Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Am Afraid

Not much scares me. Oh I have some things that keep me alert. Those things are not really fears but I am watchful.

For instance electricity baffles me. I understand how it works and how it comes into being but when it comes right down to it I have a good healthy respect for all things electrical. I do not take it for granted and I am careful when using electrical appliances.

There are other things that I do not understand at all. People who hold so much hatred that they have to release it in the form of violence or cruelty I will never understand. I am much less naive than I used to be so I can even recognize some of them right away. Never the less I stay away from these kinds of people. That may be fear to an extent but it is more common sense.

I fear something bad happening to one of my children or grandchildren. It is a normal fear to worry for those you care about. (Knock on wood) I am so fortunate that the bad things that have happened to my family are relatively minor. They are all healthy and functioning the way they should.

Intrinsic fears are those that are inborn. I read that babies are born with only one fear... the fear of falling. Perhaps other fears may be instilled at a very young age so the person may not remember being unafraid.

For instance my oldest son has always been afraid of water over his face. Even a washcloth covering his eyes would cause him to gasp for breath. My mother was afraid of water in her face too. Was it genetic? Who knows.

I have an unnatural fear of falling. I always thought it was a fear of heights until I realized that as long as I felt a secure base beneath me there was no fear.

If I climb a tree I feel perfectly safe. The branches are sturdy and will protect me from falling. I can look down with no feeling of vertigo... none. I can stand right up at the edge of Niagara Falls and watch the water fall over the edge (for hours if you let me). I have something solid to stand on.

But that fear of falling keeps me from riding any of the up and over rides at a carnival. I can ride the around and around rides all day. But no up and overs.

When you are riding the Ferris Wheel you go up at the back of the wheel. Suddenly you reach the top and you are looking out at scenery. You feel like there is nothing beneath you and it looks that way too. FEAR.

I do not ride roller coasters at all. I did ride a small one once. Never again. Have you ever seen how flimsy they are built? They go so fast and there is no way I can stop them. I need that control.

An amusement park I took my children to (yes they all love those rides) has a ride called The Demon Drop. You wait in line forever to get a turn at this ride. It holds maybe 6 people on a seat with a lock-bar holding them all in the seat. Slowly it cranks itself straight up into the air. Up and up it goes then up some more. Not for me. Then it stops at the very top and sits still for a while. Then suddenly it drops straight down all the way to the ground. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? There is not one fun thing about that.

So I have a fear of falling. Sue me.

It has been well-documented that I am afraid of vampires. Vampires are the one thing I believe there is not. I have to believe that or I would go mad. But I am afraid of them.

That is an irrational fear. I know it is crazy. I know a vampire cannot get me so it can bite my neck. I know I will not become a vampire. Still I am afraid of vampires.

Some people lose some of their faculties as they age. Reflexes are slower, we cannot get around as well, and our bodies do not perform the way we wish. Most people have to wear eyeglasses when they get older. We are in more danger of breaking a bone when we fall and in more danger of falling because we do not move as well as we used to.

Some people cannot remember things. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease come to mind but there are lesser memory problems too. Heart attacks and strokes are a couple of health issues that we associate with age. The ability to speak can be an effect. Can you imagine being inside a body that refuses to allow you to communicate? It has to be extremely frustrating.

My biggest fear is blindness. I even dream about it. I will be driving along and suddenly everything is black. The person with me has to try to save my life as well as the others in my vehicle. I will then wake up.

If I were unable to see I would not be able to read. It is my greatest pleasure. I would not be able to see the faces of my family. I would not be able to get on the internet to write this blog. I would not be able to drive. I would not be totally independent.

I would be trapped in a world of darkness. I know you can be retrained to do things another way but there is no way it can be the same.

I do fear being blind. I want to see. It is my biggest fear.


  1. Dear Emma,
    fears - "a vast field", as our poet Fontane said. Everybody has different ones (I fear huge fires that are near - not a fire in the stove - my fear could give you the impression I have been burnt in the Middle Ages). Fear is not rational - so you will not get it away by willpower. Though I believe in 'training' - though I saw that a friend of mine (not Anne) who has many frights (dogs, trains etc) got used to a dog her daughter left with her - but developed another fear instead. I see with sorrow that these fears eat away more and more mobility of her life.

    1. Thank goodness none of my fears is debilitating. A fear that causes one to close off from any other experiences must be the worst.

  2. I really appreciate you posting this, Emma. Most of my life, I was pretty much fearless. When I did get scared, it didn't last long and there was always a clear and present reason. Now I'm in my mid-sixties and get the jumps frequently. Usually it's from stresses that pile up and go underground --and, of course, vampires.

    1. Of course vampires. I am just past the mid sixties but not yet old either. I am sure you are right about your jumpy feelings but I do hope you have mentioned them to your doctor. Perhaps there is something systemic to fix.

    2. In reply to your two sensitive closing sentences, yes and yes. Much improved by it too!

  3. Loss of sight and memory would be my greatest fears, Emma, if I really were asked to name any. Not to be able to see the world or to recall past experiences would be tragic in my opinion. I hope to never have to face either situation.

    1. I hope we all live happy healthy and long lives. It is probably a lot to hope for but I would love to see it happen.