Walk it off

©2022 Michael Raven

I walked a long while today. I needed to clear out my head at bit of all those things swirling around, empty it and try to find some stillness within. I was starting to get one of those bouts of anxiety that I sometimes get and I’ve found good, long walks help dump things out.

I know I’m not the kind of guy who sees things with a photographer’s eye. In fact, visual art is one of those things that is an epic failure for me no matter how often I attempt to pick one of those skills up. I had my eye out for “interesting”, but largely failed. Maybe it was the overcast skies washing everything in grey.

In fact, the best picture I think I took of the day was before I even left for my walk. Pixel is nearly as big as the female short hair cats of the house and he just eclipsed six months of age. Like the Maine Coons, he’ll keep growing until he’s around 3-5 years old, so I suspect he’s going to be big. His color is constantly changing: this week has some darker markings on his back; next week he’s just as likely to be more cream colored. The mask and white half-nose change depth of color, but will always be there.

Why was I anxious? Got an early morning work email that is stressing me out. It’s Sunday, so I refuse to respond, but I have a feeling I’m going to be put under a microscope. And I don’t like the extra scrutiny when I’m just trying to help a client out. But they are one of the kinds that if they feel lik eit isn’t exactly what they wanted (but failed to communicate), you failed them. And I’m going to get an earful, I’m certain, based on the tone of the email.

In addition to that, I feel completely lacking in social skills these days. I feel entirely clueless and adrift, and often I wonder if I am even speaking the same language as everyone else. I think I understand what is being said to me, but then I wonder if there is a secret codebook out there because then I begin to doubt what I hear/read/see. I’m trying not to scurry back into my hidey hole and return to being a hermit, but this is one of those days when I feel like everything is in Navajo and I only speak English. I’m probably slipping into some middle-age madness — but I do miss the days when I felt like people spoke more plainly. As I said, chances are it is just me and everyone is speaking perfectly plain and I’m just an addled old man.

That… and writing has me stressed out a bit too, which is an atypical thing for me. I don’t know what it is, I can’t quite put my finger on what feel stressful, but there are moments when I wonder whoever thought it was a good idea to let me have pen and paper (or keys and pixels). The whole imposter thingy is strong in me of late.

So, with it being a warmer day like when I was traveling in the NW coast (and notably drier), I decided to walk off my stress. I put in about 3.5 miles, which may not seem like much — but it is when you’ve been stuck indoors for so long due to cold and inclement weather. I need to find a way to make it a daily, or near daily, activity. I feel better when I can walk and walk and walk.

I got lots of fresh air, but the only honestly interesting thing to photograph I found was probably the discovery that a local charter school had decided on “Lycans” as their school mascot. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone use a “monster” for their mascot before and I felt a sudden surge of pride in my community.

The things that you miss when you rush through the neighborhood in a car…

Now, the only thing that remains is overcoming this desire to upturn the table with my writing on it and storm into oblivion. I can’t express just how much I doubt my writing abilities these days.

2 thoughts on “Walk it off

  1. I related to a lot of this, particularly: “I think I understand what is being said to me, but then I wonder if there is a secret codebook out there because then I begin to doubt what I hear/read/see.”

    I’ve had this exact thought. I often re-read texts or go over conversations trying to decipher the hidden parts I may have missed, the real words behind the words. It drives my anxiety crazy! Walking does help, so does cute cats.

    Keep writing! Your new story is amazing. Don’t listen to your inner-critic. It’s a liar. Keep it up. I’m a big fan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s very comforting just to hear that I’m not the only person who feels like I’m missing some message that’s obvious to everyone but me.

      Plenty of places to walk around here as long as it isn’t bitterly cold or a sauna. And we’ve got seven cats to cuddle around here. Still trying to figure out how I got talked into that one…

      Thanks again for the vote of confidence. It helps quite a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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