The other day, I found myself looking at my cell phone as it rang, and I was terrified. It was a number I did not have saved in my phone, and I was overcome with anxiety and fear at not knowing who the person was or why they were calling. Then all of a sudden, I realized how totally unreasonable that was. I started thinking about all of my other random fears and the little things that cause me anxiety on a regular basis. There’s, um, kind of a lot. And most of them are really stupid. But it’s my blog so I write what I want.
1. The dark
Yup, I’m afraid of the dark. Always have been, always will be. Starting from the time I was very small, any time I am in the dark, I can’t help but imagine that there are people (and yes, they were always people, never monsters) lurking in the dark, waiting to attack me. I could be in a completely empty room with the lights on, and if you turn the lights off, I will immediately become panicked and think that there are terrifying kidnappers/murderers/rapists in the room with me. When AJ and I go to bed at home, I go upstairs first and make AJ follow behind me to turn off the lights after I leave the room. If I have to go through a dark room or hallway, I run. I know this is totally insane and I need to leave my 5 year old self behind, but I can’t. I’m 27 going on 5.
2. Opening presents in front of people
I absolutely despise opening gifts in front of the people that have given them to me. I can’t deal with it. I am not very good at hiding how I feel about things, so I have this fear that I will not like the gift someone has worked so hard to pick out and that they will be able to tell. I never want to hurt people’s feelings (especially when they’re giving me stuff, obviously), so I get really nervous anytime gifts are exchanged. In my ideal world, I would be able to just take my presents home, open them there, and then call and tell everyone how much I liked them. Unfortunately, most people think the best part of giving someone a present is watching their reaction when they receive it, so this is pretty much never allowed.
3. My birthday
Unlike most people, I don’t dislike my birthday for the obvious reasons. I don’t mind getting older. I never feel any different on my birthday, so whatever. I have anxiety about my birthday because I don’t want anyone to feel compelled to plan something or do something nice for me on it, and I don’t want to be disappointed in the activities of the day. For example, this year, I planned to run the Kiawah Marathon the day before my birthday. AJ was
extremely slightly offended that I didn’t want to spend my birthday weekend with him (note: not true, I would have spent the whole thing with him except during the race), and brought up that he wanted to plan something for us to do together, which obviously would not be running. This caused me an unreasonable amount of stress. I didn’t want him to feel obligated to plan something. I didn’t want to be disappointed if he planned something I didn’t want to do, and then I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by showing him said disappointment. Insane, right? Well, I eventually agreed, and he ended up planning a great weekend. He insists that in the future, I will have less stress about it because I will trust him and his taste in activities, but I’m not so sure. I’ve spent my whole life worrying, why stop now?
My hair is so long because haircuts terrify me, plain and simple. Again, I realize this is the fear of a child, but I don’t care. When I was in the 8th grade, I decided I wanted to cut my hair shorter. Well, for some reason known only to Satan himself, I went back again to get my hair cut even shorter at the urging of T-Rex Mom, who assured me during the cutting process that it was “so cute.” It was not so cute. It was so awful. I looked like a boy. My classmates had an absolute field day. Since then, I have loathed hair cuts. It’s not to say I never get them, but I refuse to look in the mirror during the cutting process. Every time I go to a hair stylist and ask them to cut exactly one inch, no more, no less, off my hair, you should see the eye roll I get. “But you would look so cute with an angled bob! What about some bangs?” So help me God, there will be NO angled bob.
The video below is slightly irrelevant, extremely profane, and really awesome. It’s a throwback.
5. Being buried alive
You’re probably thinking that this is the first of my list of fears that is actually pretty reasonable, but just wait. I promise you it is not. Ok, so obviously I am afraid of being buried alive and I think that’s pretty legit. It seems like an unpleasant way to die. However, my fear of being buried alive has led to a unique set of funeral requirements that I have created for myself and explained in detail to my family and to AJ, who I’m pretty sure still think I’m kidding. I’M NOT KIDDING. For one, I do not want to be cremated. What if my heart is just beating reallllllly slowly, but I’m still breathing and alive? Can’t take that risk. As such, I do not want to be buried underground. First of all, I’m pretty sure coffins are super claustrophobic, and second of all, that’s entirely too much dirt between me and the air. Now I know what you’re saying – “Danielle, they’re going to drain your blood anyway, so you’ll definitely be dead.” WRONG, because I will not allow them to do so, on the off chance I might still be alive! The blood stays. I would like to be placed gently in a spacious above ground room with some type of alert system in case I wake up. You never know, ok? You never know.
I realize this is completely unreasonable and possibly insane. Sorry I’m not sorry. There’s even a medical term for it, which I just learned while googling for images! It’s taphephobia.
6. Getting phone calls from numbers I don’t know
I’m pretty sure I actually do know the cause of this, and it’s my own fault. A long time ago, back when I lived in Maryland, I broke my apartment lease and moved to South Carolina to take a job here. In order to do that, the apartment complex wanted a lot more money than I had at the time, and I couldn’t afford to pay it, so I spoke to the office and thought I made an agreement with them that they found acceptable. Well, I guess not, because I started getting collection calls at all hours of the day that absolutely terrified me. I have always had good credit and I never miss a payment on anything. As it turns out, they hadn’t even turned the account over to collections in the first place, but to this day, I panic every time I see a number I don’t know because I’m convinced I somehow forgot to pay for something and someone is calling to yell at me about it. This happened 4 years ago! It still stresses me out.
7. Holding babies
I wouldn’t say that I don’t like kids, because that’s not accurate. It’s more that I’m afraid of them. Children are unpredictable. They randomly break into cries and screams. They kick and scream on the ground if you don’t buy them candy in the grocery store. The younger the kid, the more terrifying I find them. As such, I will not hold any child that cannot hold up their own head. I can’t deal with the pressure. I do not want to be responsible for messing up some child’s chances of becoming the next President of the United States because I inadvertently caused them brain damage by inappropriately supporting their head. Once a kid can hold up their own head, we’re good to go. Even then, I don’t like to hold them for too long. They can poop at will.
I’ve mentioned before that I am afraid of birds, but terrified would really be a more appropriate description. Birds are tiny dinosaurs that can fly. What is good about that? They have razor sharp beaks and they can peck you at any time. They can poop on you for target practice. I was attacked by seagulls when I was younger (ok, I was 16, but it has stayed with me!) and even today, birds can sense my fear and they follow me everywhere! When I travel for work, I always stay at the same hotel in Charleston. This hotel has a population of ducks that inhabit the surrounding canals and often enter the parking lot. These birds literally see me pulling into the parking lot and make a beeline for my car. I do not exaggerate. I will sit in my car and wait until they go after some other unsuspecting person before I get out of my car. If I am exiting the hotel, I make one of the hotel employees walk me out and scare away the birds. I spend enough money at that hotel throughout the year that I do not feel at all bad for requiring this additional attention, and I like to think the hotel staff find this quirk of mine tremendously endearing.
Again, this may be a fear that you find reasonable. However, what is interesting about this is that I have absolutely no fear whatsoever of any bugs, snakes, reptiles, etc. Things that most other people are afraid of, I have no problem with, but there is something about mice that just really grosses me out. I have had the misfortune of having a mouse in my house while I lived by myself, and I was so disturbed by the thought of this tiny creature eating my food that I became the Chuck Norris of mice murder, determined to exact justice on this furry thief. So effective were my methods that I had killed the mouse within 6 hours of setting out the traps, but now I had to remove it from my house. Even though it was dead, I was SO grossed out by the thought. The trap was flipped over, so I couldn’t really see anything except the bottom half of the mouse (thus no carnage). The thought of physically feeling the mouse in my hand was so disturbing that I ended up piling literally 25 plastic grocery bags on top of the mouse/trap so that when I finally picked it up, there was so much cushioning between me and the mouse that I could not feel it at all. I consider this trapping and disposing of the mouse all on my own to be one of the defining moments of my post-marriage existence, which I think gives you all the information about me you need to know.
10. Cooking chicken
I am much better about this now than I used to be, but I absolutely despise touching and cooking raw chicken. Whenever possible, I make AJ wash and cut the fat off of the chicken we buy before I wrap and freeze it. Handling frozen chicken is not nearly so horrible, so I prefer to cook it in the crock pot, thereby requiring as little contact with me as possible. Chicken is just gross. I eat it, but it grosses me out. I am constantly afraid of undercooking it, which is why I find the crockpot to be such a delightful invention. No guessing, just a salmonella-free dinner. Interestingly, I have no qualms about eating raw cookie dough.
I’m not going to leave you with an image of raw chicken. You’re welcome.
I like to believe everyone has irrational fears and things that cause them anxiety, so kindly leave me a comment and tell me yours so I know I’m not alone.