Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peanut butter and hibernation

Reticula attended a fanfuckingtastic production of Hairspray this afternoon. When she went home, she considered taking a nap, knowing she should go for a bike ride on the first lovely day of fall. Knowing a nap would only slow her metabolism down, but a bike ride would do all kinds of wonderful, positive things. So instead of writing a nap into her story, which would only give her dreams to write about, but not real life, she wrote a bike ride into her story.

And not one damn thing happened that would be of interest to any of you. So much for that story. (If this makes no sense to you, read the post before this one.)

Tonight I posted on Facebook that I needed to write something, but the first day of fall was making my brain want to hibernate. Two readers posted ideas: peanut butter and hibernation.

I've never heard 3 words that have as little to do with each other as peanut butter and hibernation. I'm going to have to split them up and write about each.

I eat too much peanut butter. I'm making up for the years I didn't eat peanut butter because I thought I was allergic to it. I got really sick from peanut butter cookies I made years ago -- that kind with the Hershey's kiss on top -- and after that I was afraid to eat it. I knew it wasn't the peanut butter, but the flu, because my son Drake had it too, but I still couldn't eat peanut butter. Let me just say the story has to do with throwing up in the Kansas City airport while traveling with a toddler who also had it coming out of both ends. I had peanut butter trauma for years.

At some point I started eating it again, but only Kroger brand natural crunchy peanut butter. I love peanut butter on apples. And ants on a log. And a big scoop to lick off a tablespoon.

I have never had sex with peanut butter. Chocolate, of course. Whipped cream, which is for beginners. But never peanut butter. That should probably go on a list somewhere. There are still things I intend to try in the decades of life I have left to me. If that idea interests you, call me at 1-900-reticula. I prefer crunchy, and smooth really doesn't appeal to me, so take that into consideration.

Hibernation is an appealing concept, especially because I live in the midwest where we really do have gray, dreary winters. I'm a chilly type, so I have to wear layers, and sometimes they drag me down. It would be easy to burrow into the couch with a fuzzy blanket and refuse to come out until the daffodils bloom.

I don't dare do that. It would make me insane. I've tried it. I became insane.

I'm one of those people who is so extroverted, I'm an 11 on the Myers Briggs E/I scale. If I go more than 2 days without human contact, I start planning my own suicide. (Come to think of it, that's redundant. You can only plan your own suicide. If you plan someone else's, that would be murder. Interesting.) The longer I go, the lower I go.

All it takes is a quick trip to Kroger for natural crunchy peanut butter and a 2-minute conversation with a friendly checkout clerk, and I'm reset for the rest of the day. Coffee with a friend can hold me for 2 days. A party .... again, I can only go 2 days.

Anyway, this is one reason I would never want to relive my 20's. I didn't know myself in my 20's. And having grown up in a small town where I knew everybody all my life, I didn't know how to get out there and make friends after our numerous moves. I got depressed. Super depressed.

And the more depressed I got, the more I isolated myself, which made me more depressed, and so I isolated ..... It was a wicked cycle.

And it couldn't be broken by busyness. I was always busy -- creating, writing, gardening, reading, painting, sewing, canning, cooking, walking my dog. It could only be broken by human contact.

It took me a few years to realize I can never hibernate. No matter how cold it gets; no matter how deep the snow gets; no matter how gray and unappealing the dragging dark days of winter get, I force myself out there and act like it's summer.

Because, while I honor the seasons and I honor the concept of embracing the dark, the intuitive, the pain of life, I don't want to kill myself. I embrace the dark with other people.

I would make a terrible bear. Or Eskimo.

Last winter I suffered through a nasty case of food poisoning. Not to get too graphic and make you suffer too, but I couldn't leave the house for several days. I had my internet and my smart phone. People called, texted, messaged, Faceboooked, emailed ... I listened to part of a concert over Alex's cell phone and the band yelled "hi, Reticula!" to me .... yet by day-3 my kids were ready to hold an intervention (which would have had to have taken place in the bathroom). I went a little crazy.

But it helps to know myself. It helps to know what's causing it and what I need to do. Because depression lies its fucking ass off. And this is serious. Depression is only eclipsed by addiction and alcoholism when it comes to lying.

Depression tells me I feel too shitty (no pun intended) to go out. I just can't take talking to people. I'm too tired. I'm too anxious. Loud noises make me jump. I'm better off alone. I suck. I'm too depressed, and nobody likes me anyway.

That's why I'm glad I know myself well enough to say to depression, "I see you there, trying to make me hibernate here and go crazy with you. I don't care how exhausted you make me feel, I'm going out. And I will fake it until I make it ... without you, you fucking liar."

So, no hibernating for me, no matter how cold and gray and snowy the days. I'll be the one digging out -- both the snow and the blues -- and finding a friendly smile to fill my heart. Maybe it will be yours.

How about you? Peanut butter: crunchy or smooth? Hibernation: healing or depressing?

I just realized the only thing that tied these 2 topics together takes place in a bathroom, hopefully out of ear-shot of anybody else. There you go. In the end, this turned into another poop post.


  1. Peanut butter: definitely smooth. Crunchy weirds me out.

    Hibernation: both. If I don't have time by myself, I go crazy. I will literally just HAVE to shut down. If I don't honor that, I get panicky and feel sick and awful and don't say anything and end up crying in a bathroom somewhere. However, I haven't mastered the "I'm introverted and need time alone" vs "I'm depressed and need to force myself to be around people" balance. It's a hard balance to strike.

    1. Crunchy is the real thing. It's got peanuts in it. Smooth is just sticky stuff.

      I hear you about the balance issue. Even an extrovert like me has to find an evening to just veg in front of the TV alone. I take those breaks, but not so often I get sucked into the other other side. It took me a long time to know myself well enough to recognize which was social exhaustion and which was depression.