’re welcome.

Waking up isn’t easy.

Whether it’s to a job, a family, the love of your life, a dream you keep pushing off to someday, or a deep brokenness that you finally have to own, waking up to your world again always takes courage. And, I am learning it takes a lot of grace too. 

I have days where I turn back to COVID slumber. I have nights when I feel desperate for a glass of wine because this whole awake thing is overwhelming after so much sleep. It’s jarring to feel that side of myself, and it’s not the first thing I want to mention when a friend asks, “How are you?”

But here I am, in the thick of it, cleaning toilets and dreaming dreams. And maybe the most important thing I can do here is just keep waking up and trying again day after day.

Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world. She’s a 32 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart. Her favorite creative project right now is called Will I Break?, and someday, that manuscript may see the light of day. For now, she shares her thoughts here.