As always, this time of year, I never know from day to day just where I will land. Oddly, of late, it seems as if Body has taken over from Brain the task of running hot and cold. Literally. It is as if Body has shouldered the bulk of the burden by fluctuating wildly from feverishly hot to chilled to the core. Frequently making me frantically shed clothing in an attempt to dump heat into the atmosphere before I am consumed in an inferno. Then, as suddenly, I am cold to the touch, hands icy, joints stiff with cold. It has given me an excellent physical focus for the insanity that often lurks about the edges, quivering in my peripheral vision, soughing in the shadows, whispering unintelligibly from just over my shoulder. In the night, instead of being roused by demons, I am rousted by the urgent need to kick off blankets and expose sweat drenched skin to winter's frigid night air, then to toss and turn, feeling heat emanating from me in near visible waves, until I cool enough to drop back into restless slumber. Wakening again, cold, shivering, to huddle under the blankets, alone, lonely, with no source of warmth to soothe Body and Soul.
Through this all, I am fighting to remain balanced, centered, calm. For the most part I have things well in hand, but some days, some days, like today, are harder than others. It is when out of the depths stir the feelings I had thought long buried, things too strong to remain buried for long, those feelings of my Strange Aloneness. Those moments, hours, days, when I feel at odds with the world, an outcast, misfit, stranger in a strange land. Try as I might, it seems as if there is no place in the world that I truly fit. Always the loner, the hermit. By choice or consequence? Nature or necessity? I have wondered this often enough in the past. Am I so alone because I don't fit in? Or because I throw up bulwarks to protect myself? Or am I just unworthy? Or am I just sleep deprived and worn out, making every internal dialogue that much more dramatic? But it seems as though when I do steel myself to extend a hand, to ask, to allow myself to need, that it goes unanswered, or ignored, and then I feel more alone than ever before. I open myself up, allow a crack in the armor, lower my defenses, and just find myself alone, standing in a field, feeling vulnerable, melancholy, lonely. So is it just easier, safer, to retreat to my hermitage, my solitary confinement, my fortress of solitude.
Tonight I find myself retreating to my armory, repairing the chinks in my armor, barring the windows, bolting the door. I have pulled out many of the weapons at my disposal to fight off the melancholy that lurks in the night, just beyond my stalwart walls. I have a slew of weapons, amassed and honed over the years, years of battling the same enemy that comes at me with different visages. Tonight it comes in the body of loneliness, this melancholy of mine, and my strongest weapon against it is the reminder that Alone and Lonely are not one and the same. I am alone, but that does not equate to being lonely. Or so I tell myself. Repeatedly. And now, as I wrestle with such nuances, Body comes to the rescue, distracting me with a flush of hellish heat, so strong my skin feels sunburnt and fiery. I am even beginning to flush, looking the part of one who has stood too close to the fire for too long. Shedding clothes between sentences, I am suddenly distracted from whatever morose maunderings have been wreaking havoc on delicate Brain. Hot and cold, better for Body than for Brain. Once again, Body to the rescue.