I have just been signposted to the Government’s stay safe advice in the threat of armed terrorist attack.
In a nutshell, run, hide, tell.
Run away, if that option exists without risking further danger to yourself
Hide somewhere if you can’t run
Tell someone official where the threat is
I don’t seek to disparage what might be necessary advice to keep me and others safe, but I was immediately transported back to the age of six.
I was in a field at the back of my house playing hide and seek with some friends. As the seeker I held my hands over my eyes whilst my playmates ran to their hastily identified hiding place. Like most six year olds, I peeked through my fingers. Only peeked mind, because if they could see my eyes they would know I was looking. My friends ran, randomly. No plan of where to hide, just run away from the seeker as quickly as possible and then, once a safe distance away, look for somewhere safe to hide. As seeker we would prowl the area, hastily darting between the same places they hid last time and the time before. Always looking for a shoddily concealed arm, or a careless toe, peeking out from the impromptu hiding place. Then we would tell. Shout out where they were, or run back ‘home’ to declare them found.
I was struck by the transportation of those skills the child in us takes into adulthood.
Running. Running from difficulty. From inner truths. From facing ourselves. Running from others. From uncomfortable situations. Running from feelings. From inner voices. From fears.
Hiding. Assuming that if I don’t look at you, you can’t see me. We do this all the time. Not literally. Not peeking through slitted fingers. But not showing our true selves, for fear of being truly seen.
Telling. Seeing a part of someone, like the carelessly exposed arm or toe from the child’s game, but as adults seeing one action, one behaviour, one socio-economic or cultural badge, one gender or sexual preference and ‘telling’ others who that person is or where they are hiding. Judging. Exposing them.
Run, Hide, Tell.
Safety in the face of terrorism.
Safety in the very humanness of our humanity.