In the year 2013, I found myself in front of the TV almost every weekday from 5pm until 6pm to watch “World’s Deadliest Animals” on “Nat Geo Wild”
They would select 10 animals per episode and there would be a countdown… there could be snakes, spiders, scorpions, stingrays and other sea creatures I had no idea existed… like a mantis shrimp – and they would give a breakdown of the toxicity of the venom and also how powerful the jaws of the shark or the clubs of the mantis shrimp were.
The narrator always gave the impression that whatever creature was on the screen, “is more scared of you than you are of it.”
I cannot say the same for sharks. I am pretty sure that they are just looking for lunch when they attack us, no fear there at all, but with the creepy-crawlies like scorpions, spiders, and even snakes, they attack when they feel threatened. That gave me comfort because I figured that if I do not alarm the critters they will not attack me. The first thing I do when I stumble upon snakes and the like is – not panic. I step a reasonable distance away from them and keep them in sight while I calmly tell everyone around me that there is something dangerous on the loose.
I remember sometime in 2016 our bathroom light wasn’t working so at night we’d rely on solar lamps. One night I wasn’t particularly bothered about a light so I went to the loo without one, I used to tie my hair with shoelace strings (who am I kidding? I still do) so when I found what looked like a shoelace string in the poorly lit bathroom – I reached for it to pick it up.
The shoelace was moving.
The shoelace was a snake. A baby brown house snake (it is a mystery how it got into the house) luckily, they are non-venomous – that, and my National Geographic Knowledge contributed to me not making that much of a fuss. “It’s more scared of me than I am of it.”
I stepped out of the bathroom and called to my family members and reported that I’d found a snake and that it is pretty much harmless… the story will end there lest EMA comes knocking at our gate.
When you bump into anything potentially dangerous like a spider, snake, etc. Do not panic, do not aggravate it, it is already scared
and is likely to attack when provoked.
I then looked at how this may relate to people. Sometimes we attack people, not based on anything concrete but because we feel threatened by them, so while they are soaring and we are unsatisfied with an aspect of our lives, we bite and sting them to bring them down. I have been on the giving end and the receiving end, I have acted like a snake and I have been an unsuspecting human who got bitten by one.
To the aggressor: understand that not everyone is out to get you, it is not everyone interested in one-upping you. Work through your insecurities and prejudices, do not lash out and become defensive all the time. Remember that in you attacking people it says lot more about you than it does them, essentially you are showing the world that you are a coward. You can change your ways though, you can choose to be different and play a different role in the ecosystem.
To the person who has been stung or bitten: the battle and burden were never yours, someone was at war with themselves and you got caught in the crossfire. Does that eliminate the fact that you are in pain? Not a chance. Remember some attacks are not really about you.
There is no avoiding some of these attacks, the same way there’s no way you would have seen this snake coming.
People do not have, “I am threatened by you” written on their foreheads so there is no way we can “act accordingly” and make sure we do not alarm them with our mere existence. It is impractical.
If there’s anything you learn from this let it be that the most dangerous people are those who feel threatened by you because they will do their best to eliminate the perceived threat to gain a semblance of security.
Just a subtle reminder, we have all shapeshifted from one form to the other at different points in our lives, so humility is a must.