If you ask people what scares them you'll get a wide array of answers from spiders to death, and everything in-between. Personally I've never been afraid of spiders; they really don't bother me as I'm a gazillion times bigger and scarier than they are and armed with a sturdy shoe I think I can take on even the scariest of beasts native to the UK!
I didn't have a problem with frogs when I was younger but once I cottoned on to the fact that my late Mum hated them I was suddenly afraid of them too. I guess that solves the nature versus nurture debate in one fell swoop huh?!
I guess what I don't like about them (or more accurately, what my Mum didn't like about them) was that they hop around, they're slimy and they're unpredictable. Whenever I see one I have this (possibly irrational) thought that it's about to jump at me and flail its slimy legs.
No, not the type that plagues you when you've wolfed down your dinner, but wind of the weather variety. I don't mean a gentle breeze on a winter's day, but extreme gusts that cause trees to fall into the roads, my back fence to fall down and the house to shake to its very foundations. Wind scares me because it's invisible; you can't rationalise it to someone who doesn't understand it. It can be very destructive and yet you can't even see the deadly menace! When it's windy I have to wear earplugs to bed because the noise of it whipping around outside fills me with dread.
In 1995 my family visited Florida and were caught up in Hurricane Erin. I remember the hotel was swaying, water was pouring in and palm trees were lashing against the windows. Perhaps that's where my fear came from? The only upside to that whole incident was that Universal Studios was very quiet the next day and there weren't any queues...
3. NEEDLES / INJECTIONS
Yeah, I know this is quite a common one but just thinking about having a blood test or injection makes me weak. The reality of it is never as bad as the picture I build up in my head beforehand but even typing this is making me feel sick. I used to work in a doctor's surgery and I don't mind the sight of blood or injuries or even other people's vomit (but don't get my started on sputum samples, BLEUGH!) but when it comes to the thought of someone trying to extract blood from me or stick a tiny little needle in my arm I go to pieces! Moving on...
I've summed this one up as 'failure' although it constitutes a multitude of smaller fears. Failure, for me, comes in all kinds of forms, from not winning a board game or quiz, to not getting the job that was perfect for me.
I hate not getting the highest mark in a quiz or not winning at a board game. I love Scrabble but I won't play with anyone who I know it more wordy than I am and even when I play with a complete novice they aren't allowed to check the dictionary under any circumstances whatsoever, even if it's only to check they can play the word "poo" for 4 points. You can probably deduce that I'm very competitive.
I also have a fear of exams; having been a slave to the education system for over 20 years I guess that I've just finally had enough. Every summer I have nightmares about having to revise for and take exams and I still, as a thirty something woman, wake up and think "ah crap, I haven't revised" only to lie back down and remember, gloriously, that I am now an adult and will never need to take another exam again. Phew.
I hate having eye tests because I know that every time I do my eyes will get that little bit worse. There's nothing like looking at that chart and seeing the massive 'A' at the top but nothing else except a blur of black and white. That's 'failure' in my book and an eye test is the one and only test I know I'm going to fail with honours!
Sometimes the fear of failure will put me off even trying. Late last year I had the opportunity to apply for a development role at work and I knew the competition would be fierce. I didn't give it a second thought, I just didn't apply. A friend cajoled me into it in the end so I cobbled something together and sent off the application. I was astounded to find I'd been successful and was ever so relieved I'd applied. Riding high on this feeling of invincibility I applied a few weeks later for my dream job and didn't even get an interview despite thinking I was a shoe in. This knocked my confidence more than I can describe and I'm now fearful that I'll never get the permanent promotion I'm looking for. Sad eh?
There's this saying I often see on social media (you know the kind; supposedly inspirational on a background of a pretty sunset meant to add poignancy to it) that says "what if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” which sums up my life completely - I just don't have the courage yet to allow myself the opportunities to fly, because I'm so afraid to fall.
5. SHOWER CURTAINS
What's wrong with having a glass shower partition, eh?! I hate hotels with shower curtains. Firstly, how many other people's naked bodies have they stuck to? Secondly, what are those stains splashed up the side? Urgh, it just doesn't bear thinking about! I hate the way the floor always ends up covered in water no matter how well I tuck it in but mostly I hate the way they always stick to me!
The feeling of the material sticking to my leg or torso makes me shudder and gag. In the past I've been known to cry because it's caused me such anxiety, and I've had to have my husband hold the shower curtain away from my skin. I don't like baths and had ours removed in favour of a gloriously luxurious walk in shower so I'm not used to showering in cramped spaces with the threat of curtain stickage hanging over me and it's for this reason that I hate hotel bathrooms (that and the obligatory hair on the wall that doesn't belong to me - gross!)
Of course there are many other things in life that scare me - perhaps I'll save those for another time! What are your major fears in life? Have you ever managed to overcome a fear? Let me know.
Please note: All images used in this post are copyright free.