On Fears and Phobias
1 archaic : frighten
2 archaic : to feel fear in (oneself)
3 : to have a reverential awe of
4 : to be afraid of : expect with alarm
: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.
There are certain things that scare a lot of people. I, for example, am terrified of snakes. My mom read The Swiss Family Robinson to me as a kid, and the scene where the snake swallows the donkey...lets just say that I had nightmares for the next decade. Not all related to that book, I'm sure, but reoccurring nightmares about snakes.
I'm slightly afraid of heights, but more from a...I could fall off of here...perspective, rather than a just I'm afraid of being high up fear. Like, I'm not afraid of going up on The Sears Tower or the Eiffel Tower, but afraid of looking off the side of the Grand Canyon where there's no guard rail. I do know people who are just scared of heights.
I'm slightly claustrophobic, besides my snake dreams I also suffer from a reoccurring dream where I wake up and I can't move. Then I fight my paralysis and realize that I didn't wake up, I woke up in my dream, and wasn't really awake...see what I mean? It's a terrible dream. I think that writing my last book brought out my claustrophobia a bit.
The last thing that I'm afraid of is contagion. I am terrified of cancer. Terrified. And terrified of other diseases, particularly that my kids could catch. I'm getting ready to use this fear in a book, and I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it.
I'm not sure that any of my fears are (on the surface) irrational...but the amount of nightmares, night terrors, and anxiety that I've suffered at different times in my life makes me think that I might be a neurotic mess.
So, what are your fears, and what do our fears teach us about life, and what does literature teach us about what these fears and phobias teach us about life?