Not so fearless after all

Hi all!  Please excuse the following shameless promotion before I return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.  You can now also find my work on the new writing and photography website The Ten Three: it’s a fresh take on the idea that a picture is worth one thousand words and the site just launched yesterday.  There’s a lot of great work and collaboration between writers and photographers.  My first essay premiered today and it’s a bit more serious and personal than my writing here, so feel free to check it out for a change of pace!  Any and all feedback is much appreciated.

I am afraid of everything.  Sometimes it amazes me that I am able to get through an entire day without having a fear-induced heart attack.  A combination of an overactive imagination and being highly -caffeinated puts me in constant distress.

I’m dog-sitting again this week and last night I could not get myself to go to sleep.  I was convinced that while I was walking the dog, a bald man had snuck into the house and was waiting in the shower to kill me.  And I checked the shower 17 times.  But I was still convinced he was there, lurking.

Growing up I had weird nightmares and I think that’s what is continuing to cripple me at the ripe old age of 22.  One involved a boxing match with a giant kangaroo and that’s the number one reason I have not yet traveled to Australia.

The worst nightmare I ever had was about Jafar.  Yes, the Disney villain.  I was about 6 years old and in the dream, my mom and I were driving somewhere in the old blue minivan.  We pulled up to the Sultan’s castle since our errands had somehow taken us to Agrabah.  My mom pulled into a space, and suddenly, the palace guards (in animated form) came to take her away.  I hid in the backseat, too cowardly to save my mom.

I finally worked up the courage to venture into the castle to rescue her.  I made my way up several spiral staircases before coming to a huge wooden door.  I knocked nervously and an eerie voice told me to come in.

Sitting in a throne behind a huge desk was Jafar.  He glared down at me and I felt all the color drain out of my face.  He asked me what I wanted and I stammered that I was looking for my mother.

He laughed maniacally and told me he was using her for an experiment.  I begged to see her and he told me to go to the back garden.

I ran down the stairs and out the back where I found my mom, a boy, a girl, and the guards.  They had a weird sort of dart-shooter set-up and were going to shoot a dart full of an experimental substance into each person’s arm.  They told me I had to shoot the dart at my mom and at first I refused.  But my mom told me it was okay, so I stepped up to the machine.  When the guards weren’t looking, I switched the dart so it was backwards and wouldn’t pierce my mother’s skin.

The guards caught me and grabbed me.  I screamed and started crying hysterically as they shoved me away.  The biggest guard took the machine, switched the dart back, and shot it into my mom’s arm.

I woke up crying and ran into my parent’s bedroom.  I grabbed my mom’s left arm and rolled up her sleeve to see if there was a mark.  Luckily there wasn’t, but since I was still convinced Jafar was after us, I spent the rest of the night sleeping on the floor by her side like a guard dog.

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Girl vs bug

I hate insects.  They are creepy and crawly and not something I want to deal with.  But for some reason, I am constantly at odds with these tiny creatures.

There is currently a stink bug flying around my living room.  My flyswatter is no where to be found.  I am a tiny person and can not reach him from his ceiling perch.  I have covered myself in bug spray and now it’s a waiting game.  In the meantime, I will share my most harrowing bug-related experiences.

 

When I was 14, I was a very in-demand babysitter.  I’ve always been good with kids (since I act like one) and I loved making up games and activities.  One of my regular jobs was for the mayor’s three kids ages 12, 7, and 4.  One night, the four year old refused to go to sleep.  She had seen a spider in her room earlier that day, and even though her dad had killed it, she was convinced it was still going to get her.  I told her I had a special song we could sing that would scare the spiders away and proceeded to make-up something on the spot:

“Alabama, zippity-zoo, watch out spiders, or I will eat you!”

The silly song was just what Hayley needed and she thought eating a spider was gross and hilarious.  She made me promise that if she did see a spider, I would eat it.  Knowing the likelihood of her actually seeing another spider before she fell asleep, I agreed.  We shook on it.

Three weeks later, I was back at their house.  We were playing the homework game (another of my specialties) at the kitchen table when suddenly, Hayley jumped up.

“A spider, a spider! Look it’s on the window!”

Her brother Luke ran over and they watched as the tiny little spider crawled up the window pane.

Hayley slowly turned and looked at me with a mischevious look in her eyes.  She remembered my promise.  Four years old, and she had the mind of a ninja.

It would have been really easy to just kill the spider with a tissue and forget what I had said.  But I remembered what it was like being scared of things as a kid, so I decided to take one for the team.  I wanted to show Hayley that there was nothing to be afraid of.  I pinched the spider between my fingers, put it in my mouth, and quickly downed about 48 ounces of water.

The kids were floored.  They couldn’t believe I had actually eaten a spider.  I’m still waiting for the day when a million of its babies burst out of my mouth Green Mile style.

 

My second worst bug experience was last summer when I was subletting an apartment in Manhattan.  I was living with two theater girls who waitressed nights, so we really only saw each other in passing.  I came home one night after an extremely long day and all I wanted was food in my belly and my soft bed.  I walked into the apartment and heard a strange buzzing coming from the curtains.  I thought it might be the air conditioning unit taking over the world, but when I got closer I saw the BIGGEST cockroach I have ever seen in my life.  And this little bitch was flying around like a madman.  Of course I ran out of the room, freaking out.  But no one else was home.  I had to face this myself.

I armed myself with a broom and a spray bottle of lemon pledge, and approached slowly.  Once I swatted it down, it took me a good 3 minutes to crush it to death.  It was horrible.  And then I had to get rid of its mutilated little body, which was nearly impossible to do without getting within 3 feet of its corpse.

Even though I was extremely grossed out and convinced an army of cockroaches was now going to enact revenge on my apartment, I was really proud of myself.  I just killed this thing all by myself.  I had overcome my fear.

 

I may still get freaked out by bugs and wish there was a boy who would protect me and kill them for me.  But in the end, I know I can take care of myself.  Worse comes to worse, I can always eat them.