Toxic environments can come out of nowhere
You think that you’ve said goodbye to toxic environments, you’re wrong.
You’re in somewhere new. You haven’t been in this place before. There is excitement within you as you look forward to this unique experience.
However, there is something that just doesn’t sit right with you. Somehow you know that something is up.
Have you ever felt like that?
Me too, let me explain to you.
Right now I’m on holiday. I have a friend over from the United States and my housemate, and I are taking him on a road trip through Ireland.
Currently, I’m sitting in the lobby of a hostel in Killarney. If you’re thinking, “hostel, gross” I don’t blame you. They’re all that I need on holiday. A bed and somewhere to keep my stuff. They are great for if you’re travelling on a budget.
Killarney has surprised me. It’s a Tuesday night, and the town is pumping. The three of us hit a few bars. Ireland, if you’ve never been is one of the greatest countries. I’m no patriot, but I’m biased. Ireland has the best people with the best sense of humour and of course, the most beautiful women in the world.
I can hear you mutter from the other side of the screen, “Kieran, where are you going with this?”.
Let me tell you.
Last night I was staying in a hostel in Cork. The other two where in one room and I was in by myself. There were four beds. Only one was in use. I was in with a stranger.
When I was dropping my bags off, I got a vibe from the room. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something was wrong.
I put it down to being in a new environment. After reconvening with the other two we went out for what was one of the best nights so far on the trip.
Cork on a Monday night is pumping. It’s got all these cool bars that are open late. We ended up at the Monday Club. Which is where all the cool cats go.
Like all the best nights Alex, Matt and I decided that we were going to keep it quiet. Have one or two in Cork and then call it an early night.
There’s a point to all this I swear.
You know how these things go. You start off keeping it civil. Grab a beer, then you think why not have another. It’s too early still to go back. Hey, when did you eat last? Probably best to line the stomach. Those barbeque wings hit the spot now you’re energy is up. Should get another drink but not beer, it’s making you gassy. Why not graduate to spirits? Great idea, mines a G&T (the T is for tequila). Where else is good to go here? Reids? That’s on the way to the hostel, we’ll stop in for a nightcap. Hey, Reids is packed, this is cool. Hi, this gets us in free where? What time is that open to? Guys when are we next going to be in Cork? We have to be out of the hostel by 10 am there’s no point going to bed.
Here’s the thing, it was a great night.
We got back to the hostel around 3 am. The other two went to the bar for a final final nightcap I went on up to bed.
There it was again.
It was the smell.
The guy in the room smelled to high heaven.
I thought that my nose would get used to it after a while.
It did not.
This is the risk you take when you stay in a hostel.
I got into bed and put on YouTube in the hope that it would distract me from the rot that lingered in the air.
“You better turn that,” said a voice from within the darkness. Not knowing what kind of person I was sharing a room with I complied. So I lay there. Looking at the ceiling in the hope that sleep would come to me. It did not.
My nose just would not adjust to the smell. At specific points, I thought that I was going to gag.
Then something weird happened. Negative thoughts started flooding into my head. Some of them were old school negative thoughts. You know, “You’ll never achieve anything in your life, give up” That kind of negative self-talk.
You’re thinking that I’m attributing it to one thing. You know I understand that alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation played a part.
Something else happened. Around 6 am, I know because I checked my phone after, the guy got up, packed his things and left the room. The smell left with him, and so did the negative thoughts.
You’re body and brain are linked. You think that when you’re sad, you frown but when you frown you get sad. The guy smelled so bad that he made me sad.
“You smelled a bad smell Kieran, big woop.”
Wait, there’s more.
It got me thinking about another time.
On Christmas Day mum, dad, sister and I went to Mass together. Mum is a Eucharistic minister, so she was able to get communion for her my, my grandmother. After mass, we all went round to my grandma’s house.
In the house, there was my grandmother, my aunt and an uncle. When we came in, we said hello to everyone. Everyone said hello back except the uncle. He ignored us the whole time, he was playing online bingo or something and wouldn’t look at us. There was a strange atmosphere in the house, and it was good to get out of there once mum delivered the Eucharist.
Driving back up home the four of us got into a massive argument over nothing. My family have our blowups, but this one was different. It was particularly over nothing in this case.
I had a realisation that even a little exposure to a toxic environment can be harmful.
You need to remove yourself from toxic environments. No matter how much you think that it won’t affect you, trust me, it will.
You have to avoid toxic environments and avoid toxic people.
It may be hard to do at first but remember that no one can make you go anywhere that you don’t want to go.
You don’t have to spend time with anyone that will harm your mental health. Sometimes the best thing to do with toxic people is to quarantine them.
Help them help yourself, steer clear.
Unless you cheap out and get a hostel. In that case, you got to make your bed, lie in it and pray for anosmia.