List Your Fears!

TODAY’S BREW: This Christmas coconut thing from Bones Coffee

By Julie

Well, the reoccurring nightmare of losing all the teeth is coming true in bits and pieces. I know these suckers are supposed to last a lifetime but in my head, their design seems to be all wrong. Today is a good day to play LIST YOUR FEARS!

List Your Fears!

that’s me on the far left. not your left, my left.

List your fears for no cash or consolation prizes!

In no particular order, here is my purge list of terrors.

  • Losing all my teeth. I don’t think this is uncommon, but apparently for me, it is also a reality as I keep breaking the bastards just doing regular stuff. Or I wake up with them loose. Because of course. But I did the responsible thing and made a dentist appointment, which also conquers my fears of being judged by the dentist aaaaaand…
  • Telephones. Nobody likes the phone, but I have a genuine fear of phone calls. I got rid of a landline before it was cool because the sound of the phone ringing terrified me. I will do anything to avoid making a phone call. I very rarely answer the phone. If I have to make more than one phone call in a day, I’m left exhausted and literally need a nap and decompression time.
  • Hearing my name called in anything but an overly friendly voice. If you’re yelling for me for something, it had better be “Hey, Jules,” or I will internally panic.
  • Hornets and wasps. It used to be just a general “bees” fear, which encompassed anything of yellow and black coloration that would sting me. In my defense, I have been stung about a million times. However, I did this Batman-type-falling-into-the-cave-full-of-bats thing where I went to a beekeeper’s hive and they were all around me. This was a big deal because I used to have to shut my eyes when that scene in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids came on where they rode the giant bees or whatever they did with them. (Not entirely sure, eyes shut, remember?) Now, I love regular old bees. I even had one that lived in a tiny little birdhouse last summer on my porch! I am fully aware that my life is dependent upon bees, but then again that doesn’t have much to do with fear, now does it? Fear happens no matter what the RATIONALE is. Now I see bees as my totem of strength. A reminder that I can be afraid of something but that doesn’t make it stronger than me. Wasps and hornets can burn in a fire, though.
  • Death. This is the big one. I’m terrified of people suddenly dying, of not knowing when it will happen, of what to do next, of handling the particulars, of being alone. I’m afraid of my own death, too, like the rest of humanity. I’m not necessarily afraid it will hurt, my tolerance is insanely high. I’m afraid of just being GONE. And I’m afraid that my family won’t know what to do when I’m gone. Clearly, being self-important is not one of my fears. (Shameless plug: In RUNNING HOME, my first book, Eliza is crippled by her fear of death and comes to find out that her reason for existing is to become living death, therefore defeating it in the most romanticized and cool way ever. Hence, I become my own therapist. BUY MY BOOK, IT HAS GREAT REVIEWS.

I guess this post has become more about how I’ve dealt with fear and that I’m not okay being afraid of things. One might even say I’m afraid of being afraid. I am what one would probably describe as “fearless” by nature–there’s not a lot I won’t try, I’m “brave” to the point of idiocy, and I do stuff other people only think of doing. But in truth, I’m afraid of my own limits. I’m TERRIFIED, actually, of finding out I cannot do a thing. I’ll go off-script (as if any of this post or anything I do has a script), and say for the first time on record something that I have always known and is intrinsically important in my life: In all my martial arts training, in all my competing, I could have done better. I was afraid of failing, and then I failed a lot. I was afraid of finding out I just wasn’t going to be good enough, no matter how hard I worked at it, and if maybe I didn’t do as well as I could have that there would always be a next time.

WHOA. I’ve said too much. My therapist might be out of a job.

Back to the original point which was that I have dealt with my fears in one way or another. Walked into the beehive. Wrote a book about my fear of death (also addressing another fear of mine which is having my personal feelings and thoughts read), I made the dentist appointment–also forcing myself to talk on the phone. Still hate it. But it’s not always about facing fears. I will still run when I see a hornet. I will always avoid the phone if at all possible. I’ll tell people to call me Jules if they have to call for me. Other times I just won’t tell them that and I’ll suffer the shaking that subsequently occurs. I’m still terrified of death. I still think what if this is the left turn that gets me killed? and what if I died tomorrow, what would my family do? and what if everyone else died, what would I do? but I acknowledge it, and live with it. I try to make it better by being a person that does good things and is forgiving and helpful and will leave a mark on this world. I still refuse to die any other way than by T-rex or Great White. I mean, there’s no PROOF I’m not immortal–I haven’t died yet. Maybe I’ll live long enough where I get to choose the method, who knows? Maybe I am the mad scientist who figures that out. What I can say is that fear is part of life and it has no solution. Where one fear stops, another begins. We evolve with it, we make do, we press forward or we lose. I refuse to lose.

I still don’t get a cash prize though, do I?

Tell me your fears! Pretty please. It helps.

Published by Julie Hutchings, Pretty Scary Author

I write scary stories with pretty insides. Mythology-twisting author and editor, reptile hoarder, coffee drinker, harpy. Author of The Vampires of Fate and The Harpy.

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