Fears and Phobias

I'm afraid of a couple things. I think everyone is afraid of something. Some times they're "normal" fears, the dark, heights, closed spaces, blood... some times they're not normal, like pencils, or flowers or latex gloves. Sometimes they're societal, like fear of "The Other" and sometimes they're religious, like begin terrified of hell.

I'm terrified of heights, for one. That means getting on a chair to change a light bulb is highly uncomfortable. I can sit on my counter-tops, but if I have to stand on them, I feel antsy, and jittery. Flying is a monstrous, horrible, gut-wrenching, hideous experience, especially when you factor in the knee-liquefying nausea that attacks me the moment the wheels start rolling, and don't stop until we're landed even while drugged up in a Dramamine haze.

I'm also afraid of people. This one's harder to explain, to bear with me. I am terribly shy, and extremely introverted. This means I hate being the centre of attention, hate people looking at me; it makes me physically sick. I can get past it to give a speech or presentation, but it's very hard, and I end up shutting down, going almost automaton; I can act, as well, I'm pretty good, but it's not something I'm willing to do very often. Now, if I know you, it's OK, I have a wonderful time with my friends, and I get pretty animated. And in small gatherings, like my living room or dinner, I'll do my very best to "conversate with muchness"! But if we meet at a party, or some office thing, or out at a bar, chances are good I'll immediately go pale (even pastier than normal), get the deer in the head-light look and just nod a lot until I can excuse myself and go off and wallflower. I have a "social-anxiety" disorder and a touch of agoraphobia-- this means I don't get out much, and I prefer it that way. It's not that I hate everyone, but really, I hate people, so it's probably better if yo don't have to have me inflicted on you!

I'm scared to death of clowns, too. Now, not the harlequin ones, the long diamonds on their eyes don't phase me. Mimes don't bother me, either, other than the annoyance factor. But the big shoes, red wig, red nose clowns. They give me the cold sweats! I avoid them at all costs, it's just better that way. This one, though, I can pin-point to my kindergarten year; we had a clown visit and make us balloon animals. He creeped me out, I didn't like him at all. Later I found out he'd molested several of my class mates in the bathrooms, behind the little cloak room attached. I believe my initial discomfort was my guts warning me; I wish I could have helped my class mates though. That horror and revulsion transferred to all clowns now. I'm thirty-four years old, an afraid of clowns.

I used to be petrified of failing, but I never could figure out what failure was. It was, I guess, not measuring up to some lofty ideal; but I'd managed to disappoint my mother every time I turned around. I also disappointed my grandparents-- they wanted me to marry a minister and bring the gospel to... well, I don't know where. I never did date a Preacher-Boy for long. They're like octopi! Just cannot keep their hands to themselves, and I got tired of trying to beat them back with sticks.

So, I sorta grew out of that one. It's hard to be afraid of failure after you'd failed a couple times. I suppose that's a sign of growth, but I honestly don't know. I just accepted that I am a failure, and lived with it. Once I accepted that, it wasn't so bad. And when I succeed it's a million times more brilliant and wonderful! I know it bothers my mother when she hears that I'm well-- she wants me to crash and burn, but would be happy with abject misery.

Me? Well, truth to tell, I'm not a complete failure, so I think I fail at failing?

I used to be afraid of hell, too.

I was so afraid that I was evil, and bad, and God hated me, so he'd send me to hell when I died. I begged God, prayed to Jesus and the Holy Spirit and asked them to please, please please save me from hell. I wanted to be good, and I wanted to make them happy, so wasn't that OK? Was I being bad? Please tell me, so I know, so I can be a good girl and go to heaven when I die. The Bible told me I wasn't good enough on my own, and Jesus had to help me, so I begged him to.

Later on, after some study, and some growing into adulthood, I realised that hell had been made up, there was no real biblical basis for it, and that any god who'd sent people he supposedly loved into a burning pit of lava for any reason at all, let alone arbitrary reasons like "thinking for myself", wasn't a god who was worth worshipping-- and therefore had to be a false god. Ergo, the god of hell was some made up by some early-christian motherfucker who was leading by fear-- better to terrify people about the state of their souls than work on changing things here on earth, right? Anyone propagating that belief was helping add to the millennia of terrified kids who never question. Their god is like an abusive husband, not a God Of All Creation Who Loves Everyone!

I decided as better than that, and I refused to scare the shit out of my kids in order to make them behave. If there is a god who is all powerful, then I'll have to speak with Him/Her after I die. I'll explain why I made the choices I made, why I lived how I lived, and that I used my heart and mind-- to think and reason. If that's not good enough, then I guess I am going to hell. But I can't worry about it right now. And I'm not afraid. I'll just make sure I tell that God exactly what I think of them, that they're a complete and utter fucker.

These past several months, as I've watched the GOP/Tea bagger primary has gotten me thinking about fears. These men, and before Bachmann helped, are patronising people, banking up their fears! It's all about the other, and them! (Wasn't that an old film about giant Ants?) Anyway, stirring up fears, without cause, seems to be the one thing that the baggers have going for them right now. As long as their constituents are terrified of The Other, these men can threaten them with horrific things.

Things like taxes! (which is moronic, because taxes are relatively low, even though millionaires pay a lower percentage rate than I do)
Or, Brown People! (which is also stupid, because a lot of white people are Hispanic, and all brown people aren't Mexican.)
Or Lesbians and Gays getting married! (OK committed couples, sharing their lives, is a bad thing? How?)
Or abortion on demand! (which is also stupid, because if you want your pregnancy, no one's going to drag you in to the clinic and abort you against your will; therefore you shouldn't be attempting to force a woman to carry to term against her will.)
Or the War on Christmas! (we made it through another season, but it'll come back, right, war on the largest holiday in the US.)
Or the War on Religion! (which is so stupid it makes me want to puke! The only war on religion I see is christians attacking anyone who doesn't believe their own narrow, revolting, homophobic, anti-women dogma, and especially anyone who is Muslim or Atheist.)
Or science that they don't like (climate change, evolution, Plan B).

Maybe I'm just missing there being something genuine to be afraid of. I don't fear China, or Russia, or Iran. I know, I know, there are plenty of baggers who do. I remember fearing nuclear war, sure, with the USSR, but I was never afraid of communists, just that nuke.

I can't be afraid of what I don't know. There are so many things that I don't know!
Republicans, Conservatives, though, they want nothing but fear for the unknown, and most of the known.

I'd rather be afraid of clowns. At least I can see them, and run away. You can't run away of the unknown, it's everywhere.

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