The things that scare us most

Last night we hung out with some friends and over the course of the night I had a long and possibly drunken conversation about the things that scare us most.

It came up because my friend was sharing a conversation she'd had with another friend about what their fears when it comes to death--i.e., what would be the worst way to die?

For my friend that worst death amounted to drowning (I think I'm remembering that correctly. Again, possibly drunk). Her husband feared strangulation. Cory said he thought about drowning in his car if it went over a bridge.

As I sat there nursing a vodka tonic I could not think of that which frightened me most. I mean, I don't want to die, period, so death in general just seems fucking awful. I'd file death by stabbing or dismemberment or any other sort of torture under "least favorable" options but, call me naive, I don't particularly fear those deaths because I don't necessarily think they're going to happen to me.

I don't really fear death at all, I think. Which is likely only because I've never actually come close to it.

Which doesn't mean that I always only fear very real, tangible, possible, statistically probable things. Quite the opposite, actually.

It’s just that fear doesn't follow easy patterns. There's the kind of fear that comes from when horrible things happen -the bad health of yourself or a loved one; being struck by a car, getting robbed, finding yourself destitute and homeless.

And then there are the kinds of fears that nest in your psyche and although they may be rooted in veritable Bad Shit situations, often they're really just mental mindfucks that feed on insecurities, personal quirks, impressions and those bits of your mind that are difficult to parse.

Fear doesn't thrive on logic, it festers in a hothouse fertilized with batshit insanity, heart-strangling, soul-fed terror, and all things irrational.

For example when I was in the third grade I watched an episode of Battlestar Galactica that had some sort of space alien vampire character who killed people in a vampire-like manner.

That episode terrified me and I spent probably the next three months sleeping so that I could face a certain corner of my bedroom because I was convinced this space alien vampire lived in that corner and would attack me if I turned my back.

Not exactly a rational fear. I mean, I was 8, but still.

My fear of spiders is, arguably, slightly more reasonable. It's nurtured by a childhood viewing of Kingdom of the Spiders. Stupid, cheesy movie that imprinted a life-long anxiety even though most spiders aren't poisonous and/or plotting to take over my town.

Still, I'm not really scared that I'm going to die by spider--I just scream a little scream when I encounter one in the house.

Other things of which I'm scared, irrationally or otherwise:

  • Sitting still in a Ferris wheel. If the wheel is moving, I'm fine. But if we're just sitting there, motionless and staring at the ground far, far below--cue the panic attack.
  • Going way too fast down the freeway and having the vehicle lose control. I have a lot of bad dreams involving this scenario.
  • Parties where I don't really know anyone.
  • Falling off the side of a cliff. Actually, that one's happened. I have scars.
  • Being lost in the middle of nowhere with nothing to guide me home. I mean, really lost, not just Google maps lost.
  • Losing my cats to some sort of horrible accident (house fire, etc).
  • Bees. I'm allergic.
  • Losing an arm or a leg. Or losing mobility. The thought of losing my independence terrifies me in fact.
  • Being awful to someone I love.
  • Losing someone I love.
  • Losing Cory. That would be the absolute worst of the worst. Period.


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