I have learned many lessons while travelling. I don’t want to turn this blog into a sanctimonious, holier-than-thou collection of lectures by someone who thinks they know better then you, because I don’t, so I won’t. But, I just wanted to make a little note of what I have learned about People.
I spell People with a capital ‘P’ because they are my greatest fear, of course. I never ‘got’ them, those People who have minds and bodies and lives and thoughts different to mine. I never got how they could communicate with each other so comfortably. I never got how they could create and nurture relationships so well. I never understood how they got through the day, through school and work and a social life, whilst breathing and eating and remembering to, well, live. I envied these skills and meanwhile, I cowered from them, intimidated by the ease with which they lived life. I was terrified of what they would make of me; awkward, bumbling, anxious me. Their eyes cut through me, their voices rang in my ears and their dictionary of body language was on a library shelf miles out of my reach!
In short; I find it hard to read and talk to People. I’m terrified of People!
And then, I put myself in a situation where I had to rely heavily on People. And I learned this: most People are wonderful.
I say “most”, and I mean “most”. There are always exceptions. But the kindess I have been shown ever since I set out on my own has affected me to my core and changed my views of People forever. I have been allowed to stay in family homes, cared for as a daughter, fed and kept warm and given work. I have been helped with heavy luggage. I have been given directions when lost, and been given locations of local treasures, with a kindly secretive wink! I have had people sympathise with me when I have been homesick, I have been helped to mend a broken bike that was my only way home.
I have seen the good side of People again and again and again, and I’ve been overwhelmed.
I said to a friend lately that I thought that this journey is the best way of managing my anxiety I’ve ever known, and the reason is that I have no real choice in the matter. I HAVE to connect with other people, in order to get by. And I’m so very glad of this fact, so glad I put myself in this situation, because otherwise I might never have experienced the kindness of strangers, and might never have begun to get over my fears.
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