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So it’s 9 p.m. and I can barely see straight – that’s what happens after far too many hours of staring at a computer screen. Nonetheless, a challenge is a challenge and I will blog every day in May. 😉

Today’s Topic: The thing(s) you’re most afraid of

I knew this post was coming and I considered skipping it, solely because I had way too many ideas and most of them seemed too personal for this space. While I’ve certainly been open and honest on my blog, I try not to make it a dumping ground for my bad days or a personal journal … and that’s where I could see this post going.

After giving it (too) much thought, I realized there is one overarching thread throughout my life: the fear that I’m always making the wrong decision. Far too much of my time is spent reflecting on choices I’ve made and second-guessing myself. Whether it is what I said to someone, my career path, my relationships, how I spend my spare time – I can always convince myself that the other option would probably have been the better one.

I’m afraid to trust myself.

While I don’t think I’ve necessarily made bad decisions along the way, I can’t help but wonder if my life could have turned out differently. What I need to remind myself is that different is not always better.

 

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As I mentioned yesterday, I’m participating in a “Blog Every Day in May” challenge.

Today’s topic: things that make you uncomfortable.

Scorpions and cockroaches: My number one fear (until last year) was cockroaches; to say they make me uncomfortable is probably somewhat of an understatement. While I am well aware that they are not particularly dangerous, I’d prefer to never see another one … especially not the winged “Palmetto bug” variety native to the south. Those took the cake in creepiness until I was introduced to scorpions in Arizona. Come to think of it, I can’t even say that scorpions make me uncomfortable. I’m pretty much deathly afraid of them.

Not understanding what someone is saying or asking me: Last year, I was getting my nails done and the manicurist had a strong Russian accent. For more than an hour, I mostly nodded, smiled and occasionally laughed while she told me a story. I think I understood about ten words she said, operating solely on context clues. If she laughed, I laughed. I still have no idea what she was telling me and am only grateful she didn’t ask me any questions. Few things are more uncomfortable than asking someone multiple times to repeat him/herself and still having no idea what you are being asked. I had entire conversations with my old landlord where neither of us had any clue what the other was saying.

Small talk: For someone who talks as much as I do, small talk makes me unfathomably uncomfortable. When I hear the word “networking,” a chill goes down my spine. Few things are more uncomfortable than standing face-to-face with someone who is essentially operating from a script and expecting you to do the same. Whenever you meet someone in Arizona, there’s a good chance he will ask you, “Are you from here?” And for some reason, that question creates so much awkwardness for me. “Well, I’m not from here but I live here.” When I’m asked about my profession, many people still have no idea what a social marketing manager does. It makes me wish that I was a doctor or a teacher – something that can be explained in one word. And having to ask awkward questions myself? Even more uncomfortable.

Confrontation: Whether it’s asking a co-worker to turn down the top 40 club hits she’s playing at her desk or telling someone that it’s not okay to box my car into a parking space, nothing makes me more uncomfortable than confrontation. I’m not certain why I’m so uncomfortable with it, especially considering that most of these people I’ll rarely, if ever, interact with again. While avoidance is not generally the best strategy, it’s the one that comes easiest to me.

What made this post challenging was defining “discomfort.” Is it something that annoys you or is it something that you truly fear? So now I turn the tables on you – what makes you uncomfortable?

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I’m too terrified to Google images of scorpions, so you can pretend this guy is deadly.

In no particular order, I am deathly afraid of the following: cockroaches, needles and heights. Before I moved to Arizona, I had no reason to be knowledgeable (and therefore, fearful) about scorpions. I dodged numerous stories told by co-workers who found these critters squatting in their homes and pretended it would never happen to me … until it did.

On Sunday night, I came home from book club, sat on my bed and plugged my phone into its charger. Facing my headboard, I took my turn on Words with Friends and my eyes wandered to the sea of cords underneath my night table. And amidst the cords, slowly meandering across the beige carpet (NEXT TO MY BED) was the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen.

My first scorpion.

For those of you unfamiliar with scorpions, consider yourself lucky. Before this moment, I considered palmetto bugs (aka giant winged roaches) to be the most horrifying creature I’d ever encounter in my home. This miniature horned (clawed?) beast was about to take home the gold.

Here are  its stats: it was about as long as the width of my three middle fingers. Evidently this is good, as the small ones have more concentrated venom. It was roughly the same color as my bedroom carpet. And thank God, it was moving rather slowly.

I didn’t scream. I do, however, think I entered some sort of fugue.

While (rather silently) panicking, I made my way towards the kitchen and was immediately grateful that I hadn’t put away Solo cups from a party I hosted about two months ago. I grabbed two Solo cups and made my way back to the offending creature (who thankfully hadn’t moved far). As he moved towards my closet, I deftly trapped him between two Solo cups, ran quickly towards my front door and hurled him off my balcony.

Yes, I’m grateful he didn’t fly back at me in a rogue gust of wind. No, I didn’t try to crush him. One, I hate the idea of trying to crush any creature which makes a crunching noise. Two, this is Arizona in September. Minus my running shoes, I am 100% in open-toed shoes. And I doubt a ballet flat would do much damage. Three, I wasn’t sure how Senor Scorpion would react. What if I aimed with a shoe, didn’t manage to finish him off and he either (a) ran under my bed  or (b) started throwing poisonous daggers at me? Here’s a fun fact – scorpion anti-venom has now gone down to $8,000 per dose. Of all the things I’d love to spend $8K on, anti-venom is not high on my wish list.

Needless to say, Sunday was a rough night for sleep. Yesterday, I made a purchase I hope I never use – scorpion spray. Oh, and a bottle of wine. I figure if I encounter another scorpion and have to spray it, I’ll be grateful I bought that pinot grigio. And if not (fingers crossed), I’ll be more than happy to celebrate my arachnid-free home.

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