Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

Have you ever arrived at your destination and thought, how’d I get here? It’s not amnesia, and you didn’t get conked on the head. Nothing dramatic happened. You got your things, grabbed your keys and walked out the door. The next thing you know, you’re walking into your target location.

When you were getting ready to leave, you came up with a plan and mapped out the most efficient route. I’m guessing a car was involved or some form of public transportation. It was well thought through or, perhaps it was a daily routine. Either way, you had it all figured out and then your brain switched off. Before you knew it, you were there, and it didn’t go according to plan.

That happened to me the other day. I was going through my morning routine, eating breakfast, and getting ready to leave. My keys were in my hand, the dog was on his leash, I walked out my front door, and I just kept walking. I couldn’t stop myself. My feet led the way, and I was duty-bound to follow.

As I was doing it, I thought, this is silly. I have a car. I usually drive, it’s quicker and, hold up, how did I end up here? How did a short twenty-minute stroll with my dog turn into an epic trek across the lands? Scaling mountains, smiting my enemies, and avenging the…Sorry, got a little carried away. 

Of course, that’s too grandiose for my little adventure. Calling it an adventure is a bit much. It was a mistake that didn’t do any damage to my body or the world around me. Well, I may have stepped on an ant which was unfortunate. Especially for the ant, eh.

That aside, I made it there without injury or maiming. Will wonders never cease! I left the safety of my humble home, and nothing horrendous happened. That’s exciting and different.

Actually, I think I walked for an hour and crossed one busy street. Other than dodging a jogging mom pushing a stroller and having an odd conversation with a toddler? There was nothing grand or epic about it. My body made an executive decision, and my mind said: meh, why the hell not?

Would you call that an adventure? Not unless your standards are incredibly low, which mine are. Was it enjoyable? Absolutely. Needed? Quite frankly, yep. A journey to the centre of the earth to find diamonds and fight dinosaurs? Not even a little bit, and, yes, I was watching silly movies at two AM again. 

Damn you, insomnia!

What can I say? I love overly dramatic storytelling, melodramatic overstatements, and creative licensing. What I can’t seem to do? Keep it up or tell a bald-faced lie. Would it have been better if I dragged it out a bit? Told a legendary tale of struggle and triumph. Or, I could’ve maintained the facade for more than three sentences.

Now we all know why I’ll never be the next Tolkien or Verne. 

Nope, that’s not going to happen as long as I have the attention span of a toddler. Also, I’m too…Oh, no, that’s a thing you don’t want to hear about again. I’ve been going on about it for a while now, and I think we both need a break. If this is your first visit— hiya— I’ve written about my current situation a fair bit. By all means, check it out if you’re curious and thanks for stopping by. Seriously, it means a lot, and I hope you have a brilliant day.

For those of you who’ve heard the whole sob story already; Thanks for your patience and understanding. I’m sure you don’t want to rehash all of that, do you? Yeah, neither do I so, let’s just say the last month has been one of the most stressful of my life. 

That’s putting it mildly. It’s been overwhelming, emotionally draining, and physically taxing. So much so, I Googled symptoms of a heart attack three times. It’s good news, I’m experiencing a physiological reaction to a psychological event. It’s nothing, I’m fine, there’s no need to look so worried.

Whew, that’s a relief. I’m not dying. Sure, my mental health is taking a beating, and my mental illness has been aggravated. But I’m fine. Totally and unnaturally fine. Who needs a psychologically stable existence? It’s not like I’ve ever had one of those before. I wouldn’t know what it looked like if it walked up to me, introduced itself, and shook my hand.

Hi, I’m happy all the time and life is peachy keen. I’m sorry, what are you saying? I don’t understand the words coming out of your mouth. You look like a giant rabbit wearing a vest, dinner jacket, and a top hat. Oh no, I’ve done it again. I went down the rabbit hole, and I’ve found another dead end.

Well, mark it on the map and backtrack. We’ve got a story to tell, and the audience is busy. Go on, get on with it. We were walking and humming that song from a fish movie. Just keeping walking. Just keep walking. (Creative license deployed). Also, we were wondering how we ended up watching it and why we’re using the royal we.

That’s new, and it needs to stop. Welcome to my brain.

I didn’t intend for this to happen. All of it was a complete accident. These words, coming out of my fingers and the steps I took that fateful day. Actually, it was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do. My dog needed a walk so, I figured I’d take him for a quick loop around the trail behind my building. It would take fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, then we’d get back to the car and drive to our next destination. Simple. Easy. 

I’m too tired to do any more than that, but then my legs got moving, and they took over. We crossed the parking lot and joined a forested trail that follows a shallow creek. Damn, we need rain. It’s too dry around here. No wonder half the province is on fire. Just keep walking. Just keep walking. When did I watch that fish movie? It’s not really my thing. I have a thing?

No, don’t eat that slice of ham in the dirt! Those insects claimed that prize. Silly dog, he has no culinary standards. Just keep walking. Just keep walking.

A million thoughts, similar to these, came and went. It felt like my brain was on the spin cycle so, I kept walking. I’m not sure if I was trying to outrun my thoughts or just wear them down. Perhaps I got caught up in the wind rustling the trees and mesmerized by the fast moving clouds. It could be that these forces combined to give me a literal and figurative breath of fresh air.

Those thoughts, swirling around inside a small confined space, have been going non-stop for four or five weeks now. They swing wildly from hopefulness to despair, and they play around with silliness for a short time. It’s noisy and chaotic. It’s exhausting, and it’s no wonder I can’t get rid of this damn headache.

When I’m trapped in the spin cycle, everything in my life falls apart. I don’t have the energy or the focus to do simple things like dishes, cook, exercise or sleep. I’m a lot harder on myself because if I don’t turn it inwards, I’m genuinely scared I’ll lash out at an innocent person.

Taking your shit out on others? Not cool, and I’m guilty of doing it. It’s hurt people I care about, and I’m trying very hard to avoid doing it again. So I get snippy with myself or get disproportionately angry at the fly that flew too close to my ear. Sure, it’s an aggravating sound, but it didn’t warrant that kind of language.

Do flies have ears, feelings, and/or a soul? Nah, they probably think, eat shit, is a compliment. Was that a dad joke? Ha!

Before you say it, I know swallowing my feelings and getting angry with myself isn’t healthy. It’s just as bad as snapping at anyone else. Taking my problems out on my body isn’t doing me any favours. It isn’t helping, I know. It’s probably making things worse. 

Look at me being a dumb…Stop! No, that’s unnecessary and worse, it’s unkind. I’m a big fan of kindness. It’s highly undervalued and often ridiculed. In a world where you could be anything, why would you choose to be horrible? It takes so little effort to be kind to someone else and a lot more energy to be cruel. So, duh, be kind.

To others and not myself. Got it, thanks.

I just made myself sigh, and I shook my head. That’s kind of ridiculous, isn’t it? Be kind to everyone else and leave nothing for myself. Beat myself up, call myself names, and then wonder why I feel like a deflated balloon.

Just keep walking. Just keep walking. Is that why I kept walking and humming this silly song? On some level, I need to do something kind for myself. It was a slightly overcast day, there was a lovely wind, and my chronically ill body was behaving itself. Why not go out and spend some time enjoying it?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive kindness from a lot of unexpected sources. Strangers, mostly, who didn’t know what I was going through or how much I’ve been struggling. Without expectation of reciprocation, they gave a little of themselves, and it lifted me up higher than they’ll ever know.

I’m incredibly grateful for these people, but I forget that kindness comes in many forms from many different directions. External is the most common and the most obvious. It’s the easiest to identify. Is it easy to accept or believe? Well, that’s another story for another day.

 Internal kindness is the one I struggle with. Being good to myself without expecting something grand in return. Taking care of myself because life is hard, and I need to feel a cool breeze once in a while. Finding creative and healthy ways to let out my emotions before I snap. All of those, it’s so hard to do, and then I found myself walking through the door of my final destination with no idea how I got there.

But I felt good, strong, and a bit steadier than I have in a while. I laughed at the absurdity of the situation. As I washed my hands and splashed cold water on my face, there was a sigh of contentment. I’d done something kind for myself without a plan or a conscious thought because I needed it.

They say, be kind to others because you never know what they’re going through. Well, you know what you’re going through so, be kind to yourself. It’s hard out here, living our lives and holding it all together. We deserve a little kindness so, let’s do it.

Learn from my repeated mistake, and be kind to yourself.

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