It’s cold out.
I don’t mean the cold where you pull your coat around you a little tighter, shift your scarf up over your nose, can see each exhale as it freezes and rises toward the clear winter sky.
This is the cold where your face hurts, your lungs ache, your nose always runs and/or boogers freeze your nose hairs stiff, where no amount of layers can really keep you from experiencing some level of bone-penetrating chill. Where you warm up for the five minutes it takes you to shower, and are frozen again in minutes because cold air on wet skin only hurries the process.
This is the Midwest, and winter is finally upon us. I’ll admit, I had my doubt that it would ever actually show up, and I was totally fine with it. 30s and 40s I can handle. Negative numbers? Negative.
A funny thing happens when the weather gets to this point. See, during the warm months, I’m rarely home. Maybe one night a week I go straight home from work and settle in for the evening. But in winter…ohhhh, in winter, I don’t leave the house unless I have to. Unless I’m being paid to leave.
Most years, that is a slight exaggeration. But this year I find myself clinging to home more than ever. Partly by necessity. I have a book to finish and edit, and it’s definitely not getting done if I’m gone. So I’m turning down plans left and right and sitting in front of my computer, squeezing words out until my eyes won’t focus on the computer screen anymore.
Here’s the problem with my hermiting this time around. I am self-aware enough to know that I’m somewhat using my writing as an excuse to ignore the other things going on in life. Work is insanely stressful. There are some family medical issues going on that are under control but still scary. And sometimes it’s just too exhausting to go out into the world and pretend that everything is hunky-dory (did I spell that right? Does it even matter?). And I do have to pretend, because I’ve learned that it makes people extremely uncomfortable if I admit that I don’t always have it all together. They edge away, stop calling, find excuses to justify not checking in. And that works for me, because it feeds my need to stay at home in my own little nest.
Thankfully I’ve had some good friends who live in my computer who have checked on me, who realize this is not good hermiting. Even if they can’t be here in person to drag me out into the miserable cold kicking and screaming, they are there, telling me I’m not alone.
The upside of the hermit life is that I am getting super close to being done with this book! Yay! Never quite fast enough, and unfortunately my creative peak comes somewhere around 1-2am, which really doesn’t work for my dayjob schedule. But we do what we have to for our art, yeah? Hopefully soon enough I can be back on a normal schedule, and back to my normal self, which in itself is fairly abnormal, but in a charming way.
Stay warm, friends! Spring will be here soon!