I appreciate the quiet in the morning. Far from a call for productivity, I sit in the quiet on my plush sofa and observe the dim yellow hue emanating from my window. I sit in silence, helping myself to a cup of coffee whenever I make the choice to continue living. I sit in my stupefied, groggy state and silently study my immediate surroundings. I try not to reflect on my life.

Those times pass slowly, not that I have an objective conception of time. But relative to the countless moments I have experienced throughout my life, it is a relatively long moment. While moments of joy, to me, are interlaced with an inherent fleetingness, my mornings have a sense of permanence to them that brings me to appreciate the opportunity to experience vulnerability once again.

I will experience these mornings from now until the end of my life. Each subsequent morning I experience brings me one morning closer to the termination of my existence. Each morning I experience could be my last. But, in the face of my conception of the value of my life, I am oddly complacent with the possibility of death. I would rather succumb to the limitations of my body than deprive myself of as universal of a beauty as those mellow mornings.

Because I will never be content with my life. To me, there mere definition of living implies a resting state of discontent. Feelings of contentment could only gravitate back towards discontentment given enough time to return to their grounded state. Any accomplishment or distraction to alleviate feelings of discontentment would only bring so much satisfaction. It would be hard to say that life has become more content as I have aged. And, as those feelings become less strong, other negative feelings of inadequacy or loneliness become amplified in the stillness. Soon enough, the cycle to satisfy a state of discontentment returns.

But, in those mellow mornings, I exist in a state of stasis. Although the rest of the universe is continuing to pass by, I certainly do not feel the effects of time slowly passing at one second per second. I just sit and observe my emotions pass through me. For as many luxuries that I have been afforded throughout my life, it seems that watching the faint, golden sun rays in my living room is one of the most universal experiences I could experience, at least one of the few experiences that seem the most real to me.

It is in these moments I lose my conception of time. I lose my understanding of the temporal context of my existence, instead temporarily transitioning myself into an immortal being until, of course, I regain my sense of time again. Because I can only conceive of a universe that is constructed from my categorization of stimuli, I, too, can only understand the nature of time relative to myself. When time passes slowly for me, I can only envision that the time would pass slowly for others as well. After all, ten minutes in the morning feels so much longer than ten minutes at night.

The act of waking is equivalent to fading back into existence. Sleep is but a temporary death, and waking serves as a transition into reanimation. Similar to what I would imagine individuals to experience after a metaphorical death, there exists a transition period once we wake up where we are neither dead nor alive. We exist rather instinctually, allowing the impulses of our bodies to guide us through the morning. From brushing our teeth the making coffee in the morning, I wonder if we are that different from high-functioning zombies.

Because I have not actualized the full extent of my body in the mornings, I am at the mercy of a series of compulsive thoughts that are normally repressed by my psychological defense mechanisms. Ideas and events that I have sublimed or deflected throughout the day return to haunt me in the morning. Every broken friendship or missed opportunity circles around my mind, ready to pounce whenever I do not have the state of composure to fight it off. And in those moments, when my mind has not full reanimated from the dead, I am at the mercy of those thoughts.

Even in terms of writing, I have a sense of expectations that are a constantly met whenever I wake up and return to those mellow mornings. When I had first started to think about mellow mornings a couple of months ago, I had been consistently listening to “Venice Bitch” by Lana Del Rey whenever I would boil the water to be poured into my oatmeal for the day. A few months later, I still am pouring the same boiling water into the same oatmeal, just a couple hundred miles away from where I had been previously. Even though the circumstances of my environment had changed, I still hold those mellow mornings to the same certainty.

Sometimes, during the day, I would genuinely forget about how sad I am. Sometimes, experiences throughout my day would convince me that my life had not been as melancholic as I had imagined it to be. I would call into question my memories, hoping that I had misconstructed the narrative that had defined my life, whatever that would mean. But, as we have learned from Lana Del Rey’s newest single, “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me”. Hope, unlike sadness, is ephemeral, and why would I ever attach myself to something I know to be impermanent? It is in those moments that I am reminded how temporary happiness is — how happiness merely exists as the suppression of sadness.

When I wake up in the morning, I am reminded of the sadness that permeates the foundations of my existence. The noise that has distracted me from my true nature — the conversations, the deadlines, the music — no longer have power to divert my attention away from my sadness. I would open my eyes in the morning to the sight of the faint blue and remember all that I had willed myself to forget. Sometimes, the birds would chirp in the leafless tree next to my apartment. Sometimes, cars would pass by leaving only the stick sounds of their tires on the wet pavement behind. Nevertheless, I sit still with my silence.

I would lay in my comforters with my eyes open. In those moments, I feel the most lucid. I feel the most in touch with the states of being that have come to define the majority of my existence. My sadness is unadulterated by a reason; it simply exists along with other metaphysical causes of my existence. It is in those moments that I remain true to the sentiment that I do not need a reason to experience sadness. If existence precedes essence, then certainly sadness would come along with existence. Similar to how I cannot image having an essence without existence, I also cannot imagine having an essence without sadness.

I am lonely. I am so lonely, and it is in those mellow mornings I feel the fullest extent of my loneliness, I use the material comforts in my life to mitigate my feelings of loneliness, but I will continue to be lonely for the rest of my life. It is in those mornings that I remember that I have been rejected by the world, and that every instance of my continued living is a rebellion against the rightful equilibrium of the universe. I am loved by some people in my life, I am sure, but I cannot feel love anymore. It seems that no matter how hard I try to allow myself to feel the warmth through others, I am always just left with feelings of alienation.

When did my affinity for mornings arise? I remember it had been mere years ago I had identified with being a night person. Or, perhaps, I had always been a morning person thought I did not realize it. I would like to think, however, that the appeal of mornings arose with my realizations of the sadness that infest every corner of my mind. It was only until I realized that the sadness had been existent when I found mornings and their consolidating properties to give me life.

Sometimes, like Lana Del Rey says, I also have a lust for life. Perhaps that would take form through sexual and romantic desire, but I wonder if that is the end of it. All those girls with whom I have had a sexual or romantic past seem to be doing well, and I am happy for them for living a life that is more joyful than mine. Or, is that something I tell myself to hide the bitterness I have for my own condition? It is hard to know these days. There exists the raw state of all my feelings and desire that I experience in the mornings, and then there is the sublimated versions of those same desires that I experience in my life. As I continue to age, it becomes harder to differentiate the two.

I am sorry to myself. I am sorry to the universe. I don’t even know what I am sorry for. I just know that I am sorry, and it in those mornings that I can feel how sorry I am for just existing. I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.