Present Tense

I ain’t scared….much.

You must face your fears!  We’ve all heard it so many times that it’s conventional wisdom, right? To purge your psyche of those awful fears, phobias and anxieties, you must face them down, wrestle them into submission, tear them up and stomp on them!  Easier said than done, my friends.  I guess it depends on what you fear.

We had a ‘face your fears’ moment on our radio show last week, when my co-host held a tarantula in his hand.  He’s been very open about his fear of spiders and so, we had some folks come in from the Denver Butterfly Pavillion, with Rosie the Tarantula.   Personally, I’m not that freaked out by spiders, but I’d never really had a desire to be in close proximity to a big, ole, hairy tarantula.  But, there she was, right in front of me; so I held her and it was pretty cool.  Generally,  I won’t kill bugs if I can avoid it;  my husband thinks I’m nuts, but I’ll make every attempt to remove them from our house and place them outside, unharmed.  I feel like they have a place in the ecosystem and the universe and I feel bad just randomly smashing them.  Funny, how I treat people badly, but will show compassion and mercy to a bug (note to self: blog about this soon!).

For being such a big, hairy arachnid, Rosie was surprisingly light and calm.  I held her for a couple of minutes, as she walked around on my hand and the experience made me even more resolute in my desire to ‘do no harm’ to those who reside in the bug/reptile/animal kingdom.  I was not facing my fear, but my co-worker was and he did great.  A lot of folks at the radio station also touched her and held her, in spite of their anxiety. The interesting thing was watching their faces during the process.  They were pinched and tense at first sight of the spider.  As Rosie was placed in their hands, even more tension, but then a slow, relaxation of their facial and shoulder muscles.  Next, they actually looked at her, studied her movements and a small smile appeared.  As they gave her back to the handlers, I saw relief and a huge smile. I could see that they were feeling a mix of pride and a kind of protectiveness toward Rosie.  It was an amazing thing to watch them let go of  some or perhaps, all of their fear and realize they had handled it beautifully.

So, maybe the whole face your fears thing IS the key to diminishing them.  I wish my fears could be held in my hand, but they tend to be much more ingrained and buried.  I fear losing my parents, growing old and frail and losing my independence. I fear failure,  I fear that I’m not fulfilling my purpose on earth.  Those things are not easily remedied by a visit from a large and gentle spider.  How do you root those fears out into the daylight and slay them?  They’re not concrete like a spider or snake and I fully realize that many of the things I fear may never come to pass, but it doesn’t make them any less real to me and I suspect, to you.

I guess it’s much the same process as the spider; you first have to find them, look at them and put them in a place where they can be examined, whether that’s in therapy, writing about them or talking about them with someone you trust.   Most things seem less scary in the light of day.  My fears tend to make their appearance in the dark, late at night, when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Those familiar fears dart around my mind, like a game of hide and seek.

So, let’s shine a light on them in broad daylight and like many things, those huge, dark fears, begin to seem a little less hulking and scary.  Put ’em under a halogen lamp and turn ’em over and really examine them.  Why am I afraid of this?  What are the chances of this happening?  What will I do if it does?  Have I survived a similar occurrence and how did I do?  Who can help me with this?   And most importantly, how can I replace this fear, with acceptance, peace and clarity?

February 7, 2010 - Posted by | Musings | , ,


  1. Good one. Fear sucks. Being courageous is hard. I take Rescue Remedy when necessary!

    Comment by imasink | February 7, 2010 | Reply

    • Fear sucks!! you’re right. I used to have some Rescue Remedy for the dogs; I’ll have to get some for ME!!

      Comment by janelondon | February 7, 2010 | Reply

  2. my fears don’t have the courtesy to wait for the dark where i can dream them out of my system. they crawl all over me daily. i’ve learned to make peace with them though. they haven’t killed me (yet)! excellent stuff love!!!

    Comment by Margie Jennings | February 7, 2010 | Reply

  3. Not totally on topic, but I’m with you on the humane treatment of bugs, insects and animals, with a few exceptions. Cockroaches, mosquitos, and earwigs have no purpose and deserve to die! Poisonous spiders are also on the list, but only because they threaten the personal safety of my family and dogs. All other insects are gently escorted in a glass to the backyard.

    Comment by Lara | February 11, 2010 | Reply

    • I have yet to see a cockroach where I live in Colorado, thank goodness! I catch most bugs and put them outside but in the winter, I figure they are just going to die in the cold anyway so sometimes they are flushed. Also, you don’t want to kill a stinkbug in your house due to the obvious reason. I have considered buying the bug vaccum but it doesn’t just trap them, it zaps them too.

      Comment by imasink | February 15, 2010 | Reply

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