Archive for the ‘Personal Safety’ Category

It’s 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 st a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Every month, the organisers announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. Remember, the question is optional!!!

This month’s co-hosts:  Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, andChemist Ken!

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

There was a time, not too long ago, when I wasn’t drawn to the idea of the optional IWSG Day Question. I preferred to write what I wanted to write instead. Then, one day I was stuck for ideas, so I turned to the question offered. And, I’ve been a convert ever since. I’ve only missed one month and that was because I couldn’t come up with an answer! But, apart from that, I’ve come to relish the Question – even looking forward to it – to see what the clever upper-ups at IWSG Headquarters have come up with next.

I love the October Question!

 

11717197_10152841846311744_1745896926_nWriting has helped me through every hard time and helped me to get through every trial I’ve experienced. There have been times, after the losses of family members, when I’ve stopped writing altogether. Dried up and couldn’t write, at the same time I didn’t want to be near anything about the online world, at all. There have been times when I’ve needed to retreat in silence and stillness and be with the grief.

After hard times, writing was my way back into the world of people, and into the fray via the internet. Sometimes, I would resist for longer than others. But, eventually, every time I suffered a blow and was devastated, I returned to my normal life by sitting and translating what I had been through into words. Writing blog posts, writing for my monthly newsletter, writing fiction.

IMG_2798

Writing always provided the catalyst for my positive evolution, through the sadness and out onto the other side, of having grown through the experience.

In that place, I could contribute again and be of service through writing my stories, and other stuff, along the way.

My father died in February of this year. Within about three hours of getting the news he had passed, I was off the grid. I’d sorted out what needed to be done for the household to run and for the world to excuse the boys and I for a week. Then, we were on the road for my parents’ seaside town. I stayed off line and away from my cell phone, feeling  I needed all my energy and attention on the unfolding events as we laid dad to rest.

28059204_10213785894033345_674288740494601125_n

We returned home, and I was a different person. I could feel it, I knew it. You are so changed when you lose someone important in your life. I’d always suspected losing dad would be the most painful, and so it was. I couldn’t face writing or any sort of social media. I remained in this “other” space for weeks. I’d cried so much over the week of sitting with his body and then burying him that I was completely dry of tears. I had wept until I couldn’t shed anymore. So, I did my daily exercises and tended to the kids, ran the household, and went to Toastmasters, gave speeches, without really being there.

I was on automatic without being fully engaged in my life.

IMG_1895

One of my fellow Toastmasters said I had lost weight that she could see it in my face, and she expressed worry about me, which really touched my heart.

One day, I opened my computer and I made myself open my work-in-progress. I sat in front of my laptop, and I started editing and rewriting and the energy started to flow again. I felt myself literally coming to life, through the passion I have for my stories. My writing ushered me up from the void into the land of the living again. I was once again able to engage with my children and others in my life fully and I was working on my book.

I felt such deep gratitude!

Has writing ever helped you?

10346310_10203371369986198_6046747355631495392_n

Keep Writing!

Yvette K. Carol

*

I put things down on sheets of paper and stuff them in my pockets. When I have enough, I have a book. ~ John Lennon

*

 

Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

Advertisements

I know, I’m late again. Wednesday is 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.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Right now, I am deeply insecure about the human race.

It’s hard to look at our planet right now and be chipper about it, even for an upbeat, optimistic, Sagittarian Dragon like me.

How can I continue to create my imaginary literary worlds when the real world around me is going to hell in a hand basket?

Although I appear somewhat refined, I’m actually low-brow. I loved Harry Potter, love ‘following the Kardashians,’ going to the movies, eating ice-cream and too much junk food on my time off. I don’t read the news, don’t know anything about politics, didn’t go to University, didn’t get a degree, well, you get the idea. I’m a fairly basic human being.

036

Nevertheless, I still have my own expression to share.

I look at the world and I am disappointed by the sad state of our planet, by stupid credit wrecking world finances, by inane politics, by religions, by the state of our education system, by practically everything! I’m deflated right down to being scared of the strange characters loose on the streets, that make it too dangerous for a single woman to jog.

On my jog today, I was frightened by a man.

All day, I’ve been trying to think of a solution. I could jog with someone else, if I knew someone who lived nearby who jogged. But, apart from the lack of such a person, I use my running as time to commune with myself, in the style of a semi-meditation. So, that’s not really an option.

005

There have been lots of incidents over the 20+ years I’ve been living here. I’ve been forced to change the times of day I run, and the routes many times. I used to run at 5 in the morning, when I got a doozy of a scare to find a man had been waiting for me in an alley. I changed to running at 9 a.m. 4 p.m. midday. Then, I changed it back to 8 in the morning which is where I am, currently.

Today was the second time in a few days, that I’ve seen the same terrifying guy, with the deadly serious attitude.

It was pouring with rain.

011 (6)

As I ran past this man walking, I knew it was the same man who had given me chills from two days before. I thought I’d better check the stranger was still walking on up the road. But, he wasn’t. He’d stopped and was starting to turn around.

My guts said, “MOVE!”

I saw I was a few steps from the driveway of another school mama. I shot down to her front door. She and her daughter, and their big dog were just getting ready to leave for school. She said, “What’s wrong?”

I said, “There’s a strange man on the road, and I came to the nearest safe house.”

016

She said, “Don’t worry. Brut will scare them off!”

We went back up their driveway. The man in the hoodie was loitering on the other side of the road.

I said, “There he is!”

At that, the man pivoted and took off into the property behind him.

11889507_1104398626237740_4156882009942782235_n

I thanked my friends and ran home safely. Yet, it was like the final straw. I have ignored the signs for years. But now, it’s unavoidable. I have to accept that my freedom is curtailed, because it is not safe to jog anymore. And something in me really rankles against that. I’ve spent the day feeling incensed.

With evening, I find I’m left with this great weight of disappointment like a sad blanket upon me. I’m disappointed by the human race.

Someone on Facebook said a few days ago, that he feels a sense that the miraculous is afoot. This does give a glimmer of hope. Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek movie, says, “I think you’re underestimating the human race” I sure hope so! However, I’ve also decided to invest in a treadmill.

In this sad, old world of ours how do we artists continue to create our imaginary Edens?

026 - Copy

Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

+

The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago, had they happened to be within reach of predatory human hands. ~ Henry Havelock Elllis

+

Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

 

July 8th. It was the end of the second term and time for our return visit to Grandpa.

043

Being winter, I had the car packed with extra bedding, extra warm clothes, and extra everything. We left town at 10 a.m. The boys watched movies on my laptop in the backseat. We were due to meet my father in his favourite coffee shop for lunch, and by the time we neared the turnoff from the highway, we were making good time.

Then, we neared the bottom of the hill, a literal fifteen-minute drive left to Grandpa’s small town.

That was when we saw orange cones across the road ahead of us. Ominously, a council worker stood re-directing traffic.

001

“The road’s closed,” said the earnest-looking young Maori man.

“Why?”

“Flooding. No one can get through. There’s been heavy rain and there’s a ‘King tide.’ The tide won’t drop till about 5 p.m.”

“What can we do?”

“Prestcott’s Garage is open. You can go along there and wait with the others, if you want.”

002

We opted to go through the barrier, and drive a few hundred yards to the old-timey gas station. It was midday.

We sat waiting in our car, along with about a dozen other similarly-trapped people, stuck in limbo, in the pouring rain.

The laptop then ran out of battery power. The boys started complaining. It was one of those times when you, as the adult, wished there was someone you could complain to!

004

We trailed about outside, and were very fortunate that after half an hour, it stopped raining. The kids were able to see it as an adventure then, rather than a punishment.

For the next two and a half hours, we played with a ball, and we took walks around about to look at the flooded fields.

I’d seen the low-lying countryside with lots of big puddles before, but nothing like this. There were cars stuck on the other sides of the roads in all directions, too, we were told. A tree was down across the road, also, for which a special kind of tractor was sent. A car was submerged and a truck had landed in the ditch. A local farmer had had to “teach her heifers to swim.”

007

We were wet, cold and tired. Yet, we bided our time and watched the occasional emergency vehicle dash past.

I had spontaneous conversations with all kinds of interesting folk. There was the 95-year-old who had travelled down with his 70-year-old wife, to view a property in the area, and had only been intending a day trip, to travel straight back to the city afterwards. There was a young businessman with neat coiffed hair and immaculately-pressed shirt and slacks, on his way to meet friends. The truck-driver who told me, he would attempt driving through anyway, but he was worried because if he didn’t make it, ‘the insurance won’t cover you if you’ve travelled on a closed road.’ An elderly blue-eyed gentleman blustered, ‘We only just moved here from Auckland. I’m beginning to wish we never had!’

We stood around, talking and commiserating.

003

Finally, an authoritative-looking man came from the direction of the flood, and announced, “There’ll be nothing getting through for the next two days. The bridge has moved.”

I phoned dad. He said, “But, couldn’t you come around the long way?” A trip around the top of the Coromandel Peninsula would take another three hours. Yet, we had no choice!

I had never driven the journey in question before, and upon querying others at the station, was told, ‘just follow your nose to the turn off.’ At 3 p.m. we set off back the way we’d come, over the Coromandel Ranges, chased by the pouring rain and howling gale.

029

The road lived up to the terrible reputation Kiwi roads have gained overseas. After an hour of hair-raising twists and turns winding up the coast, we headed into the mountains; a route of 25 – 35 km tight twists and turns. This particular trek includes the only “15 km” hairpin bend I’ve ever taken. As the gathering dusk turned to evening, I prayed we would make it to our destination.

Additional to this litany of woes, was the fact I was stuck wearing my dark prescription glasses. My glasses for night time driving were somewhere in amongst our luggage. I was trying to see where the road was going, as it bent and twisted in front of me like a pile of wet spaghetti in the pitch dark!

Another two hours later, we limped into my father’s small town. 6.15 p.m. The first day of our mid-winter break had been an instrument of torture!

020

Later, my brother arrived with news the bridge hadn’t moved after all. Someone had gotten the wrong message through to the crowd of us waiting at the garage. 95% of the people waiting had turned around and returned home, while a few of us hardier types had weathered the trip the long way round. Either way, it had been, as a burly blond guy at the scene had said, ‘A bloody mess!’

My father said he was going to talk to the Mayor. The fact that all roads into the Coromandel had been reduced to a single lane for a whole day, and yet, there were no road signs out on the highways, to warn travellers, was “pathetic,” he said. The fact there was no clear authority in charge, once there were holiday goers stuck in limbo, was “hopeless management.” These were serious issues which needed to be addressed by the Mayor and the council, dad said. My thoughts exactly. Bravo!

Thanks, dad. You’re my hero! 

019

Talk to you later.

(p.s. The rest of the holiday was great!)

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

+

The hero’s redemption (and ultimate victory) hinges on their transcending their self-concern. And it rarely happens unless the writer brings the hero to the point of despair. ~ PJ Reece

+

Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

Back due to popular demand! Here is the transcript from the speech I gave at my Toastmasters Club this week. We held an “Evaluation Contest” for which I was the “Test Speaker.” Although it was my fifth speech since I joined the association, I tackled Project 4: “Say it” from the “Competent Communication” manual.

The aim of Project 4 is to be as succinct as possible, eliminate all jargon, and not to use words which could be taken different ways.

Evaluation Contest

For those of you who read my post, The Number One Tip that might Save Your Life, the two personal stories therein are repeated in this speech, just so you know! However, I guess this will demonstrate the difference between writing a blog post and writing a speech. Admittedly, at first, I thought I could cheat and just use my post as my speech. Yet, when I recorded myself giving the talk, I could hear all the ways in which it just didn’t work. The ideas just don’t translate in some areas. But it’s a fine-tuned balance that needs to be acquired. It takes endless editing. Which makes writing a speech exactly like writing a story!

YouTube

Speech Five

Fear is a Gift!

Contest Chair, contestants, fellow Toastmasters,

Around the world attacks on women are on the rise.

In one day in America, 400 people will be injured with guns; in one hour 75 women will be raped.

According to the latest crime statistics for NZ, there were 2,277 acts intended to cause injury, 180 sexual assaults, and 633 acts of abduction, harassment and other offences recorded in the month of October alone. Frightening isn’t it?

Yet, according to self defence expert, Gavin de Becker, in his book, The Gift of Fear, we can use fear to spot signs of danger, to save ourselves, before it’s too late.

I saw Gavin interviewed on the Oprah show many years ago. Oprah called him, “the nation’s leading expert on violent behaviour.” His message was, Learn to listen to your gut instinct, and act on it.

Listen and act. Easy to say. Hard to do. How do you listen to your instincts? When I first watched that show on Oprah, I took the message in, but I didn’t know how to “listen.”

In my early 30’s, I lived in a flat on the beach. A trail ran down the garden, through native forest, and an avenue of Pohutakawas onto the sand. I swam every day, at the same time of day, for a whole year.

Halfway through that year, however, as I walked down the track in my swimsuit to take my daily swim, I got a “funny feeling,” a sort of a sinking sensation in my gullet. But, it was “nothing,” I told myself, and I ignored it.

I carried on with my daily swims, for a further six months, all the time with this funny little feeling every time I went up and down the track.

One day, I got off work early and I went for a swim earlier than usual. I was floating in the waves, and caught a glimpse of a guy tearing down the beach. I looked again and the man had disappeared. Poof! He was gone. That’s strange, I thought.

But, I ignored it. I carried on with my swim. Half an hour later, I walked back up the shore. As I neared the path, I thought, is that man who was running, still around here somewhere? To put my suspicions at rest, I decided to check out the track from the safety of the bushes. I clambered up the bank and peered through the branches. Then, I realised, I wasn’t alone. There was someone behind me.

I swung around. The man who had been tearing down the beach was lying sprawled on his side in the grass, where he could overlook the track without being seen.

That was when I discovered that all those stories are true. When you’re in danger, in real danger, the adrenalin that takes off within you temporarily makes you superhuman.

Charged with these super powers, I crouched all the way down, like a cat does, when it’s preparing to jump. Then, I sprang with great force, clear over the top of these bushes, dropping probably a couple of metres onto the sand below. Without a pause in my stride, I sprinted for home around the roadway.

The message I had taken away from watching Gavin de Becker, was that your first instinct of fear is the most important. I realized that life had given me a lesson in just how important. I had put myself in harm’s way because I’d been ignoring what my gut had been trying to tell me for six months.

I decided that from then on, I’d try harder in future to pay attention to my body’s wisdom.

These days, I am a student of a Hawaiian art called Ka ‘alele au. Ka ‘alele au is a dynamic moving meditation like a martial art. The Hawaiians call the gut, the ‘pono.’ They believe the pono gives a very deep real truth. In the Maori culture, ‘pono’ is the word for truth!

The second time I was in a situation in my life where I experienced that tensing of the pono, the first warning sign of danger, happened only a month ago.

I went out a little earlier than usual for my run, at 7 a.m. There was no traffic, no other runners around; the entire neighbourhood was still asleep. I jogged down the left hand side of a dead-end street with my headphones on.

I noticed the car because it drove on the wrong side of the road and swerved around the dead end. The large car stopped, facing me on the other side of the road, where I was heading, with the engine going. I glimpsed the dented sides of the car and the blacked-out windows. My pono grabbed. The first warning sign.

I spun on my heel and jogged back the way I had come, quickly taking the plugs out of my ears.

The strange car started moving, approaching directly behind me on the wrong side of the road! My pono tightened further.

So, I made a sharp right and ripped up the next driveway.

By this time my heart was thumping, my ears were ringing with sirens, I was so terrified.

The strange car stopped at the letterbox, engine idling.

But the driveway was short and I was met by a locked garden gate and closed garage doors. I ducked under the shallow awning to the front door of the house. I knocked, and knocked. But, no one answered. I was trapped.

Stuck there with my back to the door, I listened to the engine rumbling, with only a meter and a half at most between myself and the strange car, and nowhere else to run.

For a full five minutes I waited, not knowing what would happen next. Then, the car finally moved up the road. I crept out of the driveway an inch at a time until I could see the street really was clear. When I sprinted for home like I’d never run before.

Certainly, there’s no doubt in my mind that the people in that car wished to do me harm. If I hadn’t heard that important message on Oprah all those years ago, I might not have learned how vital it is to pay attention to the pono. I might not have listened to my first gut instinct the way I did that morning. I may not have reacted as quickly. And, I might not have been here, today, to tell you this story.

A New York Times reviewer said of Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear, ‘The ability to predict and protect oneself from violent behaviour, largely through one’s own intuition, is the central premise of Becker’s book – thus, fear is a gift.

 

+

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share this message with your loved ones. This is something I intend teaching to my children. Be safe, be well.

 

DSC_1158-Edit-2

Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”–Dr. Seuss

You can view my speech here: https://youtu.be/0Cv0J60qdaE

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

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.

6683589_orig

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.

003

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.

8404370_orig

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.

8166305_orig

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.

9339951_orig

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!

003

Keep on creating…

Yvette K. Carol

@yvettecarol1

Subscribe to my Newsletter: http://www.yvettecarol.com

+

Time is a great healer, unless you’ve got a rash, in which case you’re better off with ointment. ~ Holly (Red Dwarf)