So this is my attempt to recharge the battery up there, called brain, by finding something exciting to do. I think I know what, I haven’t been able to do the kind of writing that I desire, this kind…blogging. I am tired of writing dissertation, progress notes, and psyc reports as I think those are the kinds that I have been writing in the past few months.
But I was facing another block, writer block. Didn’t know what to write, until I noticed a short notification at the top of my wordpress dashboard called Plinky. Plinky is a website specializing in providing prompts for people in my position, having a blockage in finding ideas to write. Suddenly the synapses in my brain started to happen again, I have my a-ha moments. I know what to write.
I’d like to share a story, somewhat scary actually. About a month ago, at the end of June, a young lady was leaving a small conference that was held on the campus of Loyola University in Chicago. This was the main campus up north. The campus is situated by Lake Michigan, a beautiful site, facing the big lake. It was late in the evening when she left, but it was also a summer night and so the sun was about to go down at around 9 pm. The night was still somewhat bright, not dark. Those who are familiar with the area surrounding the campus would also know, however, that it is not a safe area. The crime rate used to be very high in that area. It has gotten better over time and the university has made an attempt to change the area and increased the security on campus. The area where this person was walking was still part of the campus. However, since it was also in the summer, the campus was quiet due to the summer break. Some places just looked empty and deserted.
Well, she was walking fast, trying to catch the train. She got to an area where she recognized it from being there plenty of times in the past and realized that there should be a short cut to get her to the train station faster. She stopped and thought about it for a few seconds. What got her to pause was because there were constructions all over the place too. Loyola apparently has been doing a lot to improve the appearance of the campus lately. The young lady knew the area well, but realized that she might have to take a detour walk in order to get to her destination. She took a chance to go for the short cut, even if it meant she had to take a detour.
She started walking, and finally got to a spot where looked like she could not go further because of the construction. Then she thought maybe if she walked behind the building, it could still take her to the other side of the building. See, she knew what was on the other side of the building, it’s where it would take her to the train station. If she could only get to the other side of the building, she thought. The path to the right of the building looked like a dead end. To the left of the building, well, there were only pebbles, but wide enough to walk through. The pebbles area has the building on one side and a high wall on the other side where the elevated train track is located. So she really was nearby the station. Even though the pebbles track did not look like an official path for students or people to walk through, she made a quick decision in her mind to give it a try. Why not, it’s faster, right? Otherwise, she would have to trace her steps back and take a longer route to the station.
She started walking through the pebbles. As she got closer to the end of the pebbles passage, her heart was also sinking slowly because she realized (slowly too) that she might have probably made a wrong decision. As the view of the end of the passage became bigger and clearer, she then understood that she took a dead end route. There was no passage that would allow her to get to the other side of the building. She turned around, looking back at the passage that she just took. It suddenly looked so long and far. She realized another thing, she was all alone.
Now, you’re probably wondering what happened next and hoping that this story ended positively. When she realized that she was alone, and that even if she screamed at that point nobody would have probably heard her, she experienced a feeling that was new to her. Panic. She also experienced fear. Very raw sense of fear. Fear-for-your-life-kind of fear. And what do people usually do when they feel fear? Humans typically react by doing one of the three things: fight, flight, or freeze. She ran. She ran out of the bat, tracing back the passage that she just took, running as if her life was depending on how fast her legs could go. It was a short passage, but to her, it felt like a mile long. To make the story short, she made it back to where she started, ended up taking the longer route anyway that she avoided in the first place, and missed her train. Oh well, but she was safe, nothing happened to her. Pheww!
What a relief, except that she was left with this question to ask herself for the next few days following the event: What in the world were you thinking when you decided to take that short cut alone, moron? Loyola campus, not a safe area? Evening? Nobody else was around? Taking a passage that did not even look like a path? Should I continue with the list of factors?
If you’re wondering, she’s okay now. She was able to process what happened by talking to an expert/professional, going over every single detail of what happened that night and what got her to be so careless, if not impulsive, in making her last minute decision. She was shaken up, all right.
By the way, if any of you readers are wondering if this person was a client of mine, don’t worry, I’m not breaking any confidentiality rule because it’s not a client. Can’t give you more info than that. The reason why I’m telling this story is because there are plenty to learn from this story. I, for once, made me think about my friends who are also parents with young daughters. What this young lady went through is not something that any parents would want their daughters to go through. Scary to think what other scenarios could have happened. Oh, I left out one scary detail, by the way. When this young lady got to end of the pebbles passage, she saw signs that the area had been used by homeless people. Now why do I suddenly have an image of a Law and Order SVU episode? I can even hear the theme song too.
It only takes a split second for a disaster to happen, and sometimes we make a decision in life without even knowing whether the decision will end up in a disaster. Unless you have the ability to see the future, you won’t know. This young lady, mind you, is not a careless person either. She’s what I would consider a street smart, but yet, she somehow ended up in a potentially dangerous situation where thank God nothing bad happened to her. She would never put her self in that situation. All she did was that she made a decision, which turned out something that could have been disastrous for her. Luckily, it didn’t.
Remember when I said in the beginning of this blog piece that I don’t want to write anything psychological? Hah! I can’t seem to stay away from it too long. There’s still a flavor of that here. Can’t help it.