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“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on”. Thomas Jefferson.

Rope detail copy

But how do you tie a knot in the end of your rope? This is the ultimate lesson that we can learn from life. I have found myself in several extreme situations since being a little girl. Remembering them in detail helps me see how I moved on from danger to safety. It helps me understand how I learned to hang from the end of the rope.

One of the most dangerous situations that I remember happened while walking to school on the 4th grade. It was a rather desertic area, a grove with a few trees here and there. I noticed a man chasing another man desperately, he carried a machete. It was hard to understand what was going on but I knew that it was very bad. Everything happened so fast. In the blink of an eye the men ended up really close to where I was. A woman that I never got to see screamed: RUN! GIRL!!! RUN, RUN!

I realized that the man running away from the other man was planning to use me to stop the attacker from hitting him with the machete. The woman kept screaming GIRL! RUN, RUN!! My brain immediately got into survival mode.

  Hand detail copy

Somehow I understood that running was not a good idea. I knew that if I run, even as fast as I could, the scared man was going to grab me up and go ahead with his plan. Instead, I saw a big tree and decided to use it as a shield. The scared guy run toward the tree. I was hiding behind it, waiting to see what I could do next. As the man approached the tree he fell down and boom! You don’t want to see what I saw next (the color red came out from the man’s back). The attacker hit him with the machete. I knew that it was time for me to run. I run as fast as I could, I used every drop of energy in my small body to get as far as I could from that place. I didn’t look back for a second. By the time my body couldn’t keep running anymore I was already in front of my school.  I have no idea what happened to the men but I was finally safe.

I never told this story to my Mom. I knew that she was going to be extremely worry. In the end it was going to be hard for her to take me to school anyway so I decided to keep this experience to myself. In fact, I never shared this story with anybody before.

End of the rope small

Pictures from one of my ink drawings titled The Hand and the Rope. 

Remembering that event is so important to me now. I shows me that we have some kind of animal instinct that helps us survive extreme situations, even as little people. I wonder what would have happened if the scared man had gotten to use me as a shield. Maybe I wouldn’t be writing this post right now.

That event was serious, dangerous and scary, but having survived it gave me a great sense of pride. It somehow made me feel in charge of my own life. That event prepared me for many other ones that followed next.

My mind is now trained to respond to difficult situations with a certain calm. As long as I wake up to a new day every morning, no matter what the circumstances are, I am always sure that everything will be alright.

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