How we perceive things really matters. Some people dodge disaster and breathe a sigh of relief and move on with a positive happy attitude never giving it another thought. Maybe they live their life actually thinking of this scenario and declaring how lucky they were. The same near-miss event can put someone else into a life long tail spin, thinking doom and gloom will always try to get them. (I bet you've figured out, I'm that second someone.)
Just recently I figured out why I am the cautious, nervous nellie that I am. It was MY dodged disaster. An event that traumatized a once very reckless little kid, into a guarded eleven year old girl who would continue that vigilance throughout her life.
It was a breezy April day in 1970. I was out riding my bright orange, sting ray bicycle, which had a bold flowered vinyl, banana seat. I was suppose to be home for dinner but with the wind in my hair, I didn't have a care, I boldly jumped curbs and raced carelessly through the side streets of my safe, suburban neighborhood. As I was heading towards the playground at the closed public pool, a man sitting parked in a big blue car beeped his horn and waved me towards him. Still on my bicycle, I used my feet to glide myself towards his passenger window. He started asking me for directions to a street. I tried to tell him where the street was when i noticed.... he was ONLY wearing a T-shirt! I quickly made excuses that I had to go, that my mother was waiting right on the other side of the playground for me. He gestured and asked me a question and I Screamed NO!! I pedaled back home so quickly, I didn't remember how I had gotten there. Traumatized and extremely shaken, I reacted by getting under my covers and just shivering. I didn't go to my mom, i didn't talk about it. I just couldn't stop shaking. I don't know how long I stayed that way, but my sister came in my room and became so worried when she saw me. She screamed for my mom, and after a little time... I was able to tell them what had happened. They were, of course, so upset and yet relieved that I wasn't abducted or hurt in any way.
My mom then insisted that I go with her to the police station and give a description of this deviant. That was almost as traumatic as the event itself. Apparently (according to the officer) many little girls make up stories for various reasons, so back in 1970.. they found the hostile approach in speaking to terrified little kids most appropriate and effective! It was awful! The shaking continued! I did give a very accurate description of the man. (the mans face that is!) But I don't know if they ever found him. With so many tragedies in our world concerning kids, I know I was that LUCKY someone! But that one event, That one day, really changed who I am. I am always on my toes, playing it safe, never taking foolish risks. Through the years I don't think I've ever connected the dots about WHY I am who I am. I haven't told many people about this incident. Something that happened last week (TOO long to get in to it!) made me realize the connection. Even though this happened 40 years ago... I still find it so difficult to talk about without getting those same chills. As I huddle under my throw blanket to put this into writing on this hot, humid April day, I am having a feeling of freedom that my trauma like my cautiousness is outright....exposed.
1 day ago