Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I Fear

I have been thinking about how many real fears I have. And so, I thought I'd share them. A few are understandable, and others are more phobias than fears, and some are just wacky, but this is me. They are not in order of importance and are pretty much equal on my fright scale.

I would assume most intelligent folks, fear snakes. Many can kill one without blinking an eye. I scream and run. They absolutely terrify me. I was sharing with SR the other day, my thankfulness that we now live in an area that only occasionally harbors the wicked creatures. Our home in Rison was in the middle of dense woods and thickets. Prime real estate for reptiles. I had a death defying encounter one day. Our front porch was pretty low to the ground considering it was on a raised foundation. Only a foot or so off the ground. I accidentally kicked over a flower pot and it landed on the ground beside our steps. At first I thought to just bend over from the porch and retrieve it, but changed my mind and decided to step down and take care of it. When I did, I noticed a rattler coiled and ready to strike, had my hand reached down in front of him. I screamed at the top of my lungs (as they say) and SR promptly disposed of said rattler. Two other times I came in close contact with a Copperhead, and he almost reached down before he saw one in the wood pile one day. It's a miracle my children were never bitten. God is good.

And by height, I mean anything taller than myself. I can manage a ladder if it is close to a wall, and it's not over five feet tall. Anything else and I'm useless. I don't do high towers with glass observation areas or ferris wheels. LeLe and J still make fun of me covering my face as we drove over the bridge at Greenville, Mississippi. I would probably have been fine, had the bridge not traveled in such an arch. Yes, I would have preferred a straight-across bridge.

Once when I was very young, Mom took us to the school playground. There lived a metal climbing tower in this playground and it beckoned. I estimate it was fifteen feet high and had metal rungs on all four sides, leading up to the platform. I shimmied up those rungs in a heartbeat, reached the top and immediately froze in terror. I was so afraid I would fall trying to come down, that I became demented. I actually asked my mother if I could just jump down. I don't remember how long it took her to talk me down, but I remember the event as if it was yesterday.

Now how could I be afraid of a little mouse? They are so cute and adorable....unless they bite and spread not only pain but disease. I can't sleep if I have any inclination to believe there may be one in the room or wall. Once when I was very young (a pattern seems to be developing here) I spent the night with my family, at my grandparent's cabin on Saline River. Mice ran up and down the wall all night. I complained to my mother, who shooed me and told me to go to sleep. The next morning, she admitted one had crawled over her in the bed. OMG. One other time I was staying at a friend's house, watching her son for her while she was on a business trip. I could hear mice everywhere in the room and could not sleep for the fear of being touched by the creatures. I was restless and turned over in the bed, and I heard a very loud "PLUNK!" as one of them fell off the bed. Needless to say, I called my Dad and was told to come to the house. I didn't watch her child for her again.

Many would say that I am just weak and I allow people to use me as a doormat. I don't think I do. I honestly can not tolerate the thought that I am the cause of someone else's grief. I have never been able to think quickly enough to defend myself and so I become quiet. I lack the fortitude to stand my ground on pretty much anything. (Unless it was the time J was suspended for defending himself at school and I had to defend him) When normal people gather around two others who are having words, or are actually fighting physically, I run the other way. I leave the room. I agree with what I have to and get out of Dodge. It's how I'm made and it's how I cope.

Driving in heavy traffic and unfamiliar places
For some reason, if I don't know exactly where I'm going, and how to get there, I get very nervous. It's very inconvenient. I don't understand it, and it's a bit embarrassing. But, imagine how a claustrophobic feels in an elevator. That is how I feel if I find myself on an unfamiliar road and I'm not sure how I got there, or how I'm going to find my way back. When SR and I went shopping for a new vehicle, I test drove one in Little Rock. I drove down I630, comfortable in knowing where I was. In returning, I took the wrong exit back to the dealership. Imagine SR's fear as I totally freaked out at the stop light, because I didn't know where the stop sign was in relation to the dealership, and how was I going to get back, and what lane do I need to be in, and where do I turn.....well, you get the idea. This makes it very hard to enjoy myself if I have to drive anywhere.

Not death, because I am totally sure of where I'll be going when I leave. It's the mode of transportation that I fear. I think most Christians would admit the same. We would all love to die in our sleep, or be taken up with the Lord into the clouds. How many of us will actually experience that? Will I go in a car accident? A traumatic event? A terminal illness? I fear the pain and suffering. Any intelligent person would. But as the song asks, "I know where I'm going, don't you wanna come too?"

Nursing Homes
I know they are a wonderful thing. And I know they are not evil. In fact, they are a much needed option for many families. But I fear the residents. It's not hard for me to be around the elderly who are lucid and their bodies are just giving out. But I have no clue how to respond to someone who has dementia. Do you go along with them? Do you tell them they are crazy? Do you try to explain the truth? My grandmother's dementia was so severe in her last couple of years, that I had to make myself go see her occasionally, but never stayed more than a few minutes. I didn't know how to deal with her dream world.
I know sooner or later I'll wind up a resident. But I can't imagine anything worse than being in a place like that and in your right mind. The smells, the sounds, and the inability to make your own decisions is just heartbreaking. I hope when the time comes, I go the way of my grandmother. Maybe I'll believe my deceased husband has really just left me to live with a "spotted woman" and their newborn.

Those are my main fears. There are others, but they pale in comparison to these. You now have a good idea of how my mind really works....


LeLe said...

If I have anything to say about it, you will not go into a nursing home unless you get absolutely impossible to take care between J and me. Last resort. Hopeully, it won't come to that. I can't imagine losing my mind. If I lose everything else, I think I'd like to keep my mind.

B Lines said...

Well, thank you baby. But you never know what you will have to do. And I'd never want to be a burden to my loved ones. :) We'll let God take care of it. He reminded me after my post, that He doesn't give us a spirit of fear. And I agreed, I'd obtained it all on my own. ;)

Sooz said...

I fear snakes especially after we found a rattler under our deck last weekend. Yikes!
Your fear for the Greenville MS bridge can be subdued a bit. They have built a NEW bridge there and its beautiful, straight, with no hideous arches. I'll post a picture of it on Facebook that I took when we went to my aunt's house in Yazoo City. It looks like a sailboat.