Survivalist Stories: Me Woman. Me Make Fire.

What is it about being young that you think it’s fun to do dangerous, risky things? As children, the unknown is such a lure…and as we get older, it becomes such a liability. 

My brothers and I used to dare each other to grab the cattle fence, making sure to close our fingers around it to complete the circuit and feel the thrill of the current running through us but not shocking us. Inevitably one of us would fail, and the ground shock would hit us. I used to think I could feel it in my heart.

I’ve hated getting shocked ever since then. Almost a phobia. I once ran a Tough Mudder obstacle course. The goal was to physically drain you and challenge your fears and phobias through a series of intense challenges. One of which was an electric shock. I managed to complete them all without getting zapped, most likely because I was in hyper speed and focus propelled by sheer terror. 

This week, in the old house I’m renovating for an Airbnb, I had to take an old two-prong electrical outlet and make it a three-prong grounded outlet. This is a simple task…or should be. But it strikes fear in my soul and feels completely overwhelming.

This fear and overwhelm is an indicator to my inner survivalist woman that I am vulnerable and therefore at risk in this area…and she starts asking questions. What are your resources? Why is this creating such strong feelings? Do you have enough knowledge? Are your fears valid? What is the worst that can happen? Are there preventive measures you can take to overcome? I know… that’s a lot of work. I can’t help it. It comes from that little girl raised in the deep woods and in isolation, learning that life depends on resources, preparation, and ability. She’s a part of me, and I have accepted her. I use her actually to get all sorts of things done. She knows that most of the things I fear are due to lack of exposure. 

Heather Anne, survivalist woman.

What are you avoiding?

You may not have an ingrained survivalist woman but avoiding things because of fear and lack of exposure is true for so many things in life. Maybe you’ve wanted to try your hand in the great outdoors. Or thought about a different, simpler way of life. Perhaps you could see yourself packing up your Stout Tent and living off-grid, or you’d like to learn how to homestead. Maybe, you are burned out and tired in your career, but you don’t know anything else, and everything seems unfamiliar and scary. Or maybe you’re standing in your mudroom with a grounded outlet in your hand, needing to get a washing machine to run…

Whatever it is you’ve been faced with, basic survival skills can translate well to practical application. Here are two questions I ask myself in survival situations all the time.

1. What are my resources?

The first thing I do in a situation of survival is to take stock of what I have. Sometimes, it can take creativity to see something as a resource. Sometimes resources can be used for things they were not originally intended for. It’s important that you really stretch your creativity so as not to limit your resources. 

2. How can I increase my knowledge? 

Knowledge is power. Power to do. Don’t know how to do something? Literally, the only difference between you and the person who does is learning. These days it’s tough to make a valid excuse for not having the information for something. We are saturated with platforms for learning just about anything. In the case of the electrical drama, I used YouTube and the cute little old man at Home Depot to increase my knowledge. 

The last thing left is probably one of the greatest keys to survival. Believe you can, and then just do it! It doesn’t mean you’ll get it right the first time. Maybe you’ll make some mistakes, maybe you’ll be humbled, perhaps you’ll fail a few times. But every attempt brings learning and exposure. 

Survivalist woman

I followed all the steps I saw on YouTube for installing a grounded outlet. I had clarified everything with sweet old Eddy in Home Depot that morning. I carefully turning off the entire main breaker of the house… I matched my hots, neutral, and ground to the correct connection points, wrapped the whole thing in electrical tape to not ground the metal box, and turned on the breaker. 

I held my breath when I plugged that thing in. And when I hit the start button on the washer, and it lit up like a Christmas tree, I think I felt a little like the first caveman who crashed two rocks together and made fire…Me woman…Me make fire! 

And you human…you make anything. Go live that life. Don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Tap into that inner survivalist who has the resources already in place to do it. You’ve got this. 

Heather Anne was raised an adventurer, off-grid in the backwoods of Montana. Today, she is a mother to twin girls and an enthusiastic survivalist, passionate about sharing her unique skill-set with the world. Heather believes wholeheartedly in community and in living simply. She seeks to bring awareness to the importance of skill sharing and the bounty of nature over modern disconnection and consumerism. She now lives in Michigan, where she teaches at a nature based forest school and lives full-time in a Stout Tent 5M Ultimate. Her next adventure is to run the Pacific Northwest Trail which spans 1200 miles through the wilderness, high desert, and coastline. Follow her on Instagram.

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