Living with My Fears

I hate being afraid.

Off to the left of me, in his room sound asleep, my patient is snoring, oblivious to his caregiver – me – sitting just outside his room frantically checking the floor around her every couple of seconds for movement. Not just any movement – I can handle the centipedes that zoom across the carpet now and then, or the ant invasion that my client’s wife has purchase hotels for. No, my nightly search – that’s 12 hours a night, five days a week – that I spend here on the patio door-level of my client’s home, is for spiders.

It seems that spiders and I have at least one thing in common: we’re both nocturnal. So, instead of actually being able to relax and write this blog post at 2 a.m., my favorite time of a 24-hour period to write, my fingers are punching keys on the keyboard as my eyes work overtime checking the computer screen to make sure I’ve typed a coherent word, while simultaneously – and frantically – scan the carpet. Meanwhile my mind repeatedly zooms back to two hours ago when my client’s wife – 76 years old and a whole 8 inches shorter than me – killed the huge spider that ran out of the bedroom after I’d checked on her husband.

I despise being afraid of anything that keeps me from doing what I want to do. My arachnophobia has definitely curtailed many an activity: from sitting out on the grass to going down into my client’s basement to help with the laundry. But as much as I’m afraid of them, they’re not my only fear. Writing comes with its own set of fears.

Sitting here creating a list of essential oils that are supposed to be good for repelling spiders, I wonder: will people read what I write? And if they read it, will it make sense to anyone besides me? Will I be able to create ongoing content that will keep people coming back for more? But unlike the stress of jerking my head this way and that, and looking under this chair I’m sitting on for a creepy-crawly, my writing fears are a challenge. I feel like some good can come from this fear. Why? Because I really want to write, and keep writing. Writing is my chocolate. It’s the salve that’s soothing me right now as I  pray to make it through the rest of the night without another spider crawling across the floor. Writing is how I express my fears, my happiness, my depression, my anxieties, my political revulsion, and my future. The fears I have about writing are fears that I can actually keep, and still be productive. I can live with my writing fears.

But contrary to what my Dad said, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to kill enough spiders to live well with my arachnophobia. However, I can’t leave my patient to fend for himself, quit my job, scream and wake everyone up, or expect that my client’s wife will react well if I knock on her door whenever I see one of her little visitors. So, I won’t live well, but I will live – armed with the best spider repellents I can find.

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