That Little Voice Inside Your Head

30 Jan

Last week I was watching the Today Show and they featured a well-spoken young woman who made a terrible decision. Anna Beninati, a college student, decided to hop a train. According to the interview, it was something she and her friends had done many times before. But this night as she was running, a little voice went off in her head. Anna said, “I had one last fleeting thought of I shouldn’t be doing this. But it was like by then it was too late. I was running so fast, reaching for the train. So I just went.”

So Anna jumped and the consequences were tragic. “I remember looking down at my leg dragging on the ground, looking at the wheel and how fast they were going. I remember looking down there and thinking, oh, my God, what have I done?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this remarkable woman since I saw the interview. The accident–which happened in September–left her a double amputee, yet she seems to be moving forward with optimism and a tremendous energy. I wish her well.

I’ve been thinking about her message. Near the end of the interview, she told Ann Curry:

I had a clear feeling for several minutes before I even ran for the train just thinking, you know, something tells me I’m not going to get on that train. Something tells me this is going to go badly. This is not a good idea. I don’t feel right about it. I figured, I’m a teenager. I’m just being stupid. I can do this. I went for it anyway. I’m paying for it…

…Follow your gut. If you get that feeling something’s not right no matter what the situation is, you’re walking home by yourself at night, you’re about to text and drive, get behind the wheel of a car and you have had alcohol, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

I’ve been thinking about that little voice inside my head. Oh, I know I have one. Actually, it rarely shuts up. By nature I’m a worrier so I tend to over think most thinks. One particular incident comes to mind. It wasn’t exactly a warning, but perhaps a premonition of sorts. Isn’t that what Anna felt? A premonition that this wasn’t going to go well. One night when I was newly married, I was out with my husband and I had a really bad feeling something was going to happen to my family and I wondered how my parents would be able to deal with it. Maybe the thought entered my mind because the roads were icy that night. I don’t know. But the next morning, I received a phone call from my mom that my sister had fallen ill. That was the first day of a very long journey through cancer.

My other sister is very big on dreams. Are they another subconscious voice in our head? She called me once and said she had a dream that I was pregnant and expecting a girl. Later that day, I took a pregnancy test. Yep, I was pregnant with my third child (and my first daughter). I suppose you could dismiss the dream. I was just starting my family so it wasn’t a big leap for my sister to have a dream about me being pregnant. Or is there something more at work here?

What about the young Australian woman who bungee jumped from the bridge in Africa only to have the cord snap and drop her into the Zambezi River ? Did a little voice whisper in her head, “This isn’t such a good idea.” Did another voice argue, “But you’ve come this far. If you back out now…”

The idea of this fascinates me. Is this little voice a survival mechanism? Or are they just obvious last minute thoughts of someone about to do something very dangerous? Do cautious people listen to it more?

Do you  have a little voice in your head? Have you ever changed a course of action because of that voice or a bad feeling? I’d love to hear about it.

I hope my kids pay attention to that little voice, it may serve them well. If not, I hope they hear mine: “Do you really think that’s such a good idea?”

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6 Responses to “That Little Voice Inside Your Head”

  1. jesstopper January 31, 2012 at 4:21 am #

    Your post gave me chills, Allison. I am not superstitious but I do believe in gut instincts and signs (good or bad).

    • Alison Stone February 2, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      Following our instincts is a good thing. Whenever I go against mine, I’m usually sorry.

  2. thejoysofwriting February 2, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    I absolutely believe in that little voice – which is why I guess I write YA paranormal. Several times my ‘little voice’ has told me something that was going to happen before it did. Please don’t think I’m weird. Well, maybe a bit weird, but definitely not psycho. 🙂 Once, while on a trip out of town, I kept thinking something was going on with my house (that I recently purchased). I just couldn’t shake the feeling. When I arrived home, my front door was wide open. After eliciting the help of a big, strong neighbor, we found the house empty, but it smelled like 10 packs of cigarettes were smoked in there while somebody checked out my stuff. I always listen to my ‘little voice.’

    • Alison Stone February 2, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      No, you’re not weird. 🙂 It must be our internal alarm system. I would be nervous if I came home to find my front door open. Actually, on Saturday, I came home to find my garage door open. After doing a quick check of the house and garage, I determined that I just forgot to shut it. Glad your chain-smoking visitor was gone when you go home.

  3. Jill Kemerer February 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I DO listen to the voice in my head. It’s always right. When I debated returning to a college far away for my sophomore year, I actually heard a scream! I enrolled in a local community college right away and never regretted it. 🙂

    • Alison Stone February 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      Jill, I just hope my kids learn to listen to that voice, too. Thanks for stopping by.

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