E is for Explosive

A different – longer, more cathartic, questionably less yogic – kind of story

Emotions are running high and tempers are short. Coronavirus is still in our lives as a somewhat heavier and more mundane presence than during the first lockdown. We’re all sick and tired of restrictions and barriers and being told what we can do and where we can go and when and why. There is so much we can’t control, all for an undeniably valid reason – to control the spread and limit the number of people affected – but there’s still something we can control; how we go about our daily actions, interactions and reactions.

Now it’s safe to say A&E had suited me up with thicker armour to shield from (the largely few and far between) episodes of aggressive impatience one might encounter in any people-facing role. But it turns out this armour, like a muscle, must be exercised regularly in order to be maintained. The day job: strengthening by rehearsal through repeated encounters. Mindfulness: reinforcing with deep measured breath work and grounding. It turns out, being away from A&E for a few months, is enough to allow that shield to rust and weaken.

Recently, what with the daily uncertainty we all face, my nerves are shot and my anxiety has found a new lease of life. Not working (whilst having clear benefits) has placed a different sort of mental strain and these days’ once seemingly simple chores, like doing the weekly shop, can be stress-inducing. I’m glad I’ve come away from an extremely unpleasant encounter knowing it’s a reflection of someone else’s personal situation and circumstance – it was never about me, not really. Even then, it’s taken the best part of an evening, a few uncharacteristic bouts of tears and a panic attack to get to this point. It’s certainly knocked my confidence and made me feel a bit more inclined to do an online shop… But I’d hate to think what her actions would have done to someone in a more mentally fragile state. It really is true that you can never know what someone else is going through.

So there’s a mildly cryptic story, take from it what you will. Maybe you, like me, need to devote more time to polishing your protective suit of armour (see the latter half of Sam Levenson’s words below). Maybe you need to check your temper and decide if the situation really warrants your reaction. Maybe you’ll have a think about what you could/would/should do as a bystander to such situations. But really, as we’re in this together for the long haul, we all just need to remember to take a moment, take a breath, and be kind.

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day

For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

Time Tested Beauty Tips
Sam Levenson

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