A Reflective Walk

This creative writing class has finally given me something to write about. This is a journal entry. The assignment was to use sensory details to describe going for a walk. My thoughts are pretty loud and I make reference to them often. I never noticed how much I argue with myself in order to maintain a positive attitude. Enjoy.

I step out of my door. On this particular day I decide to leave my headphones, dog and child at home and fly solo. I rarely use my front door in favor of the garage on chilly days like this; however this route makes me feel domesticated in my suburban life. Standing in this one spot reminds me of how hard we have worked to live in such a manicured place.  It is not until I reach the end of the porch that the cold wind bites my left cheek and I immediately regret my decision to walk undistracted. I knew it was going to be a long walk but for the purpose of the exercise (pun intended) I walk a bit slower to really soak in and appreciate the location I call home. I know where I am going. I have walked this way dozens of times before. I do feel a tinge of anxiety not having a distraction. I worry about my weight and how well my pants fit. I think that I do not quite look as pregnant as much as I just look fat. I know that I am not the largest woman in the neighborhood and reassure myself that no one is looking at me or thinking anything of the sort.

After two blocks of walking the side streets from my steps, I reach the park; a huge one and a half mile around grassy area that is home to two lakes, a playground and a gravel trail. I typically stay on the sidewalk that surrounds the area, but today I trot over the small patch of grass that separates the two.  The first step onto the crunchy surface reminds me why I stay on the side walk. It is too loud but the path goes closer to the lakes than the side walk and because it is inside the perimeter, it is shorter, and I am cold. The ice has finally melted from the lake allowing the wind to slightly ripple the water. It smells like algae but not an over powering stink. If it was any stronger I have no doubt that someone in the neighborhood would complain to the point of requiring the HOA to take action. Pettier things have happened. The path leads up to the fence surrounding the neighborhood recreation center and pool. I think that in a few months, I will take my son here like we do every summer, only this time my belly will be even more swollen. My thoughts go again to judgmental stares from young women without children. I tell myself that growing another human is beautiful and I should not waste my energy with ignorant people. The path moves passed the parking lot. The grass is gray matching the over cast and temperature. The side walk comes into view which dissects the space. This is an easy choice. I hang a right and walk the smooth path that separates the lakes and a soccer field. I have taken my son to many events on that field. In the heat of the summer, the neighborhood celebrates holidays, watches kid movies on a huge blow up screen, and sometimes they do not need an excuse to set up bounce houses and bring in the food trucks.

My body begins to hurt from the cold so I walk faster home than when I initially started. At this point I do not care what anyone thinks about seeing me walk, though my brain begs for a distraction from the task at hand. It also does not help that my bladder feels like it shrank in the process. Making it a point to be hyper aware of this walk really brought to light my insecurity and anxiety to even step outside. Narrating my life is not anything new; I have done it since I was a kid. Being fully aware of my self-talk makes me realize that I constantly use coping mechanisms that I have been taught in one place or another.

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