Today I learned that my fight or flight needs a bandaid. It needs a tune up. I needs some sort of reprogramming. I already knew that it had gone awry with PTSD, my easy startle reflex, my panic mode, and my freeze mode. I don’t have the answer on how to fix it, assist it, or heal it, but it needs some serious TLC. Yes, I am in therapy. Boundaries and voice have been part of the focus. Reframing traumatic experiences another. This fight or flight though…
A few days ago my husband and I went out on an adventure to find alligators. I wanted to see one in real life. What I imagined I would see was an alligator lying on the islands in the middle of the lake or off on the side of the bank of the lake. We saw no alligators.
Today I wanted to go to the butterfly museum. It is a huge screened in wonderland for butterflies. I don’t ever like to see something in a cage. This was different. It was very beautiful. There were trees and flowers and waterfalls galore. AND we were there 5 minutes before we were told lightening was seen in the area and we had to leave. I took a few pictures as we were being rushed out the door as if a tornado was about to it. We live in Florida. We went outside to the free butterfly garden where we spent a lot of time with surprisingly no lightening or thunder or rain. I was very excited to FINALLY get a picture of the elusive blue butterfly I have been searching for. It isn’t the most fantastic picture but here she is, along with the garden path and a few flowers. I haven’t gotten to the fight or flight yet. Pause for pretty pictures:
The underside of the blue butterfly was brown with a few green outlines and then orange circles with white dots in the middle outlined again in yellow. Then when he opened his wings the blue was brilliant! Just brilliant!
I felt disappointed that we did not get to stay in the butterfly museum and since it was right around the block from Lake Alice where we had gone to look for alligators we drove back to Lake Alice to look again. We were not disappointed. My husband and I were there alone for most of the time. I drove my scooter again through all of the grass and tree roots and sat at a look out spot by the lake. We spotted an alligator right away. He was way in the middle of the lake. He was small. Maybe 3 feet long. I wanted him to come closer. I even sang him a come a little closer alligator song to see if I spoke alligator as well as I spoke owl. NEVER SING TO ALLIGATORS! Here is the little guy:
Here he is. My husband took this photo. All the other photos taken by me.
The tiny alligator started swimming fast as the massive alligator was headed straight for him. There was a pursuit. All of a sudden there was this huge splash and I thought the big alligator had eaten the little alligator. I turned on my video and videoed the big alligator for 11 seconds. That is how long it took the little alligator who I’d sung my come a little closer song to to get right to me! He jumped up, I believe saw me and scared himself away not before I screamed and the two people that were there next to us ran. I thought oh my gosh I’m going to throw up. I was so busy looking at the big alligator way out in the lake that I did not even see the little one come up. Little alligators are JUST as scary as big alligators. So I thought. Here is the video of my filming the big alligator. And then me screaming as the little alligator jumped up but you can’t see him. Lots of alligator drama.
It seems that the big alligator was trying to scare the little one away because he thought someone may feed him and he wanted the food. This spot I was sitting in must be a spot that someone has been feeding these alligators because that big alligator came right up within I’d say 2 feet of me. He was very scary looking. Looking into an alligator’s eye is very different than looking into an owl’s eye!!! My husband had me move back after I took a picture of him. I looked at him though. I have a tight feeling in my chest just writing the thoughts I have when I look at how close he came to me. And I felt NOTHING. In fact later in the car I laughed at the entire scenario.
This is the part I realize my fight or flight is broken. I can smell a smell, have a trigger, and feel 1000 times more than I did when the little alligator scared me and I screamed or when the massive alligator came right up to me. Here is the alligator that then swam up to me. You can see my shoes and the distance he was away.
There was a man that was standing with a woman who was going to throw something out at the alligator so that the body of the alligator was more visible. I said (which I am very proud I used my voice which is rare), don’t do that because if he jumps up here I cannot run AKA muscle disease AKA scooter right there. They left. This man had said a few insulting comments about natural selection and basically if the alligator got me it would just be part of natural selection. Even to a stranger I was disposable. I wish I could go back and throat punch him. He was a pompous know it all asshole that really did need a throat punch. I’m glad I didn’t let him ruin our experience. I’m glad neither alligator mauled me either in hindsight!
Alligator has been seen CHECK! I NEVER EVER WANT TO SEE ANOTHER ALLIGATOR AGAIN. But we went on an adventure! We set our intention to see an alligator and we were NOT disappointed that is for sure. Most excitement I’ve had in years. For that one moment that I screamed I felt normal. Like this is what fear is supposed to do. Something scares you , you scream, then you deactivate, calm down, and are ok again. But that big alligator…fight or flight broken!!!
We had quite the adventure. I’m not dwelling on my fight or flight. Just being aware of it and how it is absolutely haywire enough for me to not feel the need to get up and run away at an alligator at my feet.
Oh and again: never sing to an alligator to come over closer because apparently I DO speak alligator!