Step Outside

Maybe it was watching the news more than I should. Maybe it was my worrier nature, or the high crime rate in this city, or maybe it was my husband’s cautious words that flooded my psyche and drowned me in a sea of fearfulness and anxiousness.

As it was, I became afraid of venturing too far out from my doorstep. Early adolescence in a third-world country was not as cruel, I thought. Either that or it’s really been that long.

I’d had my share of bike rides through cemeteries and bus rides to the mall with my friends, but now I can’t help but be indoors after sundown and look over my shoulder from time to time. More than usual, actually.

Today, something snaps inside. A vision of tall trees and a lineup of wandering birds. The sound of rain and water fountains planted in the middle of lakes in suburbia. I thirst for the outdoors. I want rain drops on my face, my glasses, my skin.

I no longer endure my surroundings. My whole being wants a change. Walking on a treadmill yet going nowhere isn’t going to cut it anymore. The sadness, disappointment, sometimes even horror from multiple television sets continually penetrating my soul, lacking any mercy, is becoming too overwhelming. I leave the fitness center physically pumped, but mentally drained. The stimuli is all together disturbing to say the least.

At home, the noise from the glowing screens are ever increasing. My ears want silence and my mind screams for rest, for an escape. Most times I feel trapped inside. Thank God I can use my earbuds at the office.

The rain becomes my exit sign. I drive the opposite way of my typical auto-mode schedule. I get home, get dressed. The anticipation grows. Nothing else matters, I need to give myself a break. For my sanity.

I walk out and smell the rain. Ah, feels good to breathe.

It’s drizzly and the pavement is wet. I jump a few puddles, sink my shoes in the dirt, but I’m unstoppable. That’s what raincoats in Florida are for, right? Right.

Funny how it all is quite liberating, almost adventurous. Is this how it feels to be truly alive, free? The clock has no place here. I’m calm, my breathing slows down. I need this again. Tomorrow, God willing, I whisper as I go.

On my way back to the house, about two miles later, I jot down a few thoughts about this experience (below). Hope it resonates with somebody!

I was once afraid of the outdoors. I knew it was calling me, drawing me out.

Fear of the unknown is not unusual for me. The palms sweat, the fragile mind races through dark tunnels and alleys. I seemed to think there was no light in fear. But there is!

Fear is the means by which I’m discovering light.

On the other side of it I have encountered freedom, beauty, delight.

My world is taken apart.

I’ve been shaken up, awakened.

There are new shores to be explored. There’s just something out there!

I’m crossing beyond its borders. I feel there is no more turning back for me.

It’s useless to resist; it has me in its tight grip.

My choice is bold, clear.

I’m stepping outside.