Monday, October 4, 2010

Overcoming (or at Least Confronting) My Fears for the Sake of My Daughter

When one gives birth to a beautiful child, she realizes what is truly important in life.  Nothing in the world means more than that little baby, and as a mother, you will do absolutely anything to protect her and give her the best life you possibly can....

This is where I find myself between a rock and a hard place.  In order to raise this little girl the right way and help her become a confident, strong young woman, I have to be confident and strong.  This has been particularly difficult to do lately, and I'm realizing more and more every day that I must confront my worst fears.  I honestly don't see myself overcoming the worst of the worst, but I have to at least get a grip on it so that I can pretend.

Imagine how difficult this would be if you wake up to a house infested with Brown Recluse spiderlings and you suffer from arachnophobia.  Ok, maybe my house isn't infested, and maybe I don't have arachnophobia, but both are pretty darn close.  When I see a spider or know there might be a spider anywhere near me, I freeze up.  My skin tightens and crawls; I shake but seem to not be able to move, and I cannot breathe.  I panic.  Though I'm completely freaking out, I can't function enough to do anything about it.  The first thing I do every morning when I wake up is check the ceilings and walls for spiders; I can't use a bathroom without thoroughly checking every nook and cranny for the vicious beasts.  I continue checking all day, everyday, and again before bed (4 or 5 times).  If there is a spider in my bedroom and I know it is there, I will not sleep.  Naturally, I'm even more paranoid now that I have a little girl to protect.

Because we live in the high desert and have an open field behind our house (full of tall weeds and bushes), there are plenty of terrifying insects around.  Nothing has been as scary or traumatizing as seeing a Black Widow behind my soap while I was showering.  Naturally, I ran (after temporarily paralyzed), naked and screaming,  to my knight in shining armor (my husband), and he killed the intruder.  However, waking up to 7 to 10 new Brown Recluse spiders every single morning is proving rather difficult as well.  I've researched them, and they appear to be spiderlings.  They just keep coming and coming.  We kill (well, my husband kills) at least 10 each day.  If you're offended by the mass murdering of spiders in my household, get over it.  As long as there are spiders near me, there will continue to be deaths of spiders near me.

Back to the point at hand, I don't want my daughter to be afraid of spiders....  What to do, what to do....  I know that when she is old enough to understand, I'll have to pretend that the spiders don't bother me, that they're our friends and all that garbage.  I have practiced.  I had to suppress the natural urge to cringe, vomit, and writhe in pain in order to calm my niece who did not think a certain spider needed to be on her slide.  "He's good because he helps scare other bugs away."  Yea, that's what I really wanted to say.  NOT.  I really wanted to grab her hand and run for the hills.  Anyway, I'll be able to do it.  It will be ok.  I can pretend to be strong for my kid.  I get all of that.  Right now is the problem.  I'm too afraid to kill the spiders when my husband isn't home to do the dirty work for me, but I don't want to risk the chance of one touching my daughter.

The other day, I decided to bust out the vacuum and suck them up.  I stood on a dining room chair with the vacuum attachments stacked to the longest length possible and ran the vacuum for at least 20 minutes before finally mustering up the courage to attack the first spider.  Shaking and cringing so much that I lost feeling in my neck and arms, I went around the house and vacuumed up 9 spiders, save the one I couldn't reach.  When I was finished, I let the vacuum stand and run for a good half hour just to make sure none of the spiders would crawl out and get me.  And yes, I had to leap at the vacuum to turn it off and run away very fast for fear of touching the spider death machine again.

I'm doing it.  I'm trying.  I really am.  I'm trying with all of my might to confront this consuming fear.  Hopefully, I'll have a better handle on it when my daughter is a few years older.

Although every single bit of this is true, the spider is merely a metaphor for every other fear that is keeping me from being the best parent I can be.  You have to let go of the things that are holding you back if you want to move on and allow yourself to love wholeheartedly.   : )

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