Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What are you afraid of?

My ultimate fear has always been walking on to the stage in the middle of the second act with the lines memorized for an entirely different play. Most of this life I have been a relative innocent who wakes up with panic about having forgotten to return a library book on time and sure they are coming to get me. I also believe anytime I get stopped by a police officer and he runs me through wants and warrants he will find something. And my arrest for either incident will wind up as the headline for the day in bigger font and above a mass shooting by an annihilator with an AK 47.

Totally irrational fears.

I have always believed nobody else has such irrational fears. Yesterday I watched a someone almost crumble over having to make a telephone call because she was terrified she did not know what to say. I patiently coached her in what to ask and what to say and all the time felt I was giving her the wrong advice. I ended up making the call because I would rather jump off the cliff than send a friend over the edge.

Maybe it is my previous lifetimes being questioned by the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem Witchcraft trials, but I awake from dreams in a sweat and desperately trying to find the right answers to questions that have no right answers like, "When did you stop eating children for breakfast?" My nightmares are making wrong decisions about which room to enter. Monsters and ghosts and mummies walking have never scared me. I can see the zipper in the back of the Monster from the Black Lagoon.

So it was no surprise to me at 2:30 a.m. that the nightmare was about forgetting what commitments I had made this week and already forgotten. Try as I might to snuggle back into the new pillows and the layered quilts held down by faithful fur kids I had to get up and check my calendar.  Everything in the future was carefully noted and nothing had been missed.

But seeing a friend have some of my same insecurities had not been reassuring. Instead it made me all that much more fearful. Maybe there was something to fear. Maybe you can wind up in Gitmo being asked questions you cannot answer because you accidentally called the wrong number and asked the wrong question. Such fears have no zippers that are visible.

What are you most afraid of?


  1. Well written. Generally my dreams (and nightmares) can be traced back to what I read or watched or heard during the day. Then there are the recurring nightmares that I've had all my life - one that I know is linked to a childhood trauma. The other nightmare is me walking through a house - sometimes my house, sometimes a strange house - in the dark. I try to turn on the lights but they don't work. Trying to find the light in the dark. Now that's a topic!

  2. Being my authentic self... because I know my past and I fear it will come to haunt me in unpleasant ways. I have a wonderful aunt who is helping me to realize I cannot change anything, or anyone (which is a "duh"), and what is, is what is... so I can simply live my life as happy and fulfilled as possible. A difficult task, but possible.

  3. My biggest fear is heights. I can't be around high open spaces. I have no idea where this fear originates but it manifests itself with very vivid physical symptoms that just adds to the fear. I just avoid putting myself in situations where height is involved....I can't seem to "think" myself out of this fear so I manage within my limitations.
    I think everyone has some sort of fear...some based on rational facts and others that seem to be the product of our brains without much logic behind them.

  4. I always think of you as this strong, confident woman! My biggest fear: Being burnt at the stake, after being tortured. But I don't dream about it. I do have dreams about being in a class, and not having a clue about what went before, and being on the way home from work, or to work, when memory just gives out. As a child I was terrified of the dark. I might be more scared about the corners of my own mind if I lived alone.


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