There was a woman in my class at school who is afraid of everything. Especially germs, deadly viruses, all viruses actually and dirt. She covers her seat with plastic bags before sitting down. Or this: The other day I overheard a story a woman told the cashier at the supermarket register. It was a story of a little boy she knew, some friend of a friend’s kid, who suffered from severe headaches. No one knew why. His parents took him to several doctors and they all said that there was nothing wrong with the boy. They were super afraid and went home. A few days later he woke up at night in agony and screamed in pain. The parents took him to the emergency room and doctors discovered that the little boy actually had maggots eating his eyeballs from the inside out.
I squeezed my eyes shut and moaned (a little too loud). The woman turned toward me and said, “Yes, it is true. Apparently, the little boy had been petting a dog or maybe the dog licked him on the eye, and maybe the dog had some maggot eggs on the tongue, who knows!” I took the organic Haribo Gummi-worms out of my shopping cart and put them back on the shelf. Also, I don’t let doggies give me kisses anymore. Or pet them. Or look at them. (kidding)
What are we afraid of? What gives us the chills? Do you take showers always with your eyes open just because you think about the original Ghostbuster movie and that slime thing that scared Sigourney Weaver? How terrifying is this?
As a child, I was afraid of all kinds of things. I was afraid of wolves in the woods and I never ever sucked my thumbs because of Struwwelpeter whose parents cut them off (thank you brutal German fairytales), ankle-grabbing monsters under my bed, clowns (Pennywise the Clown still make me uncomfortable) and death. There was a time when I was afraid of the Kombucha mushroom in my mom’s fridge. I opened it and saw that there are these organisms in a big glass doing laps while seemingly waving at me. Gross!
For entertainment purposes, I am taking this a step further by adding things that I find disgusting or weird, rather than irrational fears.
People who wear full camouflage in an urban environment. Well, this is kinda scary.
Flossing teeth together in the bathroom. Weird, not scary.
Spiders that crawl down my neck and then disappear in my sweater but I can feel them on my back.
Public bathrooms with poo in the toilet and a line of people outside waiting. Terrifying and scary. And disgusting.
Black flies at the cottage. They have little fangs and rip your skin out until you bleed to death.
Trying to drive up one particular steep hill on the way to the cottage when the roads are super icy. Usually, it takes three attempts while we sadly slide down again. My blood freezes.
Going to sleep knowing that there is a huge spider in the room. Actually, anything involving spiders is scary. Especially big ones.
Hugging or kissing someone who is covered in sweat.
Climate change scares me. Even more so since I studied biochem and know a bit more
Cracking floor noise in my apartment when I am in bed. And Joel is in bed. WHAT COULD THIS BE? The house is old, but
Opening the cork on a champaign bottle.
I train an army of creepy squirrels and raccoons on my balcony but they both freak me out. I think it is their little hands.
(Flying) Cockroaches. Can they fly straight into my mouth while I scream?
Looking in the rearview mirror of a car when it is dark outside and imagine to see a stranger who sits in the backseat.
When it comes to fear, sometimes there is no escape. Sometimes there is no easy exit. But at the same time, there is beauty in any nightmare. And I deal with it.