Tag Archives: trials

Fight or Flight?

Fight or flight is a real thing. When it comes down to it, I like to think that when it matters, I stay and I fight. I fight for my family, I fight for friends, I fight in situations when I have to be level headed, I fight to get things done.

However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I choose flight. Mostly I choose flight when it comes to things that seemingly only concern and affect me. It must be the same for many, if not all of us, as members of this imperfect human race. I can’t help but think as I consider upcoming days and events that I’m already feeling the anxiety, the panic and wonder if this time I will lean towards flight.

I feel as though sometimes life is like a speedway. I remember the first race I went to. An hour drive out of state, a chilly night spent sitting on cold seats with the chill seeping through my clothes, and so much noise! You could barely hear yourself think let alone speak, and it was absolutely exhilarating! Fast cars, dust, and a boisterous crowd all focused on the speed and continuously steering to the left. It sounds funny now that I think about it but I could definitely see why people liked to come and feed off the energy and just have a good time. The only change now is that I’m thinking of those races differently. I’m picturing myself starring in this nightmare of a scene, pulled from the benches and forced into a car and told to just go. No training, no warning that this was going to happen, no nothing. And boom. There I am in the driver’s seat forced to make the drive, bearing left and left and left and left… at stomach-churning high speeds. Trying to control myself, trying to not hit others, trying to get out of this alive.

Certainly a lot of things in life are consequences – good and bad – of our actions, and we know some outcomes as we go into the decisions. Other things are thrown at us and we’ve had to wing it and just fight to survive the speed. The crowd on the side can watch and cheer or call for our downfall, but regardless of the spectators, this is something you have to experience firsthand. And while sitting on the sidelines has a certain kind of rush, it’s nothing compared to the combined fear and euphoria of our own personal races on the track. Nothing will compare to your feelings as you sit in that driver’s seat fighting and wondering how to best survive the situation. Wondering when will the race end, what had you done to deserve this, when will you be safe, where was the “opt out” button, hoping that you won’t spin out, and hoping that the occasional jaws-of-life scenes you saw as a spectator wouldn’t apply to you.

Sitting here, chewing my nails, worrying about certain things in my future, I start to the feel the flight urge. Sometimes, you’re forced into the driver’s seat with no warning. Other times, you will inexplicably know it’s coming, especially if it’s happened to you before. So I sit here and contemplate whether to tap into my bank account and book a flight somewhere I’ve never been. No ties, no associations; a nameless stranger on unfamiliar paths. I’ll be choosing my own consequences, I think to myself. I’ll spare myself this part of the anxiety. I get the chance to walk away. “Unscathed” is the word I think of, but I know whatever I decide, there are always consequences. I can’t sit here and write that in this case, I’ve chosen one of the other. I can’t piously allude to not choosing flight. But I also can’t rule out my chances for the fight. In some ways I guess that’s what the phrase means anyway. When it comes down to the moment, will it be fight or will it be flight?

As for this idea that I mostly fight when it concerns the welfare of others, maybe I should start fighting for myself too.

Photo by John Westrock

Something I Must Acknowledge

It’s nearly 3 AM and the wheels in my mind and the strings in my heart are turning, pulling. Isn’t that always the way it goes: over-active minds going strong at inopportune moments.

I’m having one of the moments when if I don’t acknowledge something, I’ll be kept up for a long time.

Within the past, say, two years I’ve learned to appreciate a lot. But I’ve also noticed that I’m more bitter about certain things and sometimes it just eats away at me. I try not to be bitter because I feel like this huge festering sore. Or an annoying itch that has decided the best place to appear underneath my skin where I can scratch all I want but it’s not going to get much better.

How do I get rid of the itch and cure the sore? I can walk around all day and all night, month after month, year after year acting blasé and nonchalant but what I really want to do is just…get better.

I’ve decided that bitterness doesn’t become me, but I also know it’s also flabbergastingly hard to get rid of.

Changing, Growing

It tends to happen that in the face of change, many things are revealed. As things shift, new thoughts and new ways come forward and you’re able to look back and see a glimpse of just how things used to be. Things have once again shifted in my life. Not the small, almost undetectable shifts, but one that has been forecasted and has been a source of both anticipation and dread. Life is changing and that’s the simple, yet vague way of saying it. What thing has been revealed in the face of this major shift? What is there now that wasn’t there before? I’ll tell you what, but you’ll have to promise not to laugh, because you see my shoulders have changed. I’m not girl of particularly large stature. In fact, I’m the perfect armrest for many that I know. I’m strong but not too strong and I’ve always been confident but not in everything I do or say. In the past few months, or perhaps the past few years, my shoulders have been growing. They’re stronger somehow. When that happened, I’m not sure. I can only see that they’ve filled out and grown to be sturdier. They feel different too. The only other important detail is that this change is not necessarily physical or tangible. My soul feels like it’s expanded and has filled my shoulders. They’ve grown up and grown out and have grown to be square, to evenly spread all the weight I’ve had to bear. I now know that before, my shoulders were not as purposeful or as beautiful as they are today because of my trials.

Watch Hill, Rhode Island
Watch Hill, Rhode Island