My Big Fear (Re Run)
I ran this blog entry a year ago. I decided to run it again as spring time is here and once again I have to face my greatest fear.
I am in a local Super Store with my teenage son buying a pair of gym shorts and shoes for his Fitness class at school. At the end of a very long isle is a light brown patio umbrella. It is January and I know, for a fact, that stores do not start the summer patio displays until March or April. But there it is. Most people would not even notice it nor give it a second thought. My son, in fact, has no idea it is there—even when I point it out to him.
But for me, the patio umbrella is somewhat of an enigma. I can tell you a lot about them. I can tell you what colors they come in; the different styles that are available and where you can buy them. I can tell you which stores carry them and which do not. But I do not have the foggiest idea what is written on the price tag. I can’t get close enough to find out.
The hitch to all this is that I am unbelievably terrified of them. I am so terrified; in fact, that I would rather die than face the underside of one of them.
I have never known a time when these objects did not scare the daylights out of me. When I was a kid my parents had a great big one. Giving a description of it is enough to send me spinning. It was green with white fringe around the edges. It can manage to tell you what it looked like from a distance, but if I try to tell what it looked like from the underside I ...I just can't go there, though I know what it looked like.
My parents tried to calm my fears though they figured it was a passing childhood fear and that I would eventually grow out of this fear. Then one day, after my dad did some research, he learned I had a bona fide phobia. As an adult I would go to hypnosis and other therapy with no improvement.
Phobias, I learned, did not involve actually being afraid of the object or situation. It was the fear of being afraid that perpetuated the phobia. I had felt something akin to fear when faced with one of these objects. Subconsciously, I never want to feel that again. I refuse to go near them. It is like there is an invisible barrier between them and me. I can feel them when I am not looking. All it takes is to see one of them out of the corner of my eye and I jump.
I can tell myself that they are harmless sources of shade. But, does my subconscience listen? NO!