In the early morning hours, before anyone else is up, while the cat is still stretching languidly in her chair, I begin my day. In this quiet early hour, I can hear the thud of the newspaper being thrown on the sidewalks, the coffeemaker finishing the last few drops and I hear the solid, steady tick of our clock on the mantle. This is my selfish hour. This is my cherished solitude. I must have it!! This is my time to drink coffee and absolutely, unequivocally “sit ugly.”
Sittin’ Ugly is a family tradition passed on by my 88-year-old Auntie Sue. Her mother did it, she does it and now I do it. I’m sure lots of other people on earth are doing it, but to do it correctly is an art. The skill of sittin’ ugly is learned and perfected through years of practice. There are rules of course, and above all, one must respect another’s right to sit ugly. There should be no judgment, the fact is, one just simply does…..sit ugly.
Everyone has their own way to sit ugly. But there are guidelines that I find very comforting and helpful to follow. Anyone that is new to the art will surely want to comply. The rules are as follows:
1. There must be coffee. Preferably freshly brewed with everything extra that you need, (cream, sugar, etc.) and of course the favorite mug. I’ve never known a tea drinker to sit ugly, but I suppose it could be done.
2. No talking!! No one speaks to you-you speak to no one. Sometimes it may be necessary to point or grunt especially if you have small children and they absolutely must encroach on your time. But, the only talking truly allowed is to yourself.
3. You must sit. My favorite spot is an oversized chair by the window. Above all else, you must pick a comfortable, familiar place to sit. It is always good to be able to put up your feet and have a little table nearby. Your sittin’ area should be away from anyone else who might be awake.
4. You may be asking yourself, now what? I have the coffee. I’m sitting quietly. Now what? The “what” to do part is really up to you. Sometimes I just sit and stare while sipping my coffee. Staring is perfectly allowable and even encouraged. I also read my daily devotionals and have long conversations with God. I contemplate my day and my life. I think. I don’t think and then I may stare some more, all the while continuing to drink my coffee. This part may go on for as long as necessary. One hour is perfect for me.
5. Lastly, about this “ugly” part. Sittin ugly simply means that you come as you are, straight from bed. No primping allowed! One must be ones’ self. Tattered nighty? That’s ok! Acne medicine dotted on your face? Beautiful! Scruffy old favorite robe and slippers? The older the better! Sittin’ ugly is actually a super-natural phenomenon that makes you more good-looking. The longer you have time to sit, the better you will look and feel. Try it and see!
Sittin’ ugly is my personal time. It is my favorite time of the day. Sometimes I can hardly wait to get up in the morning just to sit ugly. I am always at my best while sittin’ ugly, mainly because no one is speaking to me or me to them. What a joyous, peaceful time! What a perfect way to start your day, in fact for me, it is a necessity.
Some mornings my little Auntie will call me and ask, “Honey, are you sittin’ ugly or can you talk?” It is always good manners to ask first, in case one is not ready for conversation. Attempting dialogue before ready may result in hurt feelings, premature agreements, or regret, so approach your morning chitchats with caution.
My friend, here’s to “Sittin’ Ugly”, to having this special time each and every day and to the millions of us who find it necessary for the sustainment of sanity. And, here’s to my precious Auntie Sue and all the beautiful ones who “sit ugly”.
My little Auntie Sue passed away after her 90th birthday. She always had a kind word to say about everyone; she always looked for humor in every situation; she was always grateful and she always sat ugly…every morning and claimed it was the reason for her good health and good fortune. I miss her every day. RIP Auntie Sue!