Monthly Archives: November 2013

The fight or flight 1k sprint

Seeing all those Halloween costumes amuse me, some are creative, some are dull but some are incarnated and alive. Back when I was 10 years old, my cousin took me to watch a theatrical show in a nearby school, roughly a kilometer away from home, so he suggested going on foot.

Growing up, I was always pushed to show and prove my courage – typical Spartan-like family atmosphere – so I never hesitated to take upon a challenge, nor to show fear whatsoever… and what is fear but an illusion.

The play was supposed to be for children, but it turned to an intimidating horror movie shortly after it started. A grim reaper with a huge scythe and an awful scream went on running around the stage killing people. And it stuck to the back of my head.


The play finished while I was trying to catch my breath and with a heart pumping faster than an Olympic swimmer. I was thrilled, more like frightened and haunted by some thoughts.

Now we had to go back home, on a dark road, climbing stairs to take shortcuts –long dark and deserted stairs covered with vegetation, you can figure out the scene if you’ve watched a good share of horror movies. We started walking and my cousin was 5 years older than me, so he was faster, he kept saying we should walk faster because he have to catch a TV show, so I was trying hardly to maintain pace. Falling behind, every 10 meters I would look behind me and I would see a dark shadow with a long sharp blade trying to catch me. I realized I should be faster and faster and faster, super-fast, I mustn’t let him catch me, not today. If I keep up with my cousin I would be safe.


After a while reality hit me, and my body could no longer maintain pace in this dreadful marathon. I had to stop and explain, before I said a word my protective cousin broke words, and my expectations shattered: he was petrified from this black fearful figure.

My instinctive reflexes kicked in, I had to save the day. I explained how community helps in overcoming these situations –in a 10 years old language, because probably I am not Aristotle- I also assured that if we stick together as one unit we will defeat anything, after all this grim reaper only lives on that stage, they must have locked him there, he can’t have escaped. But deep inside I was still convinced he is after us. I encouraged him to continue and I assured that we are completely safe.

I spent around 6 months trying to overcome this illusion and another 9 years learning that the grim reaper do live on a stage, and that stage is but an area called the Amygdala, an area located in our brains. The grim reaper is incarnated within, he feeds on our souls and kills our ambitions. The more you feed him the more he kills your ambitions.

This experience continues to teach me not to take an “if” as a factor in my aftermath reasoning. Yes I am glad I watched this play, and I wouldn’t want to miss it, it might have impacted me negatively on the short term, but it was a fruitful experience on the long term.


(none of the pics above are mine)

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