I’m a self-confessed scaredy-cat. It doesn’t take much to make me nervous.
I get nervous when I’m out at night on my own.
I get nervous when I have to go somewhere new. I have to psych myself up to enter a room full of people I don’t know, especially if I’m on my own.
I get nervous when I’m about to travel, even if I’m going somewhere I’ve been before.
As for clowns, I don’t just get nervous, I’m scared of them. I struggle to even look at a picture of one. But I don’t think I have an actual phobia of clowns, called coulrophobia, by the way. I can still function; I either close my eyes or look away. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience with a clown. I think my problem with them is the contradiction they represent – they’re supposed to be bringers of happiness, yet they always have sad faces. It doesn’t make sense, I know, but then our fears never do.
As for actual phobias, I have two. The first, which isn’t as bad as it could be, is acrophobia – a fear of heights. I don’t know how high I have to be before I start feeling panicky as I’ve never given that any thought.
All I know is, at some point I start to feel dizzy, I have trouble breathing and I have to hold on to something. I struggle to glance over the edge, even if there’s a railing between me and open space. As for floor-to-ceiling windows, I can’t stand right in front of them and look out; I stay a few feet away and gaze into the distance.
But the real doozy, the phobia that makes me freeze up completely, is ‘katsaridaphobia’ – fear of cockroaches. I only found out recently that it was an actual phobia and that it had a name; I just thought I was weird, being terrified of something that can’t hurt me.
Growing up in Malaysia, the damned things were everywhere… or, at least, that’s what it seemed like to me. They usually tended to come out at night. Going to the toilet while half-asleep wasn’t fun as I always had to scope out the bathroom before setting foot in it.
Apparently, the advice to make cockroaches run from you is to stamp your feet. Because of the way they hear and, I guess, being so low to the ground, it’s deafening for them and they run in the opposite direction. Well, from my experience, that’s either a load of bull or cockroaches in Malaysia have the worst sense of direction – they’ve never run away from me; they run at me!
As if having them race around on the floor wasn’t bad enough, I then found out some of them could fly! Honestly, the first time I came across one, I bolted. I’m surprised there wasn’t a me-shaped hole in the wall. Back then, it was like being in my horror movie. But, looking back, those memories make me laugh.
Like this one. My sister and I were still up late as we’d been ‘volunteered’ to keep an eye on my cousin’s wedding cake and take it out of the oven when it had finished baking. We were in the lounge, either watching tv or just chatting, I can’t remember. When it came time to check on the cake, to our horror, there was a cockroach between us and the kitchen.
I remembered the handy can of bug spray and, with my sister cheering me on (quietly, as our parents were already in bed), I approached the beast. As I was about to spray it, it sprouted wings and flew! Squawking, we retreated. I tried to spray it while it was flying and failed miserably. Then it flew right at us. Brave me flung the can at it and we ran!
We couldn’t hide out in our bedroom as we still had to check on the pesky cake. So, we ventured back down… no sign of any cockroach. I’m sure that’s the fastest we’ve ever moved to get something out of the oven, shut up the kitchen and get back upstairs. I honestly can’t remember, but I think we took the cake with us… not to eat, but for it to cool down in the safety of our bedroom.
What about you? Do you have any phobias?