Wednesday, time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. (My apologies on being a day or so late).
What am I feeling insecure about this month? To put it frankly, my personal safety was put at risk recently, therefore, I’ve been feeling afraid in real time.
I learnt one simple tip though, about 20 years ago, watching an Oprah Winfrey show. This one thing has saved me from a dangerous situation, and has potentially saved my life. Twice. The second event happened to me only recently, less than a month ago. So I thought, for this post, I want to talk about this and spread this vital message.
The Number One Safety Tip: Listen to your gut instinct, and Act on it. Listen and act. Three words which may save your life.
When I was in my early 30’s, I lived in a flat on the beach. A trail ran from my door down the garden, down a trail, under the Pohutakawas onto the sand. I swam every day, at the same time, for a whole year.
About halfway through that year, strolling down for my swim, I had a “funny feeling”. But I ignored it.
One day, about six months later, we got off work early and I went down to the beach a little earlier than usual. I was swimming, and happened to catch a glimpse of someone sprinting along the beach. He looked like a cat cantering along a hot tin roof. I turned around fully and the man had disappeared. Poof! Like the rabbit down a hole, he was gone.
When I got out of the water, as I neared the path, I began to feel weird: my pulse raced, my steps slowed, and my heart ticked faster. I decided to creep into the bushes and take a look further along the track. I clambered up and peered through the branches. Then I became aware I wasn’t alone. There was someone behind me.
I spun around. The man who had been sprinting down the beach was lying sprawled on his side in the grass, from where he could overlook the track without being seen. That was when I discovered that all those stories are true. When you’re in real danger, the adrenalin that takes off within makes you temporarily superhuman.
Like a cat preparing to jump, I coiled way down and sprang up with great force, unlike anything I’d ever possessed, leaping clear over the top of these bushes, landing crouched on the sand below. Without a pause in my stride, like Wonder Woman, or a cartoon figure, I zoomed down the beach, to safety.
The message I had taken away from that Oprah show was this: your gut instinct is your primary self defence mechanism.
Now, life had given me in a lesson in how just how important it was. It could literally be a matter of life and death. I had put myself in harm’s way because I’d been ignoring what my gut was trying to tell me.
The second time I was in a situation where I experienced a gut instinct of danger, was three weeks ago.
I jog every day. One day, I got up earlier than usual, around 7 a.m. I jogged down a dead-end street, wearing headphones.
I noticed a car acting strangely, because it swerved and drove the wrong way around the curved end of the street. The car stopped on the other side of the road where I was heading, with the engine going. I saw the dented sides of the car and the blacked-out windows. My gut said, DANGER!
I turned and ran back the way I had come, quickly taking the plugs out of my ears. If he followed, I decided, I’d turn up a driveway.
The car started moving in the wrong direction, approaching directly behind me on the wrong side of the road! I sped up the next driveway. The car stopped at the letterbox, engine idling. By this time, my heart was thumping, my ears were ringing with sirens and cold sweat trickled down my spine.
I quickly came to a high locked garden gate, two closed garage doors and under a short awning, a front door. I knocked, and knocked. No answer. I was trapped.
Stuck there on their doorstep with my back facing the door, I listened to the engine idling, with only a meter or so between myself and the car. For five agonising minutes, I waited before the car rumbled up the road. I crept out of the driveway an inch at a time until I could see the coast was clear. Then I sprinted for home like I’d never run before.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the people in the blacked-out car wished me ill. And, if I hadn’t heard that vital message on Oprah all those years ago, I might not have reacted the way I did and taken immediate evasive action.
Listen and Act. Three words that may save your life, or save you from even worse.
What about you? Have you ever had a terrifying experience? I’d love to hear from you!
Keep on creating…
Yvette K. Carol
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Time is a great healer, unless you’ve got a rash, in which case you’re better off with ointment. ~ Holly (Red Dwarf)