Writer’s Walks and A Couple of Thoughts

Happy Saturday all!

I never know how to start these things. I don’t want to say, “I hope you are well,” or “I hope this finds you well.” I do hope both of those things. However, this is not a work email and the hope I have for you is genuine and not just a precursor to a request. I request nothing of you. So, breathe easy. : )

As part of my anxiety healing process, I’ve been going on walks as close to every day as possible. There’s a pretty jogging path in my neighborhood where all sorts of cardinals and blue jays dive into the evergreens and a pretty crabapple tree drops fruit into the grass for the greedy squirrels. I say greedy because I ordered breakfast the other morning and those damn squirrels tore at the bag to try to get to the food. Luckily for me, they failed at their attempt.

Any way, back to anxiety and healing. When I first started going on walks every day it was spring. This is before I started taking medication, so all I could manage was going around the block. When I’d reach the point farthest from my house, my thoughts and my heart would start to go wild with what ifs. Death. Fainting. Falling. Dizziness. All the what ifs would attack me at once, and then I’d round the corner and see the stop sign at the end of the block and my internal bells and whistles would quiet. But when the fire alarm sounded inside my head, it was awful. Living inside an anxious body is terrifying.

I’d walk home and promise to take that walk again tomorrow. And I committed to that promise. Just around the block. While mourning the fact that my world had become so, so small. I’ve skydived. I’ve travelled around Europe, sometimes alone. When did I become this version of myself that can’t walk around the block without having a panic attack?

But medication has helped immensely. And meditation and journaling and therapy. And doing the things that scare me but rebuilding the confidence to know that, no matter what my body and brain do, I will be okay. Always.

I’ve continued my walks and travel farther than my block, down to the jogging path with the birds and the trees, and because my brain is no longer filled with terrifying thoughts of all the what ifs, it has room to think other things. And yesterday, I thought about weight loss. How many steps it would take for me to walk off the pounds I’ve acquired since March 2020. If my body could ever look the way it did when I was 19, 25, 32. And then a big question popped in there while I was busy wondering how much time it would take to lose 30 pounds…do I really want to do that?

And then this poem kind of wrote itself because I thought about all the life I’ve lived, so far, and all the experiences I’ve had and how they all live inside of me. And even when I was 130 pounds and proud of myself for skipping meals and working out two hours a day at the gym, where was there room for living? For enjoying life? I was too busy saying no to myself all the time.

I wanted to share this poem because I am not a poet. But I liked the words and the images. They make me happy like a scrapbook of words. So…here it is.


Can we stop hating ourselves?

It’s so boring.

Pinching skin. Stepping on scales. Looking in the mirror and saying the things that layer hate upon hate.

My body is the sum of my experience culled from a lifetime of yes and no

The world a honey dipped finger tip dripping in gold

Why would I want to lose that? Then, I lose everything.

I hold Spain in my hips, and Portugal in my heart.

Italy and Austria live in my belly.

And Paris and Bordeaux, lest I forget, live at the base of my spine.

But Ireland, sweet, emerald Ireland, is the light filled glue that reconstructed my broken heart.

England and her Cliffs of Dover are the souls of my feet

How can I give them away? How can I lose them? Why would I want to?

My weight is the weight of the world.

I guess that’s it for now, friends. This weekend, I urge you to go on a walk because walks are a pretty good time, if I may say so. Doesn’t need to be a long one. Twenty minutes should suffice. And if you’re a basic Jersey girl like me (or not, that’s more than fine too) go ahead and enjoy some foliage. And if you’re currently struggling with some writer’s block, a walk is good to let your mind wander along with your feet.

This week ahead I wish you joy and happiness and peace. Until next week. : )

Published by Robyn Neilsen

I am a writer and educator based out of New Jersey. My creative nonfiction essays and flash fiction stories have been published by Thought Catalog, Vocal Media, and On Mogul. As a lifelong learner, I enjoy honing my craft through writing workshops with LA Writers Group, Gotham Writers, and The Moth. I am currently querying my first novel and am actively working on my second.

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