Let me tell you a story…
On Saturday 19th November I was walking back from the shops. I’d been to get cigarettes. On the way I’d seen a lot of dogs. Most of them had wanted to say hello, they could smell my dog on me. But I hadn’t stopped. I’d just smiled at them and kept walking. I was afraid. Afraid of annoying the owners, afraid of doing something that I had never done, namely stopping to say hello to the dogs that wanted to say hello to me.
Stood in the queue to pay for my cigarettes I made a decision. I was going to say hello to those dogs that wanted to say hello to me. It was a small decision, a little and seemingly meaningless thing but it was my choice and I’d made it. So cigarettes paid for I toddled off home. Lo and behold there was a husky walking down the street with its owner. It was a gorgeous creature. Thick fur, mismatched eyes, a waggy curly tail. I said hello to it. The woman grabbed hold of its lead and dragged it to the side. You’d thought I’d been trying to steal her dog.
“No!” she said, very forcefully. “He’s on his lead. He’s training.”
Taken aback I nodded, said ok and kept walking.
But it stuck in my mind for the rest of the way home. I felt sick, like I’d been scolded at school. I do not like that feeling. It’s one of the reasons I was a relative good girl at school and never broke the rules.
You see, it wasn’t what she had said but how she’d said it. Snappish, possessive, like I was disgusting and she didn’t want me sullying her dog. She had said ‘no’ like I was a small child, reaching for a flame or something dangerous. Or like I’d actually reached out to snatch the lead from her hand. She might not have meant it, never even intended to be so…. rude I suppose. But that’s the way it came out.
I never did say anything to my mum when I got home. I just had a cigarette and went back up to my room.
End of story.
Or at least that’s what I thought. But maybe not so much. The past week I’ve broken down crying several times. I suffer from depression (which is a whole other story) and this week I’ve been struggling with it. Badly. It’s been like something has flipped in my brain, taking it from ‘fairly content’ to ‘sobbing mess’. I haven’t been this bad in months and right now it feels like it’s never going to end. I’m plagued with thoughts, really bad thoughts that just go around and around in my head, never stopping, never ending.
I don’t really know what triggered it. Maybe the woman’s behaviour had something to do with it, making me feel like I was a teenager again and that nothing had really changed in my life since then. Maybe it’s just the weather being so miserably rainy, leaving me stuck inside with a 1 year old dog who just wants to run around.
Whatever the cause though, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that things are never going to change. I’m afraid that I’m going to be living with my parents until they die. I’m afraid that I’m always going to be stuck looking after the dog five days a week for the rest of my life. I’m afraid that I’m always going to be alone. I’m afraid that this is it, this is the rest of my life. And that fear brings tears.
Why did I tell you that story? To tell you I suppose how much of an affect a few words can have. It doesn’t always matter what is said. Sometimes it can be the tone of what’s said, the way you say it, the look on your face, your body language. A careless word or gesture at someone can really have an impact. For you it could be nothing, something that you forget about within minutes, an event that never crosses your mind again. For them though it can be big. It can have a ripple effect in their lives and spark off issues that they may not even know that they had. So be careful when you’re interacting with strangers. You never know what you could do to them without a single thought.
Fear is an incredibly powerful force. No matter what we do we can never stop fear from coming in to our lives. When people say that they aren’t afraid or don’t feel fear they’re lying. Or they’re completely barking mad. Some people let fear affect every moment, every choice that they make. Others ignore it or use it to help them power through. Others… they kind of do a mixture. Sadly i fall in to the first group. Fear makes me afraid and I never step out of my comfort zone. But I’ve decided to fight my fears and not let them rule me. I’ve been letting that happen for far too long.