Welcome! I have started this online journal in the hopes of satisfying 2 goals; One, an outlet for creative expression, whatever may come of it. And two, an online freelance writing portfolio. I have promised myself to put down as much as I can - and here it will be.

I might have a poem or story to share, I might need to vent away on a particular subject or I may have just discovered the meaning of life. Who knows? Some will be serious, some light, some pointless and silly. Some will be writing just to write. But, hopefully each day I can be inspired by something going on. Most entries will be a little of this, a little of that. And most likely, they will not be continuous from day to day, unless I am working on a longer story that I want to break up into daily snibbles.

Like I said, anything and everything in this mind of mine, for good or for bad. It will all end up on here sooner or later!

I would honor your opinions of my endeavor and the pieces that arrive here. Feedback is crucial to my success! If you have any constructive criticism, just want to say you like/don't like, or that it affected you in some way...that would be fine. Quite nice, in fact.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Arachnophobic Girl

Yep, that's me. I suffer from this dotty phobia, one of the most common fears in the world. That it is common is only of little help to my pride, considering that I do not know anyone else that would pull over to the side of the road to remove an insect from their car. Especially since I was on a highway going about 65, the second car in a caravan of four vehicles, and the spider was only about a 1/4 inch long. BUT, he was a jumping spider and right above me on the ceiling. It was him or me! I was having a hard time driving, thinking about that little guy jumping down into my hair and crawling all over the back of my neck, down my shirt....ugh. You can take it from there.

From phobiascured.com: "Arachnophobia is defined as an inordinate fear of spiders. This phobia can often be triggered by the thought of or sometimes even a picture of a spider. A serious case of arachnophobia is much different than someone who doesn't like spiders. Many people who are afraid of spiders have feelings of panic entering into a situation where spiders may be present.

"This fear of spiders can dictate where someone chooses to live, go on vacation, work or what sports or hobbies are enjoyed. Symptoms may include excessive sweating or clamminess, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, nausea and dizziness.

"Often this fear is caused by an incident earlier in life which was frightening. People sometimes have the misconception that such a frightening event would have to be a long-lasting or memorable ordeal. Many people don't even remember the events which led to their phobia. The mind can create a phobia based on an instant of panic."

Interesting. That is so me. And bees have me even more paralyzed! What a life.

So, now that you have the general feeling for someone like me, here's my environment. We live in the country, in a nice forested setting. Our house sits right on the edge of the woods. So, one would reasonably expect that spiders and other various insects would be frequent housemates. We live in the North, thankfully, so there are no problems with venomous creatures or even unreasonably large ones. I don't think I could handle living in the South. I am literally shuddering at the thought of checking my slippers for scorpions and my bed for who-knows-what every night. Our house is pretty old, turning 150 last summer, and that means we have drafty conditions in the winter and easy access in the summer for just about anything.

We have ants, bees, spiders, potato bugs, centipedes, earwigs, beetles, mosquitoes...oh, need I go on? It's a constant battle to eradicate on a daily basis. I just had to check out my bare feet under the desk, swearing that a very large something was crawling up to say hello. I believe the term they give to that is the "heebie-jeebies". Just in writing about the little bugs, I have already given myself a case.

I am a grown-up tom-boy, so I am not squeamish about everything. Just bugs, really. Surprisingly, I do like snakes. They are not disgusting insects. I used to pick them up when I was a young girl, snaring one right behind its head just to run and show Mom and Dad, and of course, to scare sister. I actually think these reptiles are quite cool and still seek them out, even though I am now in my thirties. Not that I spend all my time in the forest looking for snakes...I'm not that kind of girl! But, given the opportunity, I will follow them for a bit, to watch their fluid and graceful slither, to appreciate their patterns and colors and to find out what they do. We have found a few large ones in our house as well, and their presence actually makes me feel a little better, since they eat bugs and mice. I consider them our partners in crime, the ones that help us keep the balance of man vs nature inside our own house. They have never been in the living areas, so, we all live in harmony. Please don't tell my Mother-in-law, though. She hates snakes!

When we tore out the ancient in ground pool that we acquired in the sale of our house, there must have been tens of snake dens under the concrete. Hubby used a backhoe to lift and crack the pieces away from the pool form, and as he was doing so, I watched nearby. Pulling up on the first piece, he brought up much of the dirt beneath with it and the earth just poured snakes. I don't think it fully registered at once what was happening, I wondered what was wriggling and falling, wriggling and falling, all different colors and sizes...and then I thought...oh my God, they're snakes! From where he was, he couldn't see what I was seeing and I yelled at him to "STOP! You have to come see this!" If you have ever watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, the scene where Indy and Marion are trapped beneath the desert floor, entombed with hundreds of snakes dripping from the walls...that is what it reminded me of. Snakes falling from the backhoe, scoop after scoop. Most people would have been terrified, disgusted even. I was instantly transformed into that little girl again - "WOW!" "That is so cool!" Moving my head all around to get the best view, bouncing from side to side of the backhoe scoop to better my vantage point, all to see the slithering masses. I was so excited and thrilled to get such a close up look at their home.

Oh, home! I then realized we were destroying their home...their private nests. And we were probably killing many of them in the process. You can't exactly be delicate with a huge piece of machinery like that. Being the bleeding heart animal lovers we are, yet still needing to take out the pool, we decided to work carefully and relocate any snakes we could see. So, I set out to pick up all the snakes I could find, working quickly, sometimes taking two or three at a time, running them over to the forest floor, releasing them. They all slithered away quickly, and we hoped they could make a new home somewhere out there. It felt a little like I was on a Crocodile Hunter episode, striving to save the poor little misplaced reptiles before they were obliterated by Man. So, even though we evicted them, even though we were "Man", we felt a little better that we could at least usher them away from the destruction.

Point is, I am not a city girl by any means. I like to get dirty, I love hikes and camping and roughing it. I love living in the country. But for some reason, I am uncomfortable around bugs - and the bigger they are, the more uncomfortable I get.

All this back story, for what? *Yawn* I'll tell you tomorrow. Being diagnosed with mild pneumonia over the holiday weekend, I am going back to bed for now...