Monday, November 7, 2011

How do you know who you are?

Image from  here.
Not long ago, a friend and I were talking about our worst fears.

One of my worst fears is that I will run over someone. I'm sure everyone has this fear but sometimes, while driving, I have these obsessive compulsive moments when my mind wanders and I literally shiver at the thought. And when I say shiver I mean it's more like a momentary seizure.

Besides the obvious reasons, I'm curious about why this is such a strong fear for me. Fear intrigues me. I once read a terrific essay by a grown man who was terrified, I mean completely horrified, by cats. He could not go near them. He would shake. Vomit. Black out. Then one summer he returned to his childhood home to visit family and an Aunt inquired if he remembered his pet cat. Flabbergasted, he could't believe he once owned a cat. She explained that the cat loved him and followed him around constantly. Incredulous, the bile rose in his throat. His Aunt then told him that, when he was about four, he returned from playing in the yard and skipped smiling onto her veranda with the cat in his arms. His ears ringing, he waited to hear what happened next. Then his Aunt revealed that the cat had obviously been dead long enough that it was in full rigor mortis. Disgusted, she screamed and tore it out of his arms and flung it as far as she could. He had no recollection of the incident but it explained everything about his fear.

Is fear less about the cause and more about the effect?

So what's my hidden backstory? I mean I know why I'm afraid of turkeys (who isn't?) but what's the deal with my excessive fear of running over something. Especially since I have plenty of experience with this already. Things I've run over:
-tent caterpillars
-one garter snake (with the lawnmower; it was pure carnage)
-two dogs (worst experiences ever)
-one kitten (I apologize.)
-one water pipe with the lawnmower again (It killed the mower's motor but I sorta thought I got away with it until I restarted the mower and proceeded down the lawn but then noticed the mower spitting out parts of itself; it was like lawnmower cannibalism but even the lawnmower felt wrong about it.)
-other stuff I probably don't know about *shudders*

Despite these experiences, my fear probably has more to do with the time I was run over. Let's just say one of my brothers was operating a snowmobile "recklessly." Fortunately the snow was deep enough there was no physical damage.

However, I did pee my pants.

That's it isn't it? (Insert epiphany here.) My real fear is that I will pee my pants. Hmm. Could that really be it? I'm going to have to think about that for a while.

This reminds me of that saying, "I write because that's how I know who I am." So true.


Alittlesprite said...

I am glad to say I have not ran over anything as of yet. I think you are remembering the trauma of the time you got ran over maybe?
A kitten? (oh my) *trembly lip*

Sometimes fears just can't be explained. Why am I scared of feathers? who the hell knows...

Alistair said...

I'm sitting here thinking about this and I don't even think I can put my worst fear on paper. That makes me realise just how scared of it I am.


I'm not going to.

Just that decision makes me feel a lot better. Phew.

Pickleope said...

So your fear is that you'll run over someone and pee yourself?
You are carnage incarnate behind the wheel though. With that kill list, this may not be that irrational a fear.

tinsenpup said...

I do have similar fears, but they are utterly unspeakable.

I also have koumpounophobia. You'll have to look that up if you want to know what it is. I don't even like to write the word. As far as phobias go, it's a pretty odd one. I don't think it came about as the result of trauma.

Fashionably Late said...

I have a similar fear of running something over...but it's more of a fear of something darting out in front of me and the horrendous accident that may ensue...we have so many deer that love to leap out at the last second. When I see one, I freeze and can hardly breathe until I've passed it - praying with all my might it will NOT decide to venture into my path suddenly.
I've also got a kill list about the size of yours. :( And tons of near misses. I'm always very shaken by them all!

Michael said...

Wouldn't it be great to be rich enough to see a psychoanalyst every week? I would love it.

You made me laugh and think today.


Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Selina Kingston said...

Gosh, this is amazing. I have just come back from shopping and I nearly ran over an old man who just stepped out into the road. He just smiled as I braked suddenly but I haven't been able to stop shaking since. How strange to then read this.

Nicole said...

Maybe you need to run over a toilet. I have no idea how this helps, but oh the flying porcelain would be something.

Mel said...

I love that saying about writing. Fear intrigues me, too. Cause and effect get so intertwined. Apparently, many of us dwell on this matter. A few useful rock quotes to aid in the thought process (or terrify you more):

"That which you fear the most could meet you halfway." - Victoria Wiliams
"What you fear is what you find" -Bush
"What you fear in the night in the day comes to call anyway." - Counting Crows

karensomethingorother said...

Well I know why I'm freaked about spiders. Thanks dad.

wendy said...

I've been trying to figure out who I am for the last 60 years.
I have enough fears to allow therapists to do thesis's on them.

I am afraid of heights, I always dream I am in a car, going over the edge of something, plummeting to my death. Good Grief. How awful.
hopefully, knock on wood, it is just a silly dream.

I keep thinking the things we experience in life are like "bucket lists" of a sorta (whether we wanted them or not, they just ARE)
I have already been in a head-on car collision when I was 17
I figure I should be ALLOWED to cross that one off my list.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Fear is the mind killer.

Anonymous said...

What a great post, DBS. I've been too lazy or too scared to examine the root of my irrational fears (spiders, for one)so chalk it up to past lives and leave it at that. And also, what Alistair said:-)

Lance said...

What a really good post. It starts stream of consciousness then goes into a really good point about writing.

I laughed and thought...good job

Teachinfourth said...

Bill Cosby always said that that's what he thought an accident was...

Lori said...

You have just reminded me why I love to blog, and left me feeling a little blue that I don't have more time to do so--both the reading and writing ends. This was a marvelous post. I love the *boxers* post below, too...funny, and definitely deserving of the stink eye. I'm adding you to my faves and will visit whenever I'm not completely covered up with diapers, drool, laundry, and theology texts.

Karen Peterson said...

I ran over someone once. It was pretty traumatic.

Thankfully, I didn't pee my pants, and I don't think she did either.

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