Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Hookah Smoking Caterpillar

“'What do you fear my lady?' (said Aragorn)
'A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.'” (said Eowyn)  -- J. R. R. Tolkien

I am not afraid of spiders, snakes, lizards, mice, caterpillars, and other critters. I dislike them and find some of them repellant, but I am not afraid of them.

My husband thinks otherwise, because if he is home and one of those big wood spiders jumps out of nowhere, I will ask him to remove it. But who does he think gets rid of them when he isn't home? I do. I pick them up with a tissue and toss them outside.

In my time I have beaten off attacks by snakes, removed mice from traps, and taken on the creepy things of the natural world that make me shudder. These creatures are yucky, but they do not frighten me.

I grow nervous if I must speak in public, but it is not fear, it is too much self-awareness. I do not like the idea of growing old, but it does not frighten me. It is what it is. I certainly cannot stop it. Unlike Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I think I shall always rattle the cage bars, and never accept them. As for valor, well, I don't think valor is something we can all experience. I am not sure I would recognize it if I did experience it.

The things that frighten me are taller, walk on two legs, and generally do not use the brain they have between their ears. People and their actions scare me more than anything Mother Nature can toss at me (even three feet of snow).

My fellow countrymen appeared to be afraid of many things these days. Fear is palatable in the grocery store, on TV, in the high voices of media moderators who seem to constantly be screaming that the end is nigh. We fear our own government. We fear the police. We fear terrorism. We fear . . . everything.

I am most afraid of something happening to my husband, leaving me alone and lonely, and perhaps in a bad spot financially. Since I am not well, I would have to rely upon the proceeds from the sale of our home (which could take a while), and whatever insurance I receive.

My biggest fear in that event is losing my food and shelter, and then being alone, living under some bridge, wrapped up in newspapers to keep warm. Perhaps dying a painfully slow death on a freezing, moonless night, with snow covering me. I do fear that.

I also fear being mugged, beaten, and raped. I fear being shot with a gun and I am afraid of people with guns, unless I know them well. I fear people who need something to make them feel stronger, tougher, and safer, because they obviously are in need of some kind of help.

I would not like to die by drowning, and sometimes when my asthma is bad and I can't breathe, I worry about dying from lack of air. But I don't fear it, because I am more afraid of being hurt and/or incapacitated than I am of dying. One might argue that I am afraid of pain. I certainly don't like it.

My dreams generally are nightmares - frequently, night terrors. I dream of demons, evil people, dark and demented statues coming to life, aliens coming to steal the life from the planet, and maniacs running around with blood dripping from their fingers. I wake up screaming or crying. Are these secret fears? My way of dealing with the world around me? I have never known. These horrible dreams have been with me for as long as I can recall.

We should all examine our fears every now and again. Sometimes I take mine out and ponder them. Occasionally I discard one or two, sometimes new ones appear and then I must chase after them.

The best way I have found to deal with fears is to stay in the present. Stop and examine my surroundings, check my body for what it is feeling, probe my overworked brain and see what I find. This calms me and allows me to make decisions from a rational and logical position.

Fear is very strong. It stops us in our tracks. Fight it if you can.


  1. Oh my I have some of those same fears. My hubby laughs at me when I say I fear becoming a bag lady. You express yourself very well and enjoyed your post. LJ


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