The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
EPISODE SEVENTY FIVE: I’m Scared! Why? I Don’t Know…
Are you scared of something? I mean, really scared of something?
Do you have a phobia?
I’m scared of millipedes, centipedes, and death.
Death is self-explanatory. But why millipedes and centipedes?
Just writing the names of those creatures gives me the willies. It’s even hard to say them out loud without getting the shivers. The mere sight of them causes me to want to run the other way slapping at my skin as if they are crawling all over me.
(as I typed that, I had a fit)
The really question is ‘why’. Why do I have a phobia about them?
I’ve seen a millipede in real life and the day I saw it, when I was younger, it was just creepy. But I wasn’t scared of it. And the only time I’ve seen a centipede was on a nature channel, in the opening of some of the past seasons of the Walking Dead and…..that’s it.
And neither one has crawled up my leg or crawled across my skin in any way. I’ve never been surprised by one when I turned on the light and I’ve never had a family member disfigured or killed by one.
It’s obvious, isn’t it. It’s a mental thing. I see something that creeped me out enough and it became a phobia.
That’s all that was to it.
I use to be afraid of spiders because my dad was and still afraid of spiders. If this man, my hero, is scared to death of them, then maybe I should, too. So, whenever I saw one, I’d freak out. I’d have a little fit and try and kill it. If not, I’d run away. There wasn’t a spider I liked. None.
Until one day, I decided I wanted to be over it. I knew a guy who ran his own pet store. So, I drove there and asked him for a favor. He sold big tarantulas. I told him my quest and asked him if he would take one out and put it on my arm. I also said to stand close to grab it in case I went into a crazy, shaking my body parts, having a fit, etc..
He did as I asked. I went and got the biggest one he had. A big female. And after a deep breath and a head nod in his direction, he put her on my arm.
I felt the weight. I felt the little hairs on its legs rub against my bare, unprotected arm flesh.
I felt it start to move up my arm toward my head.
I did have a moment of flight response but…..it went away. I looked down at the female tarantula creeping up my arm and realized…this was nothing. I smiled.
It almost looked like she smiled back.
Before I left, I had played with her, I let her walk across from one hand to another, up one arm and down the other. I even had him put her on my back so I could pretend I was Indiana Jones from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
And I walked out of that store without that phobia.
I told my dad what I did and he just looked at me as if I told him I just played inside the mouth of a huge crocodile.
Most people have these kinds of phobias. They are all made up in there heads and they just build them up higher and higher over time. It’s almost as if it’s just something to have.
Of course, there are people who develop phobias under more realistic means. People who are afraid to fly because of being involved in a plane crash. People who are afraid of being out at night by themselves because of being mugged or worse.
Those kinds of phobias are more legitimate.
I should have a phobia about bees. I mean, I did. Bees, wasps, hornets, anything that looked like one of these. If I saw one close, I was gone in the other direction. Bye-bye.
And here’s why…
When I was a kid (that phrase gets said a lot around this blog), I was in the backyard while my dad mowed it. A few weeks before, he had hollowed out a dried gourd. Then he had placed it in a tall, skinny tree in the backyard for birds to nest in.
As my dad mowed, I thought about that gourd and wondered what birds might be nesting in there. So, using all my strength, I shook the tree. I did it twice, as hard as I could.
I looked up. No birds.
But a sound arose in the air. I heard it over the lawnmower my dad was pushing. It was a low hum.
And it was getting louder.
Suddenly there was a intense pain in my shoulder. Then another. Then another.
Bees. Hundreds of big black and yellow bumble bees were all over me. I was swatting at them in the air.
I felt my dad grab me and haul me to the door of the garage. All this time I’m getting stung. As he got us in and shut the door, bumble bees were hitting against the glass of the screen door. A few had come in with us but they must have already nailed me with their stingers. They flew around aimless later to be found on the floor, dead.
I was a crying siren of a kid. I went in and my mom pulled out all the the stingers. She put them all on the table where she sat and we counted them. I had been stung over forty times in my shoulders, neck, and back. My dad didn’t get stung one time. They knew who they were hunting.
I think back on that often and think about how close to death I could have been. If I had been allergic, that would have been my last day on Earth. Gone. Out of here.
Later on, my dad closed the hole of the gourd with a cloth soaked in ether, cut it down from the tree, took it to the driveway, dossed it in gasoline and let me throw the match.
It may seem cruel now but it was good old fashion revenge at that moment.
I developed a phobia of bees. And wasps. And hornets. The whole lot. I’d scream if I saw one flying past me.
It took me a long time to get over it. It started with accepting honeybees and getting as close as I dared to them. They never stung me. I made peace with them first.
To me, that is a legitimate phobia.
Why do we develop phobias over nothing? Why do we allow our minds to work over-time to help hatch these fears?
There are people who fear snakes but have never seen one in the wild or even touched one. There are people who fear deep water but never have been in deep water or have never come close to drowning.
People who are afraid of the dark but closes their eyes at night to go to sleep. It goes on and on.
Is it we want something to be afraid of? Do we want something to fear to keep us cautious?
I’m sure there are books upon books that describe irrational fears and why those fears become phobias when they aren’t really warranted.
You better read one if you want to know. I have no idea.
You can overcome them. It takes a rational way of thinking about whatever you’re scared of.
I hope one day, I’ll be able to overcome my fear of death. I mean, it’s going to happen to us all, sooner or later.
Maybe one day I’ll find peace with the thought of it.
Millipedes and centipedes? Nope. Not on your life. If I see one, I’m running far away. And you better not be in my way.
July 7th 2017
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.