Fear

Given that it’s Halloween, which according to Wikipedia, Halloween is a celebration dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. I think tradition says you’re suppose to dress up to scare away spooks but I’m not really a fan of dressing up.  So instead, I’ll just tell you about my three biggest fears in life.

Fear #1:  Snakes.  Since I was a little girl, I’ve been afraid of snakes.  Seeing a snake in the field, on tv, in the zoo, my heart stops and I hold my breath until I can determine how I should react which is usually run as fast as I can in the opposite direction screaming like a little girl.  I even remember I nightmare I had as a kid about a giant snake in my backyard trying to get me, I woke up screaming and my parents running in my room.

Once upon time in my early adult life, I was an animal caretaker for the University of Memphis.  My initial role was to feed and monitor the catfish that the biology researchers were raising.  Coincidently, the catfish tanks were on our south campus which used to be a former military hospital and the catfish were in the ‘morgue’.  I had no problem walking into this ancient building rumored to house ghosts of veterans of the war. Since I was doing so well at taking care of the catfish,  my manager decided I would be the backup person for the research snakes.  I remember crying to my dad the night before I was to be trained saying I can’t do it. I just can’t.  I can’t make myself walk in that room with all those snakes.  Thinking about all those snakes is actually making my blood pressure rise at this very moment.  I ended up being trained, I didn’t die, I didn’t run.  I was professional.  Luckily, though I got moved to take care of the monkeys on campus and never had to go into that room full of snakes again.  (And just so you know, the monkeys were in the psychology department – I think the main research was determining if they right handed or left handed)

In addition to the campus job, I was an animal care taker for the Pink Palace Museum.  (Both jobs were while I was getting my undergrad degree.) Funny, most people don’t even realize the museum has snakes or other live animals, but they do.  The museum staff uses them for educational programs.  Anyways, the museum had two snakes.  A corn snake named Corn (I mean, what else do you name a corn snake) and an 8 foot boa named Slopoke.  I became friends with Corn an would wrap him around my waist like a belt while I tended to the other animals.  I felt like we were friends. Slopoke was ok but he had a yawning problem.  There were times I brought him out of his cage and sat on the counter and until I had the courage to clean his cage and put him back in.  Once when I was standing next to him, he opened his mouth right by my foot and I thought I was going to die.  He didn’t bite me, probably never even thought about biting me, he just yawned. Afterwards, I might have run out of the room afterwards…I don’t know.  I’ve blocked it out.

So I have a real fear of snakes.  I saw this at the store one time but the hubby wouldn’t let me buy any.  Personally, I think it would be good to spread around the perimeter of our 5 acres just in case.  (Oh and Western Washington doesn’t have poisonous snakes…but to me a snake is a snake)

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Fear #2: Sharks.  Ok, so yes my first fear was an animal and my second fear is also an animal.  But in my defense, both could very easily kill me or harm me in some way (or someone I love).

Have you seen Jaws?  It’s probably one of my favorite movies but it ruined me for getting in the water.  I know, not that great of a movie but I still love watching it over and over.  I’ve finally gotten to a point that when the hubby and I go snorkeling, I don’t hear the Jaws song when I put my head under water. I’ll call that progress.  However, I’m constantly looking around for something that will eat all these little fish surrounding us.

I love to go boogie boarding.  We have a couple of great places in Hawaii, beautiful places with big waves.  I often end up getting so scared of the possibility of getting bitten by a shark, I just sit on the beach watching everyone else.  I just don’t feel comfortable, I can’t see what’s behind me or below me.

This past Friday, when I was watching the Today Show, they showed this story…http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/10-year-old-boy-attacked-shark-i-just-started-kicking-n454286…probably won’t go boggie boarding ever again.

I will say if I see a shark and if he decides to attack me, my plan is to punch him in the nose.  Apparently, that’s what your supposed to do.  Although, I think you need to be very careful to not miss his nose and put you hand right through his jaws. That could be bad.

Fear #3: Failure.  I guess you thought it might be another animal but, no.  The thing that gives me most of my anxiety is failing.  I think about the possibility of failing every day. Failing at what you ask?  Failing at anything, everything.  Failing to finish a race, failing at my marriage, failing at work, failing at not being a good person. You name it, I worry about failing.  Truth is I know I’ve failed before and I know I’ll fail again.  It’s life.  But I’m learning how to deal with this fear.  I’m learning that every day I’m trying to be the best person I can be.  I’ll learn from my failures and move on.  My failures will make me stronger and some day I’ll laugh at whatever I’ve failed at in the past.

What are you afraid of?  Share in the comments of this blog post and share how you deal with your fear – I’m genuinely curious how others deal with failure.

 

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