I went back to work today, Wednesday, after being sick for four days, and it was really, really cold outside. It was 8 degrees, Fahrenheit, when I left the house.
I bundled up, really well, for protection. And everything went okay. Nothing went awry. My trusty car started up, right away, even though it had sat idle since Saturday. And although I had to wait outside for a shuttle bus for a little while (my parking lot is a 20-minute walk from the hospital where I work), my bundling had done the trick. I wasn’t in too much pain during the wait. I could still really feel the cold through all the layers I’d piled on, which felt very freaky, but I was fine.
So I made it to work, no harm done. However, I’ve noticed that whenever it’s extreme weather outside, that affects my sense of safety, even when I’m indoors. I’m more aware of our human physical fragility, I guess. Knowing that the outside environment is considerably more hostile than usual has an effect on me. I feel more anxious, careful, subdued, vigilant, serious. Getting in touch with other aspects of my nature — my humor, openness, and sociability — takes more effort. And I pretty much kept to myself, avoiding any contact with strangers, the whole day I was away from home.
I think that’s a reflection of a general “truth” for me. The safer I feel in my environment — the more I’m able to trust that pain is not imminent — the more I can interact freely with others, and the more in touch I can be with the “higher” parts of my nature.
This is tricky to write about, since the word “higher” implies judgment, doesn’t it? At this moment, I’m not sure what to call those other parts of my nature — the humor, the openness, the sociability. For some reason, I want to call those parts “vulnerable” right now.
Are they more vulnerable, though? I feel like those parts show strength. However, to show humor, openness, and sociability implies a trust of The Other Person, I suppose — that whomever we interact with will be accepting enough of the interpersonal effort.
So maybe showing those sociable parts implies a certain level of bravery. Whenever we interact with somebody, we risk rejection, I guess.
Hmmm. This is like an equation that I’m having trouble figuring out right now. It’s frustrating, and I’m comparing how I am right now — not feeling 100% myself, still recovering from being sick — to how I might be able to think and write when I’m feeling better. (Comparisons are another Cognitive Distortion, by the way, and I look forward to ranting and raving about THAT in a future blog post.)
Anyway, I’m going to end it here, dear reader, trusting that this post is good enough to publish today. I also hope that if you have thoughts and questions about this post, that you will feel safe enough — no matter what the weather is outside as you’re reading this — to express them, if you choose.
Thanks for reading, as always.