“It’s all an experience of life.”
Fiction. Based on a True Frustration with Crowds
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character, or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
The line backs up. People stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk or where you’re walking. Taking photos or looking off in the distance.
Stopped. Right. In. The. Middle. Of. The. Sidewalk.
They don’t move and seem oblivious to the people around them. You have to move past them like water around rocks or debris.
You’re forced to go around them or stop, pushing your way through throngs of people.
Your pace is slowed. Halted. And you want to scream at them to move.
But they never walk faster. The crowds never thin. You can’t escape them.
The summer weather brings them out to see the sights and enjoy the sunshine, but you find them suffocating. Too many people. The city becomes warmer with their presence, you’re sweating, trying to find a pocket for fresh air.
Crowded buses, crowded trains.
The city is too much.
You thought the countryside would be better, but there were still people. Tourists. You can hear them a mile off. Children wandering around and blocking paths, buggies, and luggage clogging the lines. Selfie sticks raised and blocking views. Trash everywhere.
You want to scream and be alone in the places. You long for the silence and open space to move, your anxiety and frustration in the crowd mounting. Their presence feels inconsiderate and consuming.
But you’re one of them, aren’t you? You’re on the tour and in the places to see and experience. You’ve blocked paths to get that one shot. You try to convince yourself that you’re not taking up that much room and you try to stay out of people’s way, but from the outside, you’re just like every other tourist. Your footsteps across the rugged land and along worn streets slowly erode it, just like the other hundreds around you. You’re not always a tourist; somedays you’re trying to go about your day while navigating around disturbances.
And do they not also deserve to enjoy and experience the places of the world like you? Aren’t they just trying to have fun and soak up as much of the sights like you are? The world doesn’t solely belong to you. You intersect with people whether you want to or not.
You are an individual in a crowd and you are part of the crowd.