I don’t like to drive when it snows. It’s a fear that has grown into a full-blown, anxiety-induced phobia. Of all my quirks and neuroses this is the one I loathe the most because it makes me feel flaky and wimpy.
Because I am a hearty Minnesotan, I spent many years white-knuckling it from here to there as my truck, Ruby, fishtailed with all her shitty 2-wheel-drive might. With every slip and slide and tightened grip on the steering wheel, I’d envision myself losing control and ending up dead in a snowy ditch. While this might seem super dramatic, twenty-one years ago Sister #2’s best friend died because of just such an accident. Jill was driving home from a friend’s house on Christmas Eve when her car hit black ice and slid into an oncoming SUV. Jill’s boyfriend died instantly. Jill lingered in a drug-induced coma for a week before she was declared brain dead.
Since 1991 whenever my car would slide on an icy road I was sure my own death was imminent. On a snowy day in February 2006 I found myself losing control and spinning into oncoming traffic until I landed on my side on a hill. It was terrifying.
So yeah, the more angry hermity I get the more this phobia grows. Now fast forward to a couple weeks ago when we got about 10 inches of snow on a Sunday. As the inches piled up my anxiety began, and I spent the entirety of the next forty-eight hours telling myself the roads would be fine by the time I had writing group on Tuesday night. They would be fine and I could drive to Minneapolis from Shakopee with my delicious cauliflower-lentil stew and spend the evening with the writers I adore the most.
I checked road conditions compulsively and read with dread as my Twitter pals complained about two-hour long commutes due to bad roads. When I woke up that Tuesday and read about the heinous commutes, I flaked on my writing group and felt awful. So awful.
But then my friend Kelly wrote: “We love you anyway.”
Four magic words that every person needs to hear when they feel like they’re being their worst possible self. We love you anyway. Isn’t that all we really want out of life? To be loved anyway?
And that, my darling ones, is my Christmas Wish for you. People who will love you anyway.
I also wish you someone who will change out of their pajama pants for you; a life full of hilarious serendipity; periods of time that are so full of fun and activity you don’t have time to write about it; people who make you laugh so hard wine comes out your nose; the inner-strength to make it through the trying times; and creative endeavors that bring out your passion.