Hibernation Alert

tabby cat peeking out from beneath a blue and white woven blanket

I’m indulging myself with a post on a topic I like to call, “Weird things about me it’s useful to know.” I’ve been clicking “follow” and “friend request” on social media quite a bit of late, so it might be relevant.

Today’s topic: seasonal hibernation.

From mid-November through mid-March-ish I become a sleepy, grumpy cat who lacks the strength needed to maintain a Public Face and handle Other People. I don’t actually sleep more, but I have to warn y’all, I do pull away from the everyday world.

A similar retreat predictably happens in early summer, so it isn’t a light-related thing. Nor is it a bad thing. It’s simply a cycle I’ve noticed. I have energy phases. Not ups & downs so much as shifts between outward-tolerance and inward focus.

This inward phase starts around Halloween, and I’m in full retreat-to-the-den mode now.

This is blog-worthy for two reasons.

1. Buffering.  I never want friends to feel neglected, but my emotional tank drains and freezes. Simple activities that come more easily during other months (never easily, let’s face it, I’m profoundly introverted and let’s not even mention the anxiety) take me ten times longer to accomplish and take ALL my energy.

I’m talking little things like reaching out and making phone calls or sending messages. Things like responding to emails, texts, or social media. Important, adulting, professional things. Necessary-to-modern life things. Yeah.

Conservation gets me through. I limit or put off outside obligations until the season turns and I come ’round face to the world again, about the time crocuses open to greet the returning sun. This allows me to devote my small energies to stuff like washing, dressing, creative projects and research. I do my best research in January. ADHD hyperfocus FTW.

Also I ramp up activities like baking (SO MUCH BAKING) blogging like this, decorating my space with sparkly brightnesss & color & coziness, and so on. Nesting, denning, hibernating things. Wrapped-up-in-me things.

Is it selfish of me to go dark in The Giving & Socializing Season? Yeah, I’ll cop to that, but self-care isn’t only a buzzword.  Gotta put on my oxygen mask if I’m to be any good to others…

…because the OTHER thing I’ve noticed is that if I fight this deep-rooted need for quiet downtime, if I pour energy into Pretending Normal and Performing Enjoyment through the gray of winter, an emotional crash-and-burn of epic proportions WILL follow.

NO THANK YOU.

Which brings us to the second reason I’m bothering writing about this:

2. Boundaries. Guilt trips do not motivate me, but every so often someone treats clearly-defined requests for space as a challenge to be overcome with shaming, or they interpret low enthusiasm for their <insert personal topic here> as a value judgment or a failure to care enough about them. Friendship bridges have burned over this.

I’m hoping this forthright admission now will prevent misconceptions later. So.  If you didn’t know this about me, now you do.

Important caveats:

A. My online presence may appear to contradict what I’m saying here. That’s not ideal, but that’s a professional obligation as well as a personal pleasure, so I ALWAYS scrape up new posts and (nearly always) manage to reply to direct contact. (NOT FB Messenger. Sorrynotsorry.)  I lean hard on memes, GIFS, and my habit of sharing random sock & lunch pics. (BECAUSE WHY NOT? I LIKE FUN SOX.)

B. Needing to be quiet and unsocial is NOT the same as wanting to be alone.  Even when I am a sleepy, grumpy cat, I love being around people doing things.  From a corner. Watching.

Having good friends in my Nice Quiet Space, hanging out doing their own Nice Quiet Things. (Or Nice Loud Things, as long as I don’t have to be loud too) is the absolute BEST. I mean, then I can feed people, and that energizes me. Super-best is when they invite themselves over so I don’t have to spend energy to reach out.

But I will invite as much as I can, and I will NEVER be hurt by declined invitations. I grok needing bubble time.  Second best is when I get invited to other spaces by people who make it explicitly clear it’s okay for me to lurk in corners and not stay long.

C. Communication is the most stressful part. I do a fairly good job of faking people skills, but it’s ALWAYS an exhausting job that requires constant mental processing and accessing memorized talking templates while monitoring a bunch of verbal and non-verbal feedback loops to assess efficacy. Example below:

 “Did I react appropriately to that exchange of information, why did they shake their head at what I said, what does that expression mean, they said a nice thing but the tone doesn’t match,  why is that posture vibe scraping my nerves, was that a rude comment, was I too loud, too abrupt, what does that smile mean in this situation…aaaggghhh!!!”

Yes, that is what conversations are like for me. Yes, every conversation. Even ones I enjoy with people I love. Multiple channels running all the time, and a lot of saved verbal scripts used. So I guess that’s a whole ‘nother Weird Karen Thing. Point is, it’s never an easy haul, and in the cold midwinter I don’t have the mental muscle to power through much of it.

ANYway.

That’s all there is for now. Next post will be about baking again. Or maybe about more weird stuff. Time will tell.

Happy hibernation, everyone.

tabby cat peeking out from beneath a blue and white woven blanket
Image by Melanie von Gunten from Pixabay

 

 

 

 

Real Estate Adventure complete!

The final boss battle wasn’t so bad at all.

  • A bunch of papers signed ahead of time
  • A communication from our most excellent lawyer
  • An email from the bank

…and just like that, we’re a one-house household again.  The deal closed around noon today,  21 years and 5 months to the date from closing on our “starter home.”

Farewell, little old house. May you be as good to your new owners as you were to Spouseman & me, whatever future transformations & transitions await you & them.

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Last pic of this house ever.

Meanwhile, in the new little house…<cue celebratory music and dancing>

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Instead, I expect to take many pics of this little home in the coming years

WOOHOO, the life-draining distractions are back to normal levels! Only one trash pickup to remember. One set of utility bills to track. One set of to-do lists. ALL THE SHOUTYCAPS AND HAPPY EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!

I am giddy with anticipation and basking in possibilities. At last, I have a true room of my own, with time and air to breathe. (and a figurative raised middle finger to the specter of Charles Bukowski and his repeated dismissals of any creativity too fragile to survive without quiet, patient nurturing.)

That attitude just chafes me sometimes, especially when I am being one of those people who “can’t find time” and every post and article I read talks about “making time” like its mac & cheese from a box.

Not all artists have the kind of creativity that can be wielded like a hammer of raw elemental emotion, not all of us have molten passions that pour from our veins and pores in unstoppable torrents. Some of us coax beautiful creations from silence and soft, slippery emotions too delicate to survive in the hurly-burly environment of a busy life.

When it comes to art, I’m a blower of soap bubbles, and I dare anyone to  blow good soap bubbles in a hurricane.

And, hey, look! I’m writing again already. Take that, “make-time” advice people.

Until later, all.

 

We now return to My Favorite Topic: The New House.

Dragon Con is over. I apologize for not doing much post-con networking & communication, but I can’t seem to squeeze in time and brainpower at once. New House Stuff has taken over my life.

Brain inertia issues are partly to blame. Once my mind is set on a project–in this case, “nesting into the new space”– it’s nigh-impossible for me to switch mental gears to work on anything else.

Things have improved immensely since the Early Post-College Years, when I would forget to eat or drink when I was working. But it’s still hard to tear myself away from all things House Related to do anything else (like, say, blog about the house, or write anything else…)

Also, life is just HECTIC.

During the frenzied house–filled weeks between closing-then-GenCon & Dragon Con, my calming litany was, “Things will quiet down once Dragon Con is over.” Yeah…no. NOPE. No sign of quiet.

Every day, I work on things until I am exhausted, eat supper, read until I fall asleep, get up, rinse & repeat.

The day Spouseman & I flew home, we dropped off luggage and went right back out to buy furniture to construct. (IKEA is perfect for those of us who have houses with tiny doorways & steep stairs) Also, grocery shopping. And laundry round 1.

Yesterday, Laundry part 2 got done between shopping for other new home necessities & finishing work on the Old House. Unboxing, furniture placement & bookcase filling took us well into the night.

Today I was all over the place. Felt like nothing got finished, but…
Outdoors: organized the garage & did tons of yard work. Indoors: rolled out rugs, put up paintings, learned to operate a new carpet cleaner & steam-cleaned a BIG room.

Tomorrow I do return/exchanges, oversee the Old House real estate pics, take care of the Old House yard, & back at New House, I ned to move stuff into the room with the cleaned carpets.
And maybe…just MAYbe…get a little quiet time.

I hope.

Until later!