Finding Fears Fascinating

I don’t really know why, but lately I’ve found myself thinking back upon some of my more irrational childhood fears.

To a smaller extent… some of ’em are still current-day irrational fears.

I am somewhat mystified that I find those things that frighten me to be absolutely fascinating.  And even though I have outgrown those fears, at least to some extent, they still intrigue me.


Afraid of Spiders?

Okay, it’s not exactly a fear.  But the moment I walk through a spider web, or if I discover a li’l spidey scurrying across the floor, it’ll take quite awhile to get beyond that creepy-crawly feeling. It’s not so bad now, but it was worse when I was younger.

Yet, I recall spending hours watching spiders work their magic as a kid.  We had removed a sidewalk in front of our townhouse when I was younger. We stacked the chunks of concrete in the alley behind our house.  It was a haven for spiders.  I used to catch them in a jar.  I would feed them a variety of insects and just observe the feast.  Amazing little critters.


As a kid, a good strong thunderstorm could terrify me.  And for a while, I lived in the Midwest.  Seemed like that’s all we got:  t-storms.  My parents still tell me a story about a twister that almost went through our front door and out the back.  I was too young to remember.

Was that where the fear originated?  I’ve got no idea.  But I do know that it was a legitimate fear.  Once, in the midst of a scary childhood dream, I awoke my family by screaming, “Tornado!”  The entire family scurried to the basement in the middle of the night.  I’m not even sure that it was thunderstorming.  It’s still one of those funny family moments.

I also know that I am absolutely addicted to Discovery Channel’s Stormchasers.  I would love to go storm chasing some day.


Afraid of Heights?

Okay, this one may not be so irrational.  It’s also a current fear.  Well, maybe it’s not a fear of heights so much as a fear of gravity taking over.

I’ll admit that it’s easier nowadays to face my fear of heights.  Credit that to the Marine Recon instructors who spent some time training a bunch of Navy Midshipmen, (including me), to rappel down a 40-foot wall.  It didn’t eradicate my fear of heights, but it did help me face it.

Here’s the strange part, though: I love roller coasters.  I’ve ridden over 320 of ’em.  I even spent 30 hours on one in St. Louis.  I find them relaxing, not terrifying.  I can be completely comfortable 200 feet up in a coaster, but I get antsy if I get too close to the railing on the second level of the mall.

Weird, huh?

So, do you find your fears fascinating?

Leave a comment


  1. that roller coaster looks like the behemoth in toronto canada’s wonderland….its probably not because theres no water around the coaster but coasters there days can apparently be like chain stores ahah…
    children, i find are so invincible but they do have irrational fears..but i think that’s better than being over rational about fears like adults are.

    • Excellent guess… it is Behemoth. I took the picture on a visit with American Coaster Enthusiasts in 2008.

      And you’ve got a great point about the differences in rationality between children’s and adults’ views on fear.

  2. I am petrified of clowns. To an extent this has gotten a little better now that I’m a bit older (I’m 33). Still, I try to avoid them like the plague. My teenage niece is afraid of leopard seals. Go figure. I am fascinated by what people fear. I think it speaks a lot about someone’s inner mind.

    • I can understand the fear of clowns. While I’m not afraid of clowns, I’m in no rush to take my kids to the circus. Don’t want to overwhelm them with clowns.

      Leopard seals, though… that’s a new one to me. Not that I’d want to meet one in a dark alley. Or alone on an ice floe.

  3. springtimesoul

     /  January 24, 2011

    My childhood fear: bridges. Not the big soaring ones; little ones–the smaller, the scarier. Considering that when I was a kid living in the Kickapoo River valley we crossed the river 17 times on the 11 mile trip to church,you’d think I’d have gotten over it. Still today, if there are just a couple boards over a stream I’ll get out and walk, thank you very much.

    • You can certainly say that you faced your fear. Weekly.

      BTW… I think “Kickapoo” is the best name for a river. Ever.


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