I’m afraid! Of what you may ask? Spiders! Arachnophobia is
defined as an extreme or irrational fear of spiders. Millions upon millions of
people have the exact same fear, arachnophobia. This is because spiders are
nasty, horrible and deadly creatures. Their unattractiveness is unpleasant to
see and their bite stings like hell.
My fear of spiders truly began when I was 5 years old. Most of the adults in the room were too busy
with their important conversations to pay any attention to what I was doing. So
I sat on the ground. However I would say
it was not the most auspicious moment to leave a young child on their own; as I
remember something dark and fuzzy caught my attention. I twisted and turned and
did not notice anything at first but, needless to say, a spider had descended
from the ceiling on an invisible silver-like thread of web and was now hanging
mere inches in front of my face. Twirling, whirling, slowly and maliciously it
continued its slow descent to my lap. The tears were fast and furious. From
then on the penny had dropped: I was petrified of spiders.
As a teenager, obviously I have managed to curb my initial
impulse to scream repeatedly and loudly. However depending on the proximity and
the size of the spider and if it happens
to be dangling a couple of centimetres away from my face then the occasional
yelp will sneak out; and I will make my quick escape.
The desire to remove the spider in a quick and silent manner,
once I’m done fleeing, is irrepressibly strong (I need a happy and tranquil
mind that is free of all spider thoughts). That being said, my intense fear of
spiders is too strong and prevents me from doing the deed of killing them. So,
to solve my problem, I usually enlist the bravery of those around me. I have no
shame, whatsoever, in admitting that I still make my parents kill spiders for
me. I have no shame in making them murderers. I even make my little sisters
dispose of the eight-legged beasties that crawl late at night in my room.
I know it is like a fairytale when one of my family members
comes into the room as a metaphorical knight in shining armour and wields a
weapon of bug-spray and tissue against the eight legged horror. However it is
almost an impossibility for me to re-enter the room without my mind floating
back to the spider. I anticipate its imminent arrival on my flesh. I need to
relax my mind to feel completely comfortable.
Although it is comforting knowing the spider has met its end;
my need to show machismo shines, unlike the octo-leggers dangling on an
invisible thread of gossamer, my need grows and changes. The idea of knowing
the fragile body of the mutilated web-spinner has been crushed beyond repair
give me solace, however it will be more comforting knowing I crushed the spider
myself. I don’t need to see the physical broken corpse, I need to see justice.
For the spindly intruder has disturbed my personal space. I tread a fine line
between wanting to destroy the spider myself and needing to be far enough so
that the scutter can’t get to me.
On my list of irrational fears, the eight-legged creature is
high. Trying to explain why is pointless.
Trying to explain why a tiny, defenceless, creature is terrifying to you
to a passionate spider lover usually ends in a one-way conversation. I know
most would say I am overreacting but phobias make you feel impulsive, not
logical. Phobias are irrational and unexplainable, yet they control most lives.
Sometimes I feel I’m engaging in a dance of stupidity. Why I
haven’t I been able to curb my personal fears of spiders? Will this fear
forever rule my life? Eleanor Roosevelt, a former first lady of the United
States of America, once said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence
by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are
able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next
thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
So that is what I decided to do, I decided to do the thing I feared most, visit
a room full of spiders…
Recently, while on holiday I went to the American Museum of
Natural History. They were having a special spiders display. I thought maybe
seeing a variety of different spiders such as the Tarantula, pholcidae
,latrodectus, phoneutria, would help me overcome my fears. However when it came
to approaching the gangly spiders, I knew I couldn’t stay. Seeing them crawl,
creep and move with no one having a care in the world, watching them for pleasure,
made my skin crawl! My sister was a prime example of a simple spider lover. She
had this notion that spiders couldn’t hurt you that they were more friend than
foe. She skipped around the room like Christmas had come early. The creatures
seemed to dance with her as they attached themselves to her fragile feet,
moving to the sound of her dear voice and making their way to her delicate
fingertips. She stroked them like they were her dear pets and whispered secrets
that I couldn’t have possibly known into their micro sized ears. I’m sure if I
wasn’t around she would have kept a spider in her room as a miniscule pet. She
would make a great vet one day.
Alternatively, for me, the idea of one of these spiders
caressing my hands and feet while I touched their skin and whispered my secrets
in their ears, made me want to shiver. I left the vicinity with my feelings in
check. I was definitely still afraid of
Maybe my fear will go, maybe my fear will stay, all I know is
I wanted to scutter away!