Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Do You Fear?

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

That’s a big fat lie.

I mean, no disrespect to FDR or anyone else who has quoted him, but the fear I feel when a roach is 10 feet away from me is NOTHING compared to the trauma I experience when one touches my skin, or OMG, my hair!  Then there’s the heebie-jeebie aftershocks I suffer for hours afterwards. I just shake and squirm and squeal at the slightest touch of air on my skin. It’s just awful. So I will take my Katsaridaphobia(fear of roaches) any day over one actually touching me.

I think it’s fair to say that everyone knows fear of some kind. I used to think that people were taught to fear things, so I would make sure not to teach my kids to be fearful of anything. Well, I was wrong. Both my kids were born with the same horrifying fear their father has of any inanimate object with a face, especially one with eyes that move. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into my own bedroom to find an antique doll, given to me by my mom, turned to face the wall, because “It’s creepy.”  I spent $50 on a talking Elmo doll that has gone missing MANY TIMES at the hands of the man I married. My two little ones were born with that gene. They didn’t have to see it or hear it from their dad, they turned away from dolls the first time I showed them one.

I've had many fears in my life. Often ones that never came to be, and then there were the ones that I never thought I'd have. Ahem..melanoma.  Over the years, I’ve shed a few of my fears, like my Aviophobia (fear of flying), but I’ve held on to many. There’s my  Coulrophobia (fear of clowns), Pupaphobia (fear of puppets), Thanatophobia (fear of dying), Emetophobia (fear of vomiting),  and Oompaloompaphobia ( fear of tiny orange men with green hair singing freakish songs about naughty kids). Ok, the last one isn’t officially in any reference book or medical paper, but I have studies going, people. Trust me, it's REAL.

I’ve also picked up a few fears as I’ve gotten older-  Soteriophobia (dependence on others), Cancerophobia (self explanatory), Heliophobia (fear of the sun),  Flatoblongishbuttaphobia (the fear of mom jeans) Yes, I have more studies in the works to make this one official, and Gerascophobia ( fear of growing old).

This last one reminds me of what Hillary Fogelson at PaleGirlSPEAKS said in a Twitter conversation.

She is SO right!

I used to think as a child, that I would grow old gracefully. I loved my great aunt’s silver gray hair. I swore I would dye mine all silver/grey at the site of my first one. That one came earlier than I expected. At the first site of creases on the side of my eyes in my 20's, i started slathering the SPF 90 on my face daily. It was then I realized that growing old gracefully is SO not me.  There are times when I think it is a blessing that I don't make a lot of money, because if I did, I’d take permanent residence in some cosmetic surgeon's office fighting and kicking age all the way to the end.

It took me a LONG time to like myself and the way I look. It took even longer to feel pretty, so I am in NO hurry for my looks to change due to age, but as my brother always says,
"No one WANTS to get older, but the alternative is worse."

And there we go again.. we should be thrilled to grow old. We should embrace aging, while fighting it with some good, strong SPF. You didn't think I would succumb completely did you? 

I wish I had thought about aging as I sat out in the sun trying to get darker. I wish someone had shown me a picture of the sun damage that was UNDER my skin already. I saw one, in my mid 20's, and that's when I started wearing sunscreen daily, not just at the beach. If you're not afraid of skin cancer (which you should be), then at least think about your looks. If I can get you to protect yourself based on vanity, I will shamelessly do it.  I don't want you to end up adding "dying of cancer" to your list of fears.

I'm still working on my fears. I figure I won't be able to shake most of the ones I've had long term,  HoweverI can safely assure you that I will never learn to embrace an Oompa Loompa.  Besides, those old ones aren't really a threat anymore. It's the new ones that I deal with mostly- the fear of the "C" word coming back, the fear of the sun eating me alive, and the fear of looking like a grandma, when I still want to "shake what my mamma gave" me.

 I invite you all to work on your fears with me. Share them and how you deal with them, if you'd like.  I'll keep you posted on how I am doing, and if you see me in some "mom jeans" I expect you to call me out, ok?

As always, thank you for reading. Until next time, practice safe sun!

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