Wednesday, April 7, 2010
As far back as I can remember I have been afraid of spiders. I would scream when I saw one even when I was a tiny little girl. To this day spiders terrify me, but my fear has extended itself to almost every member of the insect and arachnid population.
When I was about 5 years old I used to hide behind a bush and play with the snails that lived there. I would grab up rolly pollies (also known as pill bugs) and watch them roll into a ball so I could roll them around for a while. I could pick up a lady bug and watch it fly away.
Alas, those days are over. You couldn't get me to touch even a ladybug. There was a time I had a ladybug in my house. The surprise I felt when I couldn't bring myself to touch it to set it free was a startling revelation about myself. I had never faced my fear, and I had allowed it to escalate beyond reason. Why should I be afraid to touch a ladybug? Nothing could prepare me for the guilt I felt at seeing all my children yelp in fear at the slightest insect. I had projected my own fears onto them.
It was a particularly nice day to play outside, and that's exactly what my kids were doing. I heard a screech and went running to see what the matter was. A bug, of course. I went out to see what type of bug it was. It was only a love bug. The yard was infested. I knew that I would never get the kids to come back outside unless I did something drastic. "There's nothing wrong with these little bugs, kids. See?" I braced myself for what I was about to do. I dug deep and swallowed my fear. I picked up the little bug and I let it crawl across my hand. I saw my kids relax as I showed them that this bug was not going to hurt me or them. I watched them as the went back outside to play. Then, I ran to where they couldn't see me and shook my hand off violently. I then washed it. But I couldn't help but feel that I had accomplished something significant in biting back my fear for the moments it took me to dispel my children's fears.