Why so shaken?

It’s so easy to get discouraged, at anytime with anything really. I could be having a great day, walking down the street, not a care in the world, maybe a nice tune is playing in my head, my posture is great, a little spring in my step, nothing too bouncy, but just a little extra kick, a little extra something, and then maybe I look at somebody across the street and I get it in my head that that person is giving me a funny look. Maybe, but maybe not. Probably not. I’m probably crazy. But still, the good mood is shattered and now I’m all self-conscious, so I throw my hands in my pockets and I clench my shoulders a little, and I don’t know why this happens, like my body is preparing itself for some sort of a physical assault. And try as I might to stand up tall and straight, my shoulder blades are pushing upward, out past my back, up and over my neck, and my head has nowhere to go but down, and I’m hunched over a little, just feeling like this curve of nervous energy, and then I’ll try to walk faster, to get where I needed to be going a little quicker, to get off the street, get my hands out my pockets, but, and this always happens, I think it happens because I have big feet, but I’m spending so much energy on the upper part of my body, the shoulders, the clenching, I’ll all torso right now, even my abs are getting a pretty good workout here, so when I try to pick up my pace, I’m figuring, I’m automatically not thinking about the fact that I should have enough reserve energy or concentration or whatever to not only increase the speed of my walking, but, and I’m forgetting this part, or I’m not forgetting it, but I’m not thinking about it, not consciously anyway, that where am I going to get this extra leg energy from if the majority of my body is being held up, locked up in my neck, in between my neck and my stomach? My core is off. People talk about cores a lot, core strength. But I just press on, and like I said, this always happens, and I don’t know how, I said it was because my feet are so big, but probably also because I’m so tall, and because there will always be some part of the sidewalk, you know, assuming that all sidewalks are the same, somewhat the same, basically just a collection of square pieces of cement, all joined together, but there are always one or a couple of squares that don’t line up just exactly, like maybe at one point they did, but there are so many things that can over the years push them out of synch. There’s ice, which is a perennial problem, assuming that I’m using the word perennial correctly. I’m not going to look it up. I never do. But water gets in those cracks, expands when it freezes, and then melts, contracting, and the cement squares can only take so much of this change in volume and pressure before something gives, and it’s always the cement that gives, which I never really understand, because if the water dripped in these cracks in the first place, why wouldn’t the ice just expand back in the same exact direction, outward, like how it dripped in in the first place? There’s obviously a path in, why doesn’t ice form backwards in the path out? Why does the cement have to crack? I thought, honestly, that cement would be stronger. Stronger than a little ice anyway. Like if I threw an ice cube at the cement, I’d think the ice would shatter, not the other way around. But ice isn’t the only problem. There are roots. Everywhere. Trees get bigger, roots twist and turn underground, and all of the sudden trees get so big that the roots are pushing up the sidewalk one square at a time. This is all besides the point, a very long, drawn out way of getting to a very minor point here, that there’s going to be a gap, a little ledge, maybe an inch or two high, and I don’t know how this happens to me every time, because my feet have to be in just the right position, the part of my step usually so in tune with how the sidewalk should be, that I don’t notice that one inch, those one or two inches, and my toe just hits the lip of the raised cement so perfectly, and my speed, having been upped from when I got all nervous and clenched, I just hit it too hard and I stumble. And like I said, my head is already hunched over from my shoulders being so tight, so why wasn’t I prepared? I should have been looking right at it, anticipating the change in level. I catch myself. But it’s still a dramatic trip. My hands outward, preparing for impact with the ground. This I never understand also, this automatic human response to an impending fall, to thrust out your hands, like what happens if you really do fall? What are you going to have two broken wrists? How is that a human instinct? It would be hard enough to survive in the twenty-first century with two broken arms. What were our ancestors supposed to do? It could have been a death sentence. If I were to take a sudden fall, which I do a lot, I’d prefer to have my body automatically twist slightly, so I could land on one shoulder. Worst case scenario, I get a dead arm. That’s not a big deal, a bruise really. And my shoulders are probably already clenched. They are, I just described it at length. So I feel like I’m wasting all of this natural preparedness by wildly thrusting out my arms in no direction whatsoever. And usually I catch myself, but all of this goes through my head. Why did I trip? Why didn’t I see that? I was just in such a good mood but now I’m all upset, visibly shaken, so easily discouraged and really embarrassed.

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