Because unknown forces in the universe work against any attempt for perfection, here was how my first day to becoming Elizabeth turned out:
I awoke to daybreak, my alarm clock beeping furiously. It was almost 7 in the morning and I cannot remember the last time I woke up this late. The extent of my prayer went something like this, "Oh, my Lord, I'm late for work!" And I ran to the window, peered into the streets which confirmed that indeed, it is no longer dark. I said a couple of acceptable, Christian profanities and planted my feet slightly apart on the floor. I bent forward to touch my knees, the extent of my flexibility. One, two, three. There. I stretched. Then, like a derailed train, I proceeded to get myself and daughter ready for work and school.
I walked into work ten minutes late. Shoot, shoot, shoot! Epic failure on the first day but no worries, there was always tomorrow. I examined myself in the bathroom mirror and grimaced--this was not the picture of beauty. Crumpled hair, crusts in the corner of my eyes. I am shaming Elizabeth!
The following day was much better. I got up before 6AM--5:59AM to be exact (I'm serious!). I had time to say a prayer with several phrases and then I walked in my daughter's bedroom. Stretch time, baby! I placed an arm in an angle over my head and pulled. I'm sure I didn't do it right based on the searing pain that shot up from the back of my neck to the crown of my head. I went for the knee stretch, then the cat pose. I liked the cat pose because it was the least painful, which probably means I did it correctly, I hope.
Because the morning before was short of humiliating, I heated up my flat iron while I showered. And then, I made myself beautifully acceptable. My husband said, "Be careful out there. You look extra pretty today and you know how that can go." I nodded, yea, yea, not knowing what that meant. I felt good. I was awake while it was yet dark, I had prayed (somewhat), and I had stretched (somewhat), and for good measure, I spent some time on myself. It was going to be a good day.
I opened the door. It was raining. My hair slowly but surely, started sticking up. I didn't know who to yell at. At work, the girls said, "You straightened your hair on a rainy day?"
I could hear Elizabeth laughing. But wait, she wouldn't do that. She'd smile at me approvingly for trying. But there was laughter somewhere, probably from my coworkers.
I went to my second job later that day after trying to call out--again. People were happy to see me. I was proud of myself for being accountable. Then I went to the kitchen, and there it was. Brownies. I had bonded with my sister on her journey to a 90 day no-sugar diet and I had done real good, including drinking bitter coffee, for two days. Anyone who knows me knows I would probably sell my left kidney for a brownie. I heard Elizabeth speak:
Elizabeth: Don't do it, Chic. It's not worth it. You made a commitment.
Me: It's the size of my pinky.
Elizabeth: It's a matter of principle, which reflects your character. You made a commitment.
Me: It's Kosher.
Elizabeth: You made a commitment.
Me: (Grab the brownie, shove it in my mouth, chewed and swallowed without tasting.)
Needless to say, I returned to the dining room of this residential home where I treat a special needs child feeling like an absolute idiot. A brownie, the size of a pinky. And I was having such a good day.
I can only blame my poor start to these unseen forces in the universe. Clearly, they don't want another Elizabeth to exist.