Thursday, October 8, 2009

Be VERY afraid.

Fear (n.)
a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger,
evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

I live my life in fear. As a mother I'm not sure how NOT to, honestly. Of course I try not to let it reign over me or overshadow my entire life, but it's always there - gnawing at my temples and the back of my neck, trying to get to me.

I fear a lot of things. I fear for my children's physical and emotional safety and I fear that I'm inadvertently failing them miserably. I even fear that they'll grow up sooner rather than later, take wives and forget all about their dear old mother. Ha!

Fear is a funny creature. It lurks quietly in the shadows of your mind almost invisibly, yet has the overwhelming power to completely paralyze you if you turn your back for a second. And there's a very fine, almost nonexistent line between fear and worry. Worry, of course, the vicious vehicle through which fear is expressed and allowed to reign. And worry is an ugly beast all its own.

So this week's Thinkbox Thursday question was fitting for me, the Queen of Fear and Wizard(ess) of Worry.

What were you afraid of as a child? Why? Did this fear follow you into adulthood?

I was afraid of a lot of things as a child but my two biggest fears would unquestionably be fire and wolves (or more accurately just any mean dog). Odd mix, I realize.

The wolf thing was a repetetive bad dream I had as a little girl in which wolves were chasing me and threatening to get me. I believe this was precipitated by a combination of having been scratched by a dog when I was only 4 (requiring many many stitches) and having watched a traumatizing episode of Little House on the Prairie when I was little. As anyone will tell you I'm still not a fan of big dogs that jump up on you, nice or otherwise, and have been known to bristle while viewing the scary wolf scene in Beauty and the Beast. However, I have a pretty good sense these days that wolves will not "get me", as it were, if I step outside my door. And I am proud to say I have read many rather riveting versions of Peter and the Wolf to my three-year-old with nary a tear or hastened heart beat. Thank you very much.

Fire, on the other hand, is a little more serious a fear. When I was very little my mother would send me up to my bedroom everyday to take a nap. I vividly remember this (even though this was almost *gulp* 30 or so years ago). I would head upstairs and methodically start gathering all my worldly possessions - my tiny stuffed koala bear, my favorite footie pajamas and my Holly Hobbie blanket. Then I would position myself, with everything that meant the most to me, at the top of the stairs...and wait. Wait for what, one might ask? Why for the fire to start, of course. You know. The fire that would burn down my house while I was taking a nap. :) So, I would sit positioned at the top of the stairs (every day, for at least an hour or two!) staring at the fire alarm installed above the stairway and watch the red light beep - over, and over, and over again. There, I felt safe. Ready to run down to safety when the fire alarm went off.

I'm not sure if this coincided with fire safety lessons in school or if we had been practicing fire drills or running through Stop, Drop, and Roll demonstrations, but the thought of dying in a fire terrified me. Or worse yet, losing my most prized possessions to a fire. To this day that's one of my biggest fears. I'm not sure if it's because I lost my uncle to a fire even before I was lucky enough to know him. Or maybe it's the complete destruction and sheer devastation a fire can cause at will - single-handedly wiping out your home, your every possession, and sometimes even loved ones in a random act of nature you have little to no control over.

I'm not sure where it comes from but I know it terrifies me. If I could build my house out of the stuff they use to construct the black boxes on airplanes, I'd be the first in line at Home Depot to purchase it. The peace of mind that would buy would be priceless.


Sherry said...

Cute story about your nap time ritual as a little girl! Did your mom know you never actually slept during that time? :) I'm with you on the whole worrying thing, since I had a baby, I've logged more worry time in the past 1.5 years than I have my entire life! My mom was sure to let me know that I will still be worrying when my kids are grown and no use in trying to stop.

Heidi said...

You know I worry. I have "day mares" about the car entering a body of water and who or how would I save my babies. Of course my biggest and most rational fear is failure as a mother. I love the added links in your blog. I am going to have to try that for something.