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#Microblog Mondays: I tell you a story about my trust issues

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

One of the things Olivia and I did whenever it was nice out during the day was go on walks. We’re lucky that we live by so many parks, three within walking distance, and two of those only a block away. One of the parks, the prettiest and most serene, has a trail that disappears into the woods after the playground. 

On an afternoon in October, I had Olivia in the stroller and we had just turned off the main road into the park where the trail joined the street. I did a quick scan of the empty playground and didn’t see anyone. 

I was walking alongside the park when I saw him.

He was sitting under the little pavilion between the woods and the playground. A nicely dressed man, maybe mid-forties. He had dark features, probably Middle-Eastern descent. He was looking at his phone, sitting down at the picnic table.

I was watching him out of the corner of my eye (luckily I had sunglasses on), suddenly wondering if I should keep going.

Then he looked at me. He watched me the entire time I walked past him. And then he stood up, glanced out toward the road-

-and stepped toward me.

I looked ahead and saw my normally serene walking trail into the woods quite differently at that point. I saw a secluded place, dark and even a little scary.

I didn’t care how I looked. I stopped at the trash can, pretended to throw something away, turned the stroller around and started walking out to the road.

And he changed direction and turned around with me, walking alongside me, about 100 feet between us, him looking down at his phone while he walked and me staring straight ahead.

I turned the corner with the stroller, onto the sidewalk leading away from where I lived. As I walked down the sidewalk, I looked at my screen on my phone, at the reflection behind me. He had turned the same corner.

I reached the intersecting road, which was a little more populated and turned left, bringing myself further from home.

If he still is behind me when I reach the busy road (about quarter mile stretch) I’m calling the police. 

Halfway down the road, he turned off into another walking path.



Was I a complete nut job? Maybe.

It was quite possible that he was simply hanging out at a playground, maybe on a lunch break, and happened to notice the time: I better get home and get back to the grind. Maybe my appearance was entirely coincidental.

But that’s not what my gut was telling me.

And to be honest (you know, since I was clearly out of any danger, real or imagined) it made me mad. Because if I was a man, I would have plowed down that trail without a second thought.

But I am a woman. With a baby. And that’s such an eye roll, but it’s reality.

I know I’m a very cautious person. My heart beats a little faster when I’m alone walking past a group of men. I don’t allow strangers into my house (for repairs, deliveries, etc.) without Chris being there. And when I see a man alone in a park at the entrance to a secluded trail, I will turn around and walk right out.

Is it entirely unfair? Yes.

I’ve since been down the path again with Olivia, always checking the area and I haven’t had any more issues. Luckily.

Are you like me? Are you the crazy awkward one turning tail from a perceived danger, or does it not bother you?

You can find more of this week’s #MicroblogMondays posts by clicking here.

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Lindsay
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If I meet a woman who doesn't live like this, I'd be shocked. I am listening to a podcast about the Boston strangler from the 60s, and they talk to a researcher who describes this fear of violence as a form of terrorism for women. If you're terrified about something happening and you change your life as a result – in terms of where you live, the company you keep, your actions and what you do/don't do – that's a form of terrorism. And it's likely one most men won't experience because of the more likely form of violence against… Read more »

Amie
Guest

Girl you should be that way these days ya know, you have to be. Especially with our little ones I feel like we should take extra precautions. I just wouldn't want to take a chance and have something happen then look back and wished I would have listened to my instincts and turned around. I hate that we have to be that way though.

https://differentshoresblog.wordpress.com/
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This is normal in isolated, empty places: I think everyone feels this frisson of anxiety. We hear endless reports of violence and murder (against women) so I think we're conditioned to be fearful. As Amie says, probably best not to take chances these days

Cristy
Guest

Without a doubt, I would have done the same thing. Yes it's unfair to judge, but I'd rather be on edge than be on the news. Your gut is telling you something for a reason. Never apologize for that. Because there's too much to lose otherwise. On that note, I completely understand why you're angry. In a perfect world, this should be a nonissue. Yet we live in a world where people do prey on others. They are cowards for doing so, yet we need to protect ourselves and those we love. So I commend you for cutting your walk… Read more »

Amber
Guest

Yes! I would have done the same thing. Last year, I did a few Mommy walks with some ladies here in town. There's a perfect side road that runs parallel to the highway and loops around back through town. I once did the same walk but by myself. It was so creepy and terrifying! I've never gone that route again by myself because it's so secluded and surrounded by trees that anyone could be camped out in. We have a rather high homeless population around here and I'm pretty sure there are some camped out on that route, but far… Read more »

ourgreatestdesire
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I would have totally done the same thing. I'm super paranoid about things like this. I think better safe than sorry and I'm glad you and Olivia are okay!

pdot95
Guest

I would have totally done the same thing! I'm super paranoid about things like this and I'm so happy you and Olivia are okay!!!

Modern Gypsy
Guest

I would have done the same thing! It's so sad that we need to be so damn cautious all the time as women, but that's the sad reality of it. Best to listen to your gut and be safe I say!

Lollipop Goldstein
Guest

I think every woman has a story like this, and I think your gut is your best tool for keeping safe. Your subconscious picks up on clues that your rational, conscious brain does not. So… I would always do what feels right over what is rational in situations like that.

Traci York
Guest

Adding my voice to the chorus of, "Me too!" Any time my gut tells me there's danger, I listen, even if I feel awkward about it. And while I agree a man probably would've plowed ahead without thinking twice, hubby and I have made a point of teaching all three of our kidlets (two girls and a boy – now 16, 19, and 21) to be aware of their surroundings at all times when out in public. I feel you can never be too careful!

Glad to hear you and your little one are okay!

Simple Life Dreamer
Guest

completely agree with everyone above, we have gut instincts for a very real reason!! Glad nothing happened. 🙂

Kami Singh-Gocool
Guest

Better safe than sorry I always say, you should never doubt yourself or instincts! Not in this day and age anyway.

Callie K
Guest

I completely agree with every one above as well. Although I don't have children, I am always super cautious when I'm walking, hiking, jogging alone. Although I do have my CCW, and am usually carrying, I don't WANT to have to use it.

Alica
Guest

I would've felt the same. You're not alone in those thoughts!

HeatherJost
Guest

I probably should be more careful when I'm walking around, but my heart definitely beats faster when I am not with anyone and there is a stranger nearby! It's hard to not have stories of other tragedies in mind when we're alone…

Jess
Guest

Trust your Spidey sense! You may feel crazy, but better crazy than something far worse. I am super paranoid when it comes to walking paths or if I feel I am being followed in any way. We live in a crap world where bad things happen, and they are more likely to happen if you aren't aware of your surroundings and paying attention. I hate that when I'm in a parking lot or parking garage, I have my keys in my hand and lock the doors as soon as I get in…justincase. But better to seem overly cautious than to… Read more »

Crystal
Guest

I don't think you were being paranoid. I would have made the same decision! I have become even more aware/sensitive since having kids. Having the responsibility to keep them safe takes it up a notch! I also keep my keys next to my bed when my husband is away overnight – I read a tip about doing this in case of a break-in. You can hit the panic button on your key fob to set off the alarm on your car to attract your neighbors' attention.