I was walking through the mud. Balancing on the more solid strip between two large furrows of sloshiness.
A man was walking his dog and had paused to look at the view. I gave him a socially-distanced smile, passed him and carried on walking. But I was aware he was still watching me – not in an intense way, just as a casual observer.
This did funny things to my feet.
I started trying to balance more carefully. I felt more concerned about toppling over, about sliding around and stumbling. The irony of this was that the anxiety made my legs wobble more, not less.
I was no longer walking naturally.
As I frowned, something inside me piped up: don’t let the world change how you walk.
And I lifted up my chin. Who cares if he was watching me? And who cares if I got muddy, for that matter?
The wobbliness left me, the self consciousness dissolved.
And I walked in the way I wanted.