It is early morning. Your throat is dry.
Your bladder is full and all you can do is lie there and pray the sky falls
or an earthquake, anything to keep you from having to cross the room and risk the stuff on the other side of coffee.
It is on a morning like this you literally must take it one step at a time. Literally. One. Step. at. a. time.
And you just can’t do it on your own without some kind of propeller. . .one you can put your finger on and spin it. ..
for this you need a mantra of some sort.
Mine has always been fairly simple. I put no thought into it whatsover. It just happened as I was dragging my fanny perpendicular down the steps so do some laundry I’d been avoiding. ..
And it goes like this.
OUCH goddmanit. (sorry, mom. sorry, god)
And after I get tired of that, the invisible sisyphus in my head just keeps droning until all I am saying is a lot of syllables that have about as much logic as that step on a crack stuff.
And likewise, mantra as phrase to drive away fear in its most basic manifestations.
Fear of not having anything to say in front of strangers. (Thus the repetition of those same basic syllables over and over ad nauseum. . .)
Fear of having too much in front of strangers. ( Thus the idea of keeping the overall message short and sweet.)
Fear of strangers in general. (Thus the intense focus on the sidwalk in order to avoid their x-ray eye contact.. .Especially once you become self-aware enough to realize you’re talking to yourself without a cellphone.)
But then there are the very real fears left over from childhood, fears that just made you scream till three in the morning, taking a break from it just long enough to ask for a glass of water.
Fear of other kinds of falls besides the sidewalk stuff, falls from forgetting where the imaginary island ended. ..and the imaginary water began. ..
Fear of falling into the toilet
Fear of seeing the dust monster under the bed, the one who liked to send messages in morse code. . .
and of course stop typing the moment your parents came in the room,
even though he was probably just waiting on an answer from the zombie outside the window . . .
fear of flunking the physics quiz. . .fear of unidentifiable bugs. ..
And what kept you going forward
in the face of all those things
is what amounted to more fear .
Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.
Step on a hole and the answer to that is just too awful for me to mention.
Which simply suggests to me
that there is comfort in knowing that if you faux pas over something small and insignificant
in the grand scheme of things, you must pay a very high toll to keep on going.
I imagine even Sisyphus in his bondage to that rolling stone must have had a mantra of sorts or he would have burst into flames or something.
“Foot down. Foot down. Foot down.”
Step on a crack, you break your mother’s back.
(i totally stole the teacups pic from this website: http://www.parnhamfunfairs.co.uk/images/Tea_Cups_B.gif)