I stayed home from work today with a serious migraine. Being sick like this makes me crave soup, so I dragged my sorry self out to the market for the materials for broccoli cheddar soup.
You might know how much I don't like people. Oh, I love them in that we're-all-connected-in-our-souls sort of way, but I don't like being around them. Strangers make me cranky, especially when they're in large groups that aren't a concert venue where it's acceptable to elbow someone in the throat if they step on you. They mill around in my way, they cut me off in traffic, their kids scream at a pitch that makes me want to build a cabin in the woods and never come out.
I'm working on some spiritual stuff though, and it is making me change how I think about people. So I brave the market, kids, housewives, and all. I put on my peaceful face, drawing a sort of impenetrable contentedness around me so people won't be able to piss me off. I've got a lot of practice at this sort of shielding, but it is hard to accomplish when I'm fighting a headache that makes me want to throw up.
While shopping, I exchanged a few words with a store worker while he stocked shelves of bread. Nothing remarkable or profound, just friendly chit-chat that made me feel like we really are all connected in our souls. He was nice and he made me feel good - about my headache, my spiritual growth, about being out in the world.
My head still hurts and I'm still considering throwing up, but I have a little less fear-and-hate about interacting with the world today. I will try to remember this feeling, and maybe next time it will be me saying a few friendly words to someone else. And maybe it will help them to feel less pain about other people.
Also, broccoli cheddar soup? It will be delicious, because I learned how to julienne a carrot.