We live in a big ol' world full of big ol' scary things. As an anxious child, I naturally developed many deep fears, some normal while others are, well, not as normal.
The topic tonight asked for 5 of my biggest fears. My response was "Only five?" But as one of my fears is disappointing others, I'll separate my fear list into two categories: "deep-seated fears" and "where the eff did that come from?"
1. Being wrong in front of LOTS of people. I was the kid who was paralyzed by the thought of going to the chalkboard to solve a math problem. I still am. Even now, when I stop by a math teacher's tutorial session to help crowd-manage, I get the sweaty palms. I know, in my heart, that I understand 7th grade math. I passed it. I have a college degree. But there's still a moment of dread that I'll mess up and everyone will think I'm dumb. That teacher thinks I'm trying to be helpful; truly it's just fear therapy. I still feel my face flame up in embarrassment when my friends bring up a mistake I made once, 10 years ago. My fear is so palpable that I just googled three different sites to determine if it's "deep-seated" or "deep-seeded".
Excuse me while I go reapply my deodorant.
2. Disappointing others. I have an addiction to helping others. Being needed is my drug of choice. So the thought of letting someone else down, of not being enough, is a fear I fight daily. Maybe hourly. I am constantly on the look-out for someone's disappointed look. But, inevitably, I can't be everything for everyone, so I have to talk myself off that ledge quite often.
3. Drowning. My mother has this fear too, and I think it was passed down via the umbilical cord. When I was a kid, we lived on a lake. Never, ever was a life preserver a choice. But that didn't extend to just the lake. I was the kid in the big orange life jacket at the city pool. I learned to swim, truly, at summer camp, and I am thankful for that. I still love the water, absolutely and completely. Yet there's still a part of me that gets nervous each time I jump in. Like I'm going to suddenly forget 3 decades worth of swimming ability.
4. Natural disasters. Another of my mother's fears were storms -- tornados, in particular. And because I grew up in the Texas panhandle, every spring and summer were spent readying ourselves for the next big storm. To make things worse, we lived in a mobile home for most of my life with the city storm shelter at least 2-3 minutes drive away. When those are your realities, you find ways to cope. So for the first 12-14 years of my life, I went to bed most spring and summer nights in my nightgown with my shoes on, and a flashlight in hand. Whether those were her instructions or a creation of my own, I couldn't tell you. Yet even now, as soon as clouds roll up, the first thing I put on are my running shoes. I'm much more confident now though because as a West Texas kid, I often have to be the weather girl in many situations and maintain calm. But hurricanes or earthquakes or volcanic explosions? Get all the hell the way outta here with that. Natural disasters can't be predicted or controlled, and that freaks me outtttt.
5. Fear. Yes, I have a fear of being afraid. As crazy as that sounds, it's true. I worry often that I'm not living my life to its fullest. That I'm missing out on opportunities because I'm harnessed by fear. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. But what I've narrowed it down to, basically, is fear. I spent a LOT of time and money figuring that one out. Who would've guessed?
1. Clowns. They're all psychopaths looking to peel my face off and use my pancreas as a hat. Of this, I am convinced, and I'll never believe otherwise.
2. Marionettes. Their movements are so creepy. And their strings are perfect for strangling an unsuspecting person when they come to life. Truth be known, I have a highly illogical fear of all dolls for much the same reason.
3. Dumpsters. I have a long-held fear that I'll discover a dead body in one. But dumpsters also attract all kinds of creatures. At worst, you could get a rabid raccoon bite to the face and at the very least, that little furry bastard will scurry out from his hiding place and literally scare the pee out of me. I don't like anything that scurries. Or scuttles.
4. Technology will take over the world. I suspect this stems from one too many sci-fi stories gone wrong, but I can't prove it. All I know is that when the robots come for us, don't say I didn't warn you.
5. Unnaturally smart small children. You see all these videos of toddlers doing algebra and listing all the world capitals and such. Everyone thinks it's SO cute. Nope. Not me. Not cute at all. It's unnerving. I mean, I'm all for kids being smart, but there's a fine line between having a well-built vocabulary and leading the robot revolution. Know what I'm sayin'?
6. Vomiting. Oh God. I can't even...