I'm not used to being afraid, certainly not of people. I can talk to anyone, anytime (as you all can testify), but I guess all the scary "woman alone" stories were getting to me yesterday. I've never had as nervous and distrusting a day. It felt awful.
But then I ran into Alex and Nicole in the Chicago Amtrak station, two absurdly cute newlyweds returning from their honeymoon. Nicole showed me her ring, in between their passionate smooching and their effusive "I love you" mantras. It was rather unbelievable. Their cuteness was absurd. According to Alex, Nicole has "blessed genetics" and according to Nicole, she has a blushing problem.
I felt a lot better.
Plus, then I talked to Becca, my amazing, kick ass, outrageously cool, soul friend, who has taught young girls self-defense. I asked for some general instructions. Here's what I learned/remembered:
#1 I will listen to my gut. It is smarter than me.
#2 I will walk like a panther.
#3 I will put distance in between me and questionable people at the risk of being cold.
#4 I will not smile and convince myself everything's ok, when it is not.
#5 I will raise my voice if need be. The closer the creeper, the louder I'll be.
#6 I will make me a strong, protective shell.
Last night on the train, in my sleeping bag, I felt like I was in a giant, rocking cradle. I watched an orange moon rise, and woke up later to see it dropping behind the pine tree line. Tonight, my first night camping alone on the AT, the moon will be full. I'm taking this as a good omen; I'll have the moon's light as my nitelite tonight.
I am still in disbelief, but I am here, and now I'm off!