Saturday, August 10, 2002

I have an irrational fear. I'm not alone--lots of people have irrational fears; some are afraid of heights, some of closed-in spaces, some of water, and so on. Intelligence doesn't seem to be a factor--my best friend is a master's-level social worker and is deathly afraid of snakes. It doesn't matter if the snake is dead, dried up, just a snakeskin, or even rubber, she can't stand to be near them (and God forbid you should ever throw one at or on her!).

My irrational fear is of any of those scary things that they make movies about--walking dead, mummies, demonic stuff, and unexplained phenomenoms. I generally don't have to confront this fear--one just doesn't come across "real" vampires (as opposed to those who just dress like them) in everyday functioning. I avoid going to movies that are scary, or even potentially scary (as much fun as it was to watch, I did have a bad dream after watching "Ghostbusters"); I don't watch "The X-Files" or "The Twilight Zone" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". As much fun as any of you might find these activities, I don't miss them at all--it's kinda like being allergic to shellfish; you just don't eat any.

The other day, I was forced to confront this fear in an unexpected way--a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, sent me a very scary email. I say very scary; apparently most people found it to be startling at most, and amusing at best. To me, it was traumatic. I screamed very loudly, loud enough that I wonder that my neighbors didn't call the police. I also felt betrayed for just a moment, then my rational mind began to take over and I realized that this friend would never do anything intentionally harmful to me--she either just forgot about this irrational fear of mine or didn't realize how intense it is. In any case, I have forgiven the friend--the large apology Hershey bar helped a great deal with that, by the way. I am beginning to be able to sleep at night again (I told you it was intense), which is a good thing, because exhaustion was really starting to set in. I had trouble looking at my computer screen for long periods for a couple of days, because I was afraid at some level that this thing would pop up on my screen again.

As I said, I have forgiven the friend who sent the email; what I am having more trouble dealing with are my other friends who, when I tell them about this episode, laugh at me and belittle the trauma that I experienced and tell me that I shouldn't have been afraid because their kids weren't even scared by this. I said it was an irrational fear--I don't mind admitting that--but just because it is irrational, doesn't make the fear less real or intense. I will get over this; I think my point in telling all this is to remind us all that when we are dealing with people, we cannot disrespect them just because they may have some goofy belief system or cultural superstitions or a viewpoint on any given subject that may differ from ours.

posted by #Debi at 3:11 PM | permalink | 0 comments


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Hi, I'm Debi. Once in a while I have a thought and I like to write it down before it goes away. This is where I write it.

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