This looks familiar, vaguely familiar.
My alarm goes off, and I can’t. It feels like there’s something far heavier than my flannel bunny sheets and blue fleece blanket pressing down on my chest. The contents of my brain and heart resemble the results of when I try to make a slow cooker soup from a Buzzfeed recipe; enthusiastically pursued, but ultimately mushy and disappointing. I have slept for nine hours, and I am exhausted.
I hope that something better comes along.
My alarm is going off, because I’m supposed to go to yoga. It’s 8 am, and if I’m to make a 9:30 yoga class, I need to get up now, get dressed, eat a small breakfast, and start my 1.8 mile trek to the yoga studio by 8:45am at the latest.
“You like yoga,” the Nice Voice reasons. “You feel good after yoga!”
“Also, you’re fat and awful, and yoga will help fix that,” snarls the Unhelpful Voice.
“What’s the point of anything?” offers Depression.
“Come on! Get up! You’ll have fun! Endorphins are good for us!” Nice Voice is eager, but she’s already sounding panicked and feeble.
“Get out of bed, bitch. You can’t stay in bed and watch old SNL sketches online for an hour and a half again. You’re a lazy whore, and no one likes you. Do you think Amy Poehler and Tina Fey got where they are by staying in bed all morning and skipping yoga?” hisses the Unhelpful Voice.
“You’ll never be like Amy and Tina anyway,” Depression mutters. “And it’s cold outside.”
Unhelpful Voice knows my tricks. I slide my phone off of my nightstand, and bury deeper into the covers to watch Debbie Downer and Haunted Elevator each for the seven hundredth time. Admiring the sheer perfection that is Rachel Dratch helps to quiet the voices for a little bit.
“You can still make it,” whispers Nice Voice, full of encouragement and kindness. “The cold air will feel good on your face! You’ll wake up, and then you’ll want to write all day long, and you’ll finally come up with something amazing! Go for it! I believe in you!”
8:30am. Time to watch every Stefon appearance on Weekend Update. Bill Hader’s incredible.
“Okay, last sketch! You can do it! You can get breakfast afterwards! You can go to Starbucks, and it’ll be okay because you’ll have worked out! Please, Dani! Get out of bed!” Nice Voice is begging. She’ll do anything.
“I hate you so much,” Unhelpful Voice doesn’t need to yell this one. Her voice is quiet, pure, unwavering.
“Whatever.” Fair point, Depression.
This could become a habit.
Fast forward through every Emmy Awards opening monologue over the past four years– Andy Samberg’s stint was underrated, by the way– to 9:30am. No one is expecting me in person until 12:30pm, but I’m still embarrassed by my morning’s activities. I finally slouch off to the bathroom, unable to put off facing the day any longer.
I note my reflection in the mirror long enough to agonize over the blemishes on my face and the squish of my belly.
“Should’ve gone to yoga,” whispers Unhelpful Voice.
The orange pill bottle sits next to the bullshit Salicylic Acid-laced acne remover that doesn’t. Fucking. Do anything. It’s been a little over a week since I increased my dosage to two pills. Mood stabilizers. There’s currently a sheet of paper in my bedside drawer, upon which a doctor who went to college and knows things typed the phrase, “Bipolar II.” It’s been about four weeks of taking the medicine, too early to note anything besides a little nausea.
Now begins the changin’, mental rearrangin’, nothing’s really where it’s at.
A renewed sense of determination overtakes me as I step into the living room. The vacuumed floor floods me with a treacherous sense of peace.
“Psst,” Nice Voice, again. Cautious. “You can still do some yoga, if you want to. That still counts, right?”
I decide that it does still count. I light a lavender and sage candle, roll out my purple yoga mat, and go to my laptop to settle on a musical selection.
“This counts,” repeats Nice Voice, growing firmer as I set about this small self-care ritual.
But what music to accompany my solitary sun salutations? Something to pump me up? Something to calm me down? Tears start to well in my eyes and my breathing speeds up when what I need hops out of nowhere and punches me right in the heart.
Already sniffling, I type “Muppet Movie” into the Spotify search bar.
As Kermit’s banjo starts to plink, I step onto my mat. My eyes feel too big, I imagine I look crazy, I don’t know how to breathe anymore, my fingers are shaking, I feel like throwing up, I want everything to stop, I want everything to go away, I want to go away. I can’t, Kermit, I can’t. I’m sorry. I love you.
Why are there so many songs about rainbows? And what’s on the other side?
Beginning to quietly sob, I force myself through some easy stretches, through a sun salutation or two, through Tree Pose, which I genuinely enjoy. Nice Voice was right. I do like this. I do feel a little better.
I return to The Muppets pretty frequently when I feel like throwing in the proverbial towel. I’m not always okay these days, and I know there will be more mornings when the mere notion of getting out of bed and making a piece of toast fills me with a completely overwhelming sense of panic and despair. Deep in my gut, though, past the anxiety and the depression and the bipolar II, live the lessons of the Muppets. Gonzo’s enthusiasm and unwavering bravery. Rowlf’s pragmatic coolness. Fozzie’s ability to still find joy in his craft even in the face of cruelty and failure. The Electric Mayhem’s contagious glee in the creation and sharing of their art.
Kermit’s hope. Kermit’s determination. Kermit’s quiet struggle to be enough, to be a leader, to take care of himself and his friends, to accept that he’ll make mistakes along the way. Kermit’s realization that, “I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone. I promised me.”
I promised me. I promised Kermit. I remember how to breathe. I find Star Pose. I fill my Star with breath. I promise to keep breathing. I’ll need it if I’m going to keep chasing rainbows with Kermit.
Someday we’ll find it.
music suggestion: “the muppet movie” soundtrack, of course
hot drink suggestion: it’s not easy bein’ green tea with a little lemon