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03 July 2010

Pathological Fears

We all have fears. Some rational and learned. Like fire and pain. We know those things suck so we often avoid them. However some of our fears are completely irrational. Like the fear of murder. Why would we fear being murdered? We know it's a bad thing but it hasn't happened to us (obviously, since we are still alive and breathing). I thought that I would share my irrational fear with you all in the hopes of making it seem silly enough to get over it.

So, what is my most irrational and uncontrollable fear? Scroll down to see the answer.

The praying mantis is THE MOST TERRIFYING thing I have ever encountered. I don't know why I am so afraid of them and I can't seem to control it. I distinctly remember as a child being fascinated by them. The first time I ever saw one was in my grandmother's yard. It was huge (to my child eyes) and it was amazing. (Side note: I also wanted to be an entomologist when I was a child so I had no real fear of any creepy crawling bugs or anything. Not sure when that changed. Probably around the time I discovered high heels and dresses and makeup and jewelry. Bugs don't seem to go well with those things.) It was probably five or six inches long, and I remember just sitting there and watching it for as long as I could. Praying mantises (manti?) are also more rare in the north given that the temperatures are often much cooler during the summer than they are in other places. Since I moved to NC, I've encountered more praying manti (I'm going with "manti." I like it.) than ever before in all my years in NY.

Either way, at some point unknown to me, I became terrified of these creatures ... no matter the size or circumstance. They absolutely give me the "heebie-jeebies." I start sweating. I run away. I get nervous and can feel tears welling up inside me. I have to get as far away as possible without letting it out of my sight because those little bastards are FAST and I want to know where it is at all times. Preferably as far away as possible.

Since I moved to the new apartment for the new job, I seem to be in a hot bed of praying manti. Joy. That certainly WAS NOT on the move-in application. I've noticed that, both this summer and last, there is always a praying mantis on my basil plant. Who knew they liked basil? Well, I haven't done anything about it it except avoid the basil plant. If I need to trim some leaves for a meal, I kind of whack the plant with a towel or something to knock the praying mantis off. It's a little guy. When I first noticed him, he was all of a half an inch long. In the past weeks, he has grown considerably. He is now almost two full inches long. Which doesn't seem like a lot, but, when you are terrified of something, that two inches seems like fifty. Anyway, he's been hanging out on the basil, and I have avoided his as best as possible. A few weeks ago I was out in the herb garden and I brushed up against the basil. I instantly felt something crawling on me and looked over my shoulder. The praying mantis was ON MY SHOULDER LOOKING AT ME!! I completely freaked out and almost fell to me death trying to get it off of me. The Boy saw the entire thing and almost died from laughter. I felt gross and uncomfortable for the rest of the day, constantly checking my shoulder and arm to make sure he was gone.

And I haven't seen him since. Until yesterday. To prepare for some building maintenance, I needed to pull all of my plants into the patio and away from the exterior walls. No big. I brought them all in and didn't even think about the praying mantis since I hadn't seen him for at least a week and a half. All the plants were safely inside, and The Boy and I were preparing to grill some chicken and make dinner. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a little flash of neon green. I look over and the praying mantis is running along my clothes bars! I totally freaked out. I was yelling for The Boy to do something, but my words weren't making sense and I couldn't speak clearly. I was sweating and trying to get inside without moving my eyes from the praying mantis' spot. My hands were trembly and my stomach wanted to explode. Such a visceral response! When I finally got my point across, he said, "Give me a shoe." I said, "You can't kill it!" He was completely confused as to what I expected him to do. I don't know why but I felt bad in killing it I just wanted it as far away from me as possible.

Well, he killed it. There was a neon green smear on the outdoor carpeting, and he cleaned it up. I felt a little better but a little guilty that it was killed.

So, there you have it. My completely irrational and unnecessary fear of a small insect. I'm not like that with other bugs. I don't like them, of course, but I don't have such a pathological fear of them. I don't know where this comes from or how it got this bad, but it is almost debilitating. Happily, praying manti aren't something I see every day (any more) so I should be in the clear.
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