I’ve mentioned several times how I struggle around people. Groups or individuals, it doesn’t matter. I know I’m not alone in that sentiment but most people don’t look for ways to violently end any encounter. I’ve gotten better at the latter, but I still avoid groups.
Several people reached out to me at the beginning of this trip and told me of their own experiences on similar journeys. One thing they all mentioned was how they loved meeting new people along the way. That made me shudder. Meeting new people was absolutely not one of my goals. Couldn’t I just fix all my issues while remaining in solitary? No? Hmmm.
Well like it or not, while riding a motorcycle is an individual endeavor, you inevitably interact with others. While visiting friends and family and while having my wife with me in New Orleans, I’ve found myself in plenty of crowds. I still won’t say that I’m having fun in crowds or that I suddenly want to go clubbing, but I am getting to where I don’t have my hand on a weapon the whole time. That’s progress. I’m getting more comfortable.
What I am noticing major progress in however is my ability to have a one on one conversation with strangers. Before my PTSD got really bad I was actually a very outgoing, type A person. I wanted to talk with people. That’s part of what makes my recent life so difficult, I know how I used to be and I don’t recognize this new person. I have had several conversations with people the last few weeks. Good conversations that didn’t feel forced or very awkward. I hope I made a good impression. I have a bitchy resting face. If you don’t understand that, check YouTube. My face can scare people off. I used to not care but now I’m trying to smile more. I tried to smile for my driver’s license. That didn’t go as planned.
To be perfectly honest, the biggest thing helping with my personal conversations is this blog. Not what I’m writing exactly but just trying to tell people about it. I feel like I need to share what I’m going through and it will all be for naught if no one reads it. So I talk with people. Sometimes I don’t even tell them about the blog. I just enjoy the conversation and leave it at that.
I’ve had some great feedback here from people I don’t even know. I’ve reached them on some level. I had a mother thank me for being so honest and finally shining a light on what her son was going through. She saw his symptoms in mine and is now finding some understanding.
I feel odd writing this. It feels like I am blowing my own trumpet. I’m definitely not. It’s actually more humbling than anything else.
I guess it all comes down to me being vulnerable, both here and in real life. If you have your guard up constantly, you’ll never get to know anyone. I am learning to take my openness here in the virtual world and applying it to real life.
It’s scary and daunting. I can do this.
Quick trip report:
I left camp this morning at 7:30. Made it about 60 miles and stopped in Monticello Florida for breakfast. Best blueberry pancakes ever.
20 minutes after leaving I had to hurry and don the waterproof gear. Torrents of rain for the next hour. My pants soaked through at the seat and left a rather awkward wet spot. No. I did not pee my pants.
I made it to Savannah Georgia for a late lunch at 2:30. Today was my day for food. I love ribs and have never had better ribs. A very unique sauce that had just the right amount of spice.
I wandered around Savannah for a bit, both on foot and on the bike. I got bored pretty quick. I’m sure someday I’ll kick myself for leaving so soon but I just wasn’t feeling it there.
I took back roads from there to Charleston South Carolina and arrived safely at my brothers house about 7. He has two adorable daughters who for some odd reason think I’m the coolest uncle ever. I’m loving it. Yay for a shower and a bed.