What are you so afraid of?
Phobia: A strong, irrational fear of something that poses no real threat or danger.
I take umbrage at the use of the word “irrational.” Take the fear of clowns (You might not want to click through on that link if you have it). Those suckers are clearly dangerous and therefore it’s not irrational to fear them. Fear of heights? Also totally reasonable.
I say I’m afraid of heights, but I’m really only afraid of heights I can fall from, which is perfectly reasonable. Do I get anxious? Yes, but I can usually still operate. I’m very proud of my trip up a gondola on a windy day in Scotland. I was happy I was in there all by myself, though, because I spent a lot of time repeating the phrase, “I’m going to die.” Except sometimes, in which case I was thinking, “I’d probably only break some bones if I fell now.”
Ladders and I aren’t great friends, either. Going up’s not so bad, but coming back down is a little tricky. Stripping wallpaper and painting at my rental property, I had to work from a ladder in the stairwell. Apparently I’m braver when there’s no one around to watch me be foolish. Freezing, catching my breath or a few shaky moments don’t need to be witnessed, right? Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and do what you need to do.
One fear I have developed since moving into my present house — and this one is completely irrational — is a fear of wind. Where I spent the most time growing up, we had a few trees right around the house but it was mostly open fields. I used to love to stand outside and watch a storm rolling in from the west, to feel the wind buffeting me. Now, however, we have a lot of trees to the west of us and when the wind blows, you can hear it coming at you, rolling through the trees. I feel like something is going to smash me flat and I’ll make a run for the house or jump in my car when I hear it coming.
I know it won’t hurt me, in theory, but that’s not what I feel. I feel fear, stress, the need to escape, and stupid. I mean, who’s afraid of the wind? I am getting a little better because I had to walk my dog, whether it was windy or not. So I’ve found myself a mile from home and the wind rolling in with nowhere to hide. The doctors would call this exposure therapy. It seems to be working.
And if it doesn’t, maybe I’ll just move where there aren’t any trees.