The Little Amazonian
My book is titled “The Little Amazonian” and it will be published in the fall. My ex-husband thought my life story was very interesting and compelling. I don’t know about all that; but I have had an interesting life full of ups and downs. More importantly to myself is that there are a lot of life lessons that other women and girls can learn from my life. I am a social caseworker that advocates for children in low-income families, often with only mothers. I see and hear the plight of women and wonder why? Why can’t they do better for themselves and how did they end up in their situation.
Often these women are the victims of their apathy, lack of confidence, and they spend a lot of time looking for a man to cling to. Very often these women are victims of childhood incest, rape, drug abuse, abusive relationships, or their own mal-adaptive and destructive behavior. These past experiences start to become a crutch, an excuse, to justify their station in life. What they lack is the “warrior” mind-set. They don’t have the will power to perceive and overcome the obstacles in their way; they become mired in status quo. My ex husband usually told me: “Never look at a bad situation as a problem to solve. Look at a bad situation as challenge to be met and overcome on your journey to greatness!” When you look at it that way, you are poised to attack like a Tiger; rather than poised to run like a Gazelle.
It reminds me of the axiom: In Africa, every morning a gazelle awakens knowing that it must outrun the fast lion if it wants to stay alive. Every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It makes no difference whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you better be running!
Some may wonder what makes my life so different or inspiring. First, I will say my life was bittersweet. It was tragedy and exultation. I was born and raised in a jungle. I hunted for food with a bow and arrow, speared fish underwater in the recesses of the banks of the Chagres River, and collected fruit and plants from the jungle to feed my family of twelve brothers and sisters. I lived in a Penca, a hut with only thatched roof made of palm leaves and elevated floor with no walls, where we huddled at night side by side to stay warm. We would awaken in the morning with bloody legs and feet from where we were bitten by vampire bats as we slept. Those, believe it or not, were the heavenly days.
Some of my fondest memories are from my days as a little girl living in the jungle. My father owned a mare that foaled a colt that I named Potro, which means “Mustang” in Spanish. When I was eight years old and Potro was a fully-grown stallion I asked my father if I could have Potro for myself. He warned me that the horse was strong and dangerous and I was much too tiny to tame him. I was merely 4.5 feet tall and 80 lbs. I pleaded with him until he reluctantly granted my wish with the following caveat: I must tame the horse myself and take care of it. He was now my sole responsibility.
I remember leading Potro to the Chagres River where I walked him until he was shoulder deep in water. I mounted him and repeatedly he bucked me off into the river. Not put off by his power, I continued to mount him for the next four hours until he was too exhausted to continue to rebel. Finally, I exited the river on his back, bareback, with his mane in hand. I conquered Potro and he was mine at last. We rode the jungles and raced the occasional truck that bobbled down the muddy roads that brought us widespread notoriety. We became inseparable and I was the only one that could ride him. I was his mistress and he was my best friend.
The days, and nights, of hell were punctuated by horrible experiences that linger in the dark recesses of my mind. Without going into too much detail here, I will only say that I know first hand what it is like to live through scrounging for food and money, pedophilia, rape, gang rapes, murder, death and near death experiences like my brain tumor, internal hemorrhaging, knife fights, and facing an imminent threat with an assault rifle! I have experienced enough hell on earth that I should be guaranteed a penthouse suite in heaven.