I’m Just Not A Morning Person, And Society Won’t Stop Punishing Me


In theory, I understand the whole “we get up and go to work at a certain point, and then we go to sleep at a certain point” thing. I get that daytime is when the scariest animals are generally chilling out in their murder caves, and the crops are particularly harvest-y, and so the cavemen were like, “Welp, looks like daylight is just gonna be our time to get shit done!” Then, at some point in the 1600s, some famous white guy in a wig was like, “The early bird gets the worm!” and even though some people were like, “Nay, good sir, the early bird doesn’t get to lay out in his bed and check his email and maybe drink a coffee or something,” the phrase stuck.

So it is from these humble-yet-important origins that the lives of night owls like myself are open for public shaming and persecution by the rest of society at large. Cool. Now we Gremlins get to face a daily onslaught that, aside from having brutal mornings to deal with nearly every day, come with the added bonus of chipper morning wood nymphs getting all kinds of in your face to tell you about how great their morning is and all the myriad things you could be doing to make getting up easier/better for yourself.

It does not mean that I am by nature antisocial or uninterested in getting to know my fellow human, it’s simply that, between the hours of 6 and 10 a.m., I’m just trying to get my bearings in a world that is at least 5 shades too bright and won’t stop making terrible, loud noies. If I’m sitting at my desk nursing a coffee and enjoying the time to just be chill and hang out with my own thoughts, the last thing I want is Joe McIGoRunningForHalfAnHourBeforeWork bounding up to me to talk to me at full volume about what he watched on TV last night. I don’t want to have to let slip through unavoidable body language that I am not fully risen from my coffin yet and thus can’t engage in a full conversation, only to be met with a giddy “Long night last night, huh?”

All of my nights are long, morning people. All of them. No, I didn’t go to a meth-fueled rave out in the desert last night that kept me up until the wee hours (though that may have been preferable), I just had a normal night, likely in or around my own bed. It is simply that, for whatever reason, my brain has decreed that the hours between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. are the hours at which all interesting and engaging thought are going to occur. I put myself down to sleep and even with no external stimulus, will just kind of sit helplessly as my mind whirs over a million useless things, occasionally stopping to discover a cure for cancer, only to forget about six seconds later. It’s the time I want to party, to write a novel, to talk to everyone, to blog about the meaning of life, to make a Nutella sandwich, and to cry over Ellie Goulding songs. It’s my time, okay? That doesn’t mean that I’m trying intentionally to stay up past my bedtime like some petulant seven-year-old, it means I am a prisoner to my own internal clock.

Yes, I have accepted that society demands of me a relatively early start time. I have found my requisite crutches and the breakfasts that make me feel at my most alert/ready/human (muesli cereal, tea, and a vitamin c chew for those keeping score at home). I know that the first five or so minutes where I’m in my bed that literally feels like a thousand small orgasms cuddling me all over my body and I have to force myself to get out of it are going to suck, but I know that it will pass. I have given myself over entirely to the idea that I will be running on society’s schedule, and not my own.

All I ask is that morning people be kind to night owls, that they try their best to understand how difficult life already is in the first few hours of the day and not compound it with suggestions on how to perk up and loud monologues about all of the things they’ve already accomplished. When I am just sipping a coffee and trying to get acclimated to human life, and someone comes up and starts talking at me, it’s all I can do not to just pour my coffee on them and burst into tears. Don’t do that. Be kind. Be chill. Above all, be the kind of person that night owls want to invite to their sweet-ass parties, because you know we’re throwing all of them.

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image – Sean MacEntee