I have been recently asked how I learnt to go for a walk and the more I wrote about it the more I realised the therapeutic benefits of working on that particular issue of mine so I thought I might as well turn it into a blog post. Maybe some other hurt soul finds a way to lessen a bit of the pain. 🙂
I had a flatmate who i was regularly walking with. Her routes tho and on her initiative. But through such things I was aware of the general idea of walking for the purpose of walking. She now moved away and my new flatmates and I do not get along. Through the walks with my exflatmate I had some idea of how my surroundings looked like. In the beginning I would walk our routes, uphill among houses and alleys. I also began to walk to the the city centre instead of taking the bus. Since my sleep rhythm is somewhat more normal I didn’t always need to hurry to barely arrive at the supermarket at closing hour. So I could take my time take in surroundings. When I have been in a hurry I wouldn’t really notice anything, now I’d maybe see that this way extends to some unknown over there asf.
I love dogs so I would sometimes see dogs and their owners who looked friendly to me and I would ask the owner if I could introduce myself to the dog. Only one person has said no so far. Many people even are happy that they meet a dog lover. I really feel connected to non human animals so that kind of socialisation helped as well. Eventually I began to realise the path to the city which I used (pedestrians only, next to a stream) was part of a bigger path alongside one of the cities streams so I followed it up a little more and eventually began to explore the part of it that were less concrete influenced and more about trees and undergrowth. I grew up near forests so I liked that plus people there are normally rather relaxed walking their dogs (or jogging, pushing their toddlers for their nap, but i do not chat these people up. No doggie, no talkie).
I’d say I always felt people would judge me somehow. I had this obsession about always needing to have an answer to the question no one ever asked me where I was going. I felt “justified” in groups but never alone. Neglect teaches you helplessness and nonexistence. The less you are seen and heard the better for you. Going out for a walk FOR NO REASON is a quite obvious violation of that rule about neglect. Part of it is literally about carving your own path, being a person on a basic level. Existing. I still worry about so many pointless things when going for a walk (what if I go to far and I can’t walk back and my battery has died or I have no reception… blabla) but I plan to gradually overcome this and dare I say it might even increase the area I’m covering by using my bicycle, having picnics… you know getting daring 😛
Some of this might not help you. Maybe you are afraid of dogs of the idea of talking to anyone gives you nightmares or you don’t like nature the same way and would prefer the houses. But in the end the walk is about exploring. It’s mostly about you personally I guess. Another forbidden concept to explore around neglectful people. So you need to find a way to ease yourself into walking that works FOR YOU. The growth I have written about here took me a year. Each new addition to the walk (even the taking more time while walking anyway) took me weeks of anxiety getting myself convinced that it’s OK to do this and then even more weeks to get used to the idea of actually doing, trying to be less jumpy about it.
The walk starts with accepting the idea that YOU determine what is right and wrong for you. You can decide when you walk, where you walk and how long you walk. Who you talk to and what you say. A very complicated concept for me. I guess the best way to start is to open yourself up for experiments and review them, confront your fears little by little.