It’s the night before my first overnight trip on my own. Yes, I’m a forty year old man who’s never really got anywhere. More on that later though. I’m a touch anxious about it, but also looking forward to it. I’ve spent a little too much time gaming today, which is an indication of my anxiety. It’s not been a crippling anxiety like it has been in the past. I’m not packed yet. There’s not a lot to pack to be honest, it’s only two nights. Side note, I’m struggling with writing with a pen tonight, I cut my finger the other day, and I’ve got a cat demanding attention, and I should really get my head down as it’s well past midnight. But my anxiety is a little up so I need to try and relax a little.
Well, I’ve been here about half an hour. I’ve unpacked and got myself sorted out. The is nice, but looks out onto the small carpark, but it also looks out onto playing fields across the road. The room is a nice size and the bed feels comfy. I think I’m going to write for a little while and them take a stroll into town for something to eat. Then back to my room for a little more writing and then flaking out. My anxiety is a little high at the moment but I kind of expect that.
I’ve decided to eat in the hotel as my anxiety is a little higher than I was ready for, and I didn’t feel like going and looking for somewhere to eat. Although I am looking forward to exploring the town tomorrow I don’t fancy doing it in the dark. And not for nothing, I like being in of an evening. I like my feet up and watching TV, or gaming, or doing a little writing work. I don’t mind the odd night out, but it’s not a big part of my life. This evening I’m looking forward to something like a burger, a shower. Then feet up and a movie. Maybe a little writing work as well. Sounds good to me.
The food at the hotel was good, a damn tasty bacon and cheese burger with chips. It went down well and filled me up nicely.
I’m just about to settle in for the night. I’ve got a fair bit of work for last years NaNoWriMo project (War Child) done. I’ve tried to do a little work on a Penal Earth story but I can’t get it rolling. I’ve not got a hook for it and I’ve tried a fair few times to get it off the ground. So I think this might be an idea that has nowhere to go.
I didn’t sleep too well, which I was kinda expecting. When my anxiety spikes sleep tends to be something that suffers. But I didn’t have to get up so early, so I rolled out of bed at a little after 9am. My plan for the day is the Sea Life centre and a wonder around the sea front and the lanes. Grab something to eat, and get writing. Then dive into a couple of movies.
I’ve taken a steady stroll down to Brighton sea front. It’s pretty much a straight shot from my hotel, and damn I saw some groovy looking buildings.
I tell you what, the moment that salty sea air hits, the sound of the waves crashing in. It hits and damn I can’t stop smiling.
I’ve had a little stroll along the sea front before coming into the Sea Life Centre. That’s where I am now, sitting and just writing a few thoughts down. Just kind of taking it all in.
You forget how big some fish are, well I had anyway. I think the staff are about to feed the tank where the dog fish are. I love dog fish, I remember learning a lot about them when I was at boarding school. I think they were the start of my fascination with sharks. Nah, it looks like they’re just putting in live plants. Very interesting though, it’s a little insight into the way it’s all run.
The rays are cool, I love the way they move. And damn, those doggies are super awesome. None of the fish seem at all bothered by the dude walking around the tank in the waders.
I’m currently just sitting down for something to eat. I continued walking through the aquarium but when I got to the tunnel I was knocked off my feet. There are Giant Groupers, at least two Sea Turtles, and Black Tip Reef Sharks!!! This blew my mind big time, I didn’t know they had the turtles or the sharks here. I think I probably sat and watched them for a good twenty minutes before it really hit home that I was looking at such majestic creatures. Sharks have been on this planet so long and have evolved into a nigh on perfect example of an apex predator. I never expected to see Black Tips with my own eyes, let alone be so close to them. The way they move through the water is almost hypnotic. It looks so effortless, which I know it isn’t. It’s like breathing, they just do it. It was mesmerising.
Watching the turtles gliding through the water is pretty calming as well. I thought there was only one, but the second swam over my head as I was watching the first. Yes, I ducked! It scared the crap outta me! Like the sharks they move effortlessly, but unlike the Black Tips they seem to glide freely. With no care in the world. You know the sharks are hunting.
The rest of the centre was good and after a little time in the gift shop I headed back out to the sea front.
I strolled along the pier, being battered in the wind, stopping occasionally to lean on the railings and watch the waves rolling to a crash on the pebble-covered beach. I can’t remember the last time I was on a pier. I love the concept of them, being away from the shore, without getting wet or being on a boat. It’s soothing looking at the waves running in. The sea is really rough today, and it is beautiful.
After the pier I strolled along the sea front towards the old pier. I had a little wonder why the council had never torn it down. Okay, the logistics of doing it, with it being out at sea is probably a headache, but I’d reckon it’s also a sweet spot for wildlife. From where I was on the sea front I could see a number of birds hanging out on it. I want to say there was seagulls, with some cormorants. As well as a few that I couldn’t take a guess at, but I don’t want to say for sure. I’m curious to know what’s happening beneath the waves. I’m glad I did walk along the sea front to see the old pier. It should be an eyesore, but the skeletal remains are strangely beautiful.
I walked a bit further before turning and doubling back. That was when the rain hit. As I’ve said, it’s the middle of winter here in the UK, so seasonal weather is to be expected. The was strong throughout my stay but the rain didn’t come in till early afternoon on that second day. The wind had began to give me a touch of a headache and I was very nearly ready to make my way back to the hotel, but I wanted to eat out so I had a look at a few restaurants but being out of season there wasn’t many open, and those that were didn’t get my tastebuds going. Eventually I went to the Harvester above the Sea Life Centre. I went for gammon steak and an ice cream sundae for dessert. I’m not a huge fan of gammon, but do enjoy it once in a while and this piece of gammon was perfectly cooked.
After eating I made my way back to the hotel. I did want to explore The Lanes, but more rain was forecast so I decided to call it a day.
I did get overwhelmed a few times, a little anger crept in as well. Anger at letting fear and anxiety destroy me for so many years. It’s taken a bit of time to get myself to the point where I can get away for a few days. I’m so glad I’ve done it. I’m working on breaking out of the safe path I’ve kept to, and this is just another step off that safe path.
I’m just about to hop in the shower. Then I’m going to watch a movie or two to dive into. Checkout is at 12pm tomorrow but I’m planning on leaving about 11am.
I rolled out of bed at about 9:30 after another night of bad sleep. It’s just a case of not being in my bed. Considering how tired I was yesterday and I didn’t just nod off shows how being in a different environment affects my anxiety levels. Hopefully as I do this more that will ease. Looking out the window the rain is hammering it down, the wind is howling one minute and then easing off another. I love driving in this sort of weather conditions. I love the challenge it provides.
After being home for a few hours and sorting my stuff out I haven’t really had time to process the feelings that I’ve had over the last couple of days. I’m feeling good overall about it. Escaping this cage I’ve built for myself is going to take some time to break free from. These few days away, may not seem like much but it took a lot for me to book it and have those days on my own. It was a big step for me.
There are a lot of things I need to unpack, and I’m not just talking about luggage. Lots of things I didn’t really think about before hand. I ate in a restaurant, not a fast food place by myself and I didn’t feel self-conscious about it. I walked around a town I barely know, well the seafront really. But I just wondered. I love the seaside, it feels natural. I think that’s why I spent most of the day on the seafront.
There’s a lot of things that I have been working through since I had those few days away. I should of written this post up weeks ago, but lots going on. But, it’s given me time to work some of it all out. Some still needs work, but the one that really sits hard is that I’ve lost so much time. Well over twenty years I let my fear and anxiety keep me locked inside my head. No more.