Lost in Translation

Everybody is afraid of something.  Even if you don’t know you are.  Like, I didn’t know I was afraid that someone was living in my attic eating oranges and slashing people until I saw this one CSI episode.  Might have been CSI: New York, but I’m not sure.  Freaking scary shit, let me tell you.  Anybody who has seen that episode, you will know which one I am referring to.  Sorry, I don’t remember what it was called.

My other fears include:  heights, roller coasters, the dark, getting my throat slit while I’m sleeping, becoming homeless, clowns…  The list goes on.  Some people say fears are irrational.  Like, “silly girl, what has the dark ever done to you?”  Um, NO the dark is terrifying.  A great number of things can happen in the dark.  Tripping down the stairs and breaking your neck, someone jumping out at you, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a movie or read a book where a character was raped or murdered in broad daylight.  Okay, I can probably think of a few, but I feel like they’re less common.  And that’s probably all me being pessimistic and paranoid, but I bet that the people who these things happen to weren’t expecting it.  So to me, my fear of the dark is NOT irrational.  Not that I don’t like night time or anything, because I think night is beautiful.  Moving on.

Clowns?  I don’t even know.  They are just creepy, with their artificial hair and made-up faces (Jersey Shore?) and ridiculous clothes.  Funny thing though, those are the things about clowns that are supposed to be entertaining and funny.  So what turned clowns from being friendly and funny into murderous and awful?  It didn’t start off with me, I know that.  People go looking for twisted things, and in doing that create monsters.  Not saying clowns are monsters, but just in general.

Now heights.  Heights are probably my worst fear I would say.  Heights can be beautiful things, like mountain views, and looking down on New York City from the Rockefeller Building, or the Empire State Building.  But this quote makes a lot of sense to me:  “I’m not afraid of heights, but the idea of falling from them, well, that I’m afraid of.”  Laurell K. Hamilton, author of Cerulean Sins.  Maybe it’s not the height of the building I’m afraid of, or how tall the mountain road is, but what would happen if I took a step too close to the edge.  I don’t care how thick the glass is on the balcony, or how many people can stand on it, I’m not going out there.  Because, ohmygosh whatifitbreaks, whatififall.  Misinterpreted, this is a fear of heights, as opposed to a fear of falling.

The real meaning, or cause behind something like fear can be lost in translation when we try to complicate, or sophisticate them.  Fear is a primal instinct, probably the deepest rooted one at that.  We’ve evolved a long way from where we began, and tried to bring along our instincts with us, but something so deep rooted within us isn’t going to change so easily.  It’s going to put up a fight.

And yeah, maybe it’s embarrassing to be in high school and be afraid of the dark, or hate roller coasters, but there’s not much I can do about it.  No matter how many times I ride a roller coaster, I’m still going to hate that stomach-clenching feeling, or the terror of believing I’m going to crash at the bottom of the hill, or ride off the edge of the track.  Maybe eventually I’ll stop being frightened of the dark.  People can tell me to face my fears, but that doesn’t mean they will be easily overcome, or that I will be willing to stare it in the face.

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