What are you afraid of?


Fear.  We all have fears.

Psychologist tell us that all fears can be categorized as one of five basic fears.

  1.  Extinction.  Simple.  This is basically a fear of death or ceasing to exist.
  2. Mutilation.  This one is a little more complex.  It the fear of losing a part of our body, or losing a function of our body, or having its boundaries invades.  They say that many types of anxiety about animals, such as spiders and snakes, fall into this category.
  3. Loss of Autonomy.  Think about a fear of situations that we can’t control.  Being imprisoned, smothered, paralyzed, overwhelmed, or restricted.  Claustrophobia is a classic example but it can also manifest itself in personal relationships as a fear of commitment.
  4. Separation.  Fears of abandonment and not being wanted, respected, loved, or valued  can be devastating to a person.
  5. Ego-death.  Humiliation, shame, and self-disapproval:  the loss of worthiness.  This might manifest itself as a fear of public speaking.  Or perhaps the feeling that your blog might not be worth reading?

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.  All fears invoke pretty much the same kind of biological reactions: sweaty palms, goosebumps, pounding heart, rapid breathing, etc. Fear is your survival response – the “flight or fight” thing you learned about in high school biology.

Some people actually enjoy being frightened.  Say what??  Horror flicks and Halloween “haunted houses” have never been my thing.  Ditto for scary amusement park rides.  But I will read a scary book.  Does that even make sense?   Hey, they’re MY fears, they don’t have to make sense.

With that in mind, what do I fear?

  1.  Spiders.  (Big or small they are all evil to me.  It’s not a completely irrational fear as I was bitten and had a pretty nasty reaction as a child.)
  2. Car accidents.
  3. Losing someone I love.
  4. Ladders. And heights to a certain degree.
  5. Not being able to scream when I may need to.

And while not a fear really, I really dislike crowds where people I don’t know might bump into me.  It doesn’t scare me – it is rather more of an dislike that irritates the heck out of me.

So what are you afraid of?







If Found Do Not Open


I found it lying next to the park bench among the fallen leaves, its worn black leather cover barely visible under autumn’s orange and yellow carpet.  I might not have noticed it at all if I hadn’t dropped my keys.  A very nondescript book showing years of use.  Unassuming except for the white words painted on the cover:  If Found Do Not Open.

I glanced around me wondering if anyone had seen me pick up the book.  Was it a test?  Was someone watching to see if I followed directions?    Maybe I was being filmed for one of those “What Would You Do?” shows.  Or maybe it is just what it seems: a lost book.

I thumbed the pages and contemplated the cover.

What might be found in those pages?  A diary of tantalizing bits about love affairs, petty crime, or family secrets?  Or maybe just a pouring out of one’s heart:  of past pains or dreams for the future?  Maybe it’s a useful book of grocery lists, contact numbers, recipes, and personal reminders? Perhaps it’s filled with artist sketches?  Or the musings of a poet?  Or maybe it’s the book version of Pandora’s box?  Opening it seems like a small thing, an innocent action, but what of the consequences?

I watched the afternoon sun dip below the trees as I walked toward home, only glancing back once to see the book where I left it on the bench.  Unopened.