The weather is absolutely gorgeous right now. I have been trying to get outside as much as I can. The other day I went for a hike on a trail right by my house. It wasn't until I was about a mile into it that I recognized some recent changes.
I never used to be able to hike. I was too afraid. Who knew what kind of god-awful creatures lurked behind that boulder? What the hell could I do if a bear or mountain lion or hobo decided to kill me for dinner? Would I be able to bend the right way if a rattle snake bit my ankle so I could suck the venom out? If I fell and broke my ankle my cell phone would probably die simultaniously and then what? Hopefully a freak storm would brew and I would be carried away by a flash flood so my family wouldn't have to blow money on a funeral.
Okay. So you get it. No way in hell you would catch me hiking.
But I went hiking. By myself. Two days ago. A lot of the insane fears I used to have have been taken from me. That is unreal.
Another thing that has changed is how I to talk to people. I used to flat out lie to people so they would like me. Tell me you enjoy sky diving? I've always wanted to sky dive! Liver and onions your favorite meal, you say? Mmm-hmmm...sounds delicious! You are convinced a tribe of alien invaders live below the public library and are close to finalizing their plan of attack? I was just thinking the same thing! Fancy that! Seriously, I would say anything to not offend, including agreeing to go on dates with people I had no interest in so their feelings wouldn't get hurt.
I realized this character defect had magically vanished when I told a complete stranger, after he described in detail how passionate he is about fly fishing, that I, to be perfectly honest, hate to fish. He wasn't the least bit offended and I didn't feel icky about lying.
Another recent example happened while at the library. A guy there has been eye-stalking me. He will watch me for hours, strategically placing himself behind a bookshelf or computer for optimum spying/hiding advantage. Ew. I know. The other day, however, he sat at my table and struck up a conversation.
"Couldn't help but notice you sitting by yourself." (No shit. You have been watching me for over an hour now AND it's a fucking library, not a homecoming dance. Last time I checked sitting alone is more than acceptable.)
"Yeah. So, I don't know how to say this so I'm jus gonna say it, 'kay?"
"Can I take you out?" (Stop. Now this is where a few months ago I would have cringed but said, "Sure. What's the harm in that?")
Instead I replied, "You know, I really don't think that would be such a great idea. My life is pretty busy right now."
"Oh okay. Well thanks anyway."
He then got up, pushed in the chair, and wandered off. I didn't even worry about him trying to commit suicide later once. I know that's a tad bit extreme but, since I'm being completely honest here, I really used to worry about that. Pretty damn disgusting of me (not to mention utterly self consumed to think I really held that kind of power).
So, I am speaking honestly and gently, and I am hiking. Two big changes I have happened to observe recently. Two more reasons to be grateful.