This last Sunday, I had the misfortune of being a victim of an attempted hijacking. I wasn’t hurt and nothing was taken, but I was very rattled. My brain in these kinds of situations reacts so slowly, and then zones in on only what it needs to do to survive. In this case, I screamed like a banshee, and after the guy appeared to consider whether stabbing me, pulling me out of the car and driving away, or running away was the best option, he chose to run away thankfully. I also hate to say it, but this is not the first time I have had crime happen to me, but this time round I did seem a lot calmer quicker, and haven’t been experiencing the constant fear and feeling of violation that I have in the past. Hopefully it doesn’t sneak up on me, but for now, I’m fine.
It is disgusting how I have become almost immune, as if its scary and something to avoid, but normal at the same time. This got me thinking about a talk I heard while on a camp once. Are you a teabag, a boiled egg, or a carrot? I know this sounds very strange if you haven’t heard it before, at the time I was having a big HUH? moment. But when the story unfolded, I never forgot it. Of course, it only pops up during random times like these. Everyone has many things that happen to them, some wonderful things, some amazing things, some bad, and some really terrible things. Some have it better, some have it much worse than others. But I ask you again, are you a teabag, a boiled egg, or a carrot?
You see, sometimes we go through life, and lets face it, the hardest things to deal with are obviously the bad things. Are you a carrot, that when put into boiling water (life’s pressures), goes limp and soft? I say this without any judgement. I often go soft when things get too much, I think everyone does at some point, it’s just best not to stay like that. I remember when I got mugged a few years back, I was terrified, yes, scared during, but afterwards, I was terrified. I thought because they stole my bag, they would find my ID which had my address on and come rob our flat or do even worse things. I was so afraid that any day, they are going to break in somehow and come for me.
I couldn’t go out for walks or to the shops without my husband, and even then, I was terrified, especially since I refused to wear my specs for a long while, and I really struggled to see far, and all people shaped blurs looked evil, but if I wasn’t driving or watching TV, hey, why wear these irritating things on my face. I once mistook an old lady letting her dog sniff a bush for a terrible criminal. I tried to turn around and run, tried to drag my 6 ft 2 husband back to safety with me, but he forced me to carry on walking, insisting it was fine. I couldn’t believe the blur was a little old lady and her cute dog. Being a carrot happens sometimes, but to keep on living timidly, afraid of everything, easily hurt, a victim if you will, a fragile and often broken thing, is not a good long term solution to everything. It steals your joy, it steals your confidence, it steals all the special things that make you who you are.
Or, are you a boiled egg. I was for a while. Once again with my mugging experience, a few months after I got mugged, I became furious. How dare those people take what I worked hard to buy? How dare they come into my personal space and attack me? What kind of people are they that they care nothing for others? I spent many sleepless nights, I spent months afraid. How dare they steal my sense of well being and comfort? I remember stopping at a store once, and I had to walk into work which was just around the corner, literally part of the same complex, but on the outside of the fencing, on the road. I saw a guy standing there by the opening to that part of the complex, he looked a little dodge to be fair, but I swore if he even made a move towards me, I would take my plastic little water bottle, and beat the living crap out of him. I know, my plastic little water bottle probably wouldn’t have done much :p
But I was so angry, to the point of becoming a racist, and judging every person who didn’t look like what constitutes normal civilised society, as being these evil people who will just take, take, take whatever they can get, no matter what they have to do to others to get it. Something or things may have happened to you that may have hurt you, or scared you, or scarred you, so you become hard, you become distant or cold, or you lash out, using your little shell to protect yourself from any further harm coming to you. I guess maybe the angry version is more of a prickly pear, but in keeping with boiling water representing the bad things in life, the boiled egg is appropriate.
Or are you a teabag? When you get put into the boiling water, you flavour the water around you, and as long as you are in there, you make the flavour stronger and stronger. I think perhaps there were a few times I was there, but this is what I strive to be all the time, often unsuccessfully. It could be you have helped someone else, because you have been there. Or you still have the strength to smile and be kind to others, or be there for your friends and family. What can you do today to be the teabag? You might think that your job is terrible, but being nice to your customers or colleagues can really make their day, and help you feel better at the same time. Perhaps you work with people who are on the road to or who are most likely to fall into a life of crime, or abuse or drugs or whatever, you caring about them gives them self worth, you may be instrumental in helping these people to turn away from that life.
I am not saying that we should excuse all the bad things, it’s never okay for someone to treat you badly, and no one likes bad things happening to them, it’s sad that these things are a part of life. But take that experience and use it to strengthen yourself, and to spread goodness, kindness, love and joy around. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of being afraid, of being broken, of being angry, or hurt. But remember that there is also good in life. Even the bad things have something good about them, even if it’s only that you learnt something. Be a teabag, and share the good things in life. We are all influenced by all our circumstances, make sure that you use them for good 🙂