I was munching away on a not so healthy lunch. I had taken my lunch break as late as possible and was enjoying finally a moment of peace and tranquility. It was then that I saw a giant black and yellow insect flying towards me. Too big to be a bee – which could only mean one thing – a wasp or a hornet. Even now I google, trying to discern the difference between the two. All I know is what my grade 1 education taught me- that this thing could sting me multiple times and that I should be very afraid.
Now typically one would hear at this time, “If you don’t bother it, it won’t bother you” but as someone who is allergic to bee stings, a wasp/hornet/spawn of satan surely spells out death. So when I saw this very confident thing flying towards me, I’d do what any sane person would do. I froze. It hovered for a while and then disappeared. Oh, that worked. Happily I went about eating. I felt something by my leg, the kind of feeling when your dress blows against your legs – soft but noticeable. Looking down, I saw the insistent creature headbutting my leg. I froze again. There was no way I was lasting through summer with leper-looking legs. It headbutted me again and this time instinct made me jump up, scream like a tween at a One Direction concert and runaway.
It gotten me thinking about the freeze, flight and fight response and how I react to situations which cause me anxiety. Let’s face it, I’m a pretty anxious person. I’m nervous, restless and when I am under too much pressure I feel like I am about to faint.
More often than not my response is to freeze. Especially in conflict or situations I’m not comfortable in, my body shuts down. Like a turtle I retreat into my shell with only my over-analytic thoughts to keep me company. Walls up with no way to bring them down, unless I roll-out the drawbridge.
When pushed to the limits of the edge of my comfort zone, the only thing I know how to do is flee. It’s shameful because I always see myself as a fighter. It’s so easy to run away – I do a lot more and more. Until now. I have to stop running. I have to fight.