(I am in NO way writing this to belittle or suggest that any person’s genuine fears aren’t valid.)
While going about my business yesterday, I overheard a rather disturbing conversation being had by one of our “Sunday families”. The mother and father were holding the little girl near to their bodies. In a tone that could best be described as Vincent Price meets Martha Stewart (scary firm), they told their daughter about the evil that is a snake. Apparently these hatchlings are blood thirsty creatures that only want to live under her bed with the sole intent to bite, harm, and KILL….or worse. And here it is that I’ve been handling them all these years.
This started me thinking about things we fear with little or no reason. Even more-so, why do we instill these fears into children. Shouldn’t a parent want their child to be….well…never mind. In this case the parents wanted their child to be just like them. Afraid. I suppose if you raise a child to fear the world around them, they’ll never be able to leave you. So there’s that basis.
I know several people who are afraid of clowns. Although I’m not necessarily afraid of them, I understand the underlying creep factor of a grown stranger wearing caked on make up to disguise themselves, all while pasting on a big superficial smile to cover God knows what kind of mental disorder….all to attract children. See….completely irrational….or is it?
Most people have an underlying fear of the dark. Maybe not the literal dark so much as what is in the dark. The things we can’t SEE. Street lights, night lights, motion sensor lights, sleeping with the television on….all for the fear of something we can’t be sure is there. Personally I love sleeping in the woods with no lights, knowing there is the nearby companionship of things whose home I have temporarily invaded. To me, fear of the dark is a fear that you don’t really ‘own’ the space you’re filling. Once you own your lack of ownership you’ll sleep a lot better.
There is a strong movement afoot in the media to create fear in our communities. Fear of what isn’t like us. Fear of others whose upbringing or culture may not be just like yours. Much like the family with the snakes, fear leads to hate. Hatred of a thing is a slippery slope. (Philosophical rabbit hole—->>) Most people have a far easier time taking a shovel to something they’ve been taught to fear their whole life….. Irrational fears serve no one.
As for me, I have two real irrational fears. I own them. They are mine.
I am completely freaked out by earwigs. The vile little insecty creatures with what look like pinchers on their butts. I know they can’t hurt me. I know they won’t hurt me. I will still scream like a frightened beast and head for the high ground…then remember that they can climb very well. <<Shudder and cringe>>
My second fear might not be so irrational.
I am terrified of becoming the old lady who cannot figure out how to use the pin pad at the grocery store. I’m afraid that one day I will go to get coffee creamer and granola bars, stand at the check out with my card in my hand, and have to be told how to use the machine. I see it every day, and it scares the hell out of me.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”