In the last two days I have been sequestered in my house waiting for an ice storm that failed to materialize.
I have groceries, and dog food, and coffee. If I really got desperate, I have wine with a damaged cork, a bottle left in the car overnight during our cold snap in December. I’ve got a bunch of books to read, and internet as long as the power holds. I’ve got extra blankets, a flashlight by my bedside, and plenty of warm socks.
But the ice storm did not oblige. None of this got put to use except that I devoured two of the Readers’ Advanced Copies which Caitlin Taggart Perkins gave me for Christmas.
I worked myself into three cabin-fever-induced crying jags, mulled over my failed marriages, weighed myself about a dozen times, and did 100 stretch moves morning and night. I convinced myself that nobody loves me, that I’m unlovable, but that anyone who failed me should suffer some terrible fate as payback. In turns. In sequence. Back and forth.
I think this is the price that I pay for spending so much time alone. Every mistake that I’ve ever made rises from my gut and bludgeons me over the head. Usually I can dash from the house, find a coffee shop, and let the chatter of others fool me into think that I’ve got a full life, even though no one occupies the chair across from me. But when I can’t go out, because my legs hurt too much, one of my viruses rages, or the weather poses too much threat, I suffer through these long stretches in which I convince myself that it is I who deserve punishment.
I drown myself in Hershey’s Kisses and tell myself that I got exactly what I’m worth.
But tomorrow, perhaps, the sun will shine. I’ll thaw out the Prius and put the dog outside. I’ll put on a dress, and some leggings, and a sturdy pair of shoes. If my neighbor has salted the driveway, I should be all right. I’ll make my way to the office and slog through the accumulated mail. I’ll answer letters and respond to motions. I’ll meet with prospective clients and scroll through social media. I’ll get by.
It’s the fifteenth day of the thirty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. My journey to joy, and life, both continue.