Tag Archives: fear

from Boston

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And so, now, what shall we do?
How are we to carry on?
In a world where happy times and should-be celebrations
Turn to dust and ash and shots and fire,
To smoke and shouts and weeping eyes,
To cries aloud and silent,
All stifled by the fear.

What’s coming? In the distance?
What atrocity comes next?
Will you slay our sleeping grandmothers?
Hang our dogs from trees?
Poison every lake and river, or simply taint the air?
Kill every living thing?
Or just every hope and dream?
The fear of never knowing the life we all once knew,
The fear those days are over,
The fear he’s won, the fear we’re done.

Where is it that we’re going?
Is there anywhere to hide?
Should we curl up in our own cacoons,
Never trusting, never knowing, never meeting, greeting, loving
Never sharing, shaking hands,
A careless laugh, impromptu hug,
A toast of drinks between close friends
A gathering of protest, of democratic voice,
A gathering for sport for music for fun,
For cars, for food, are these days gone?

How can we go on living,
When he’s plotting in the corner?
How can we go on going when it’s never safe at all?
How do we stop our lives so short we let him know he’s won?
To stay locked up indoors all night,
Homeschool the children in the day,
To watch, a nervous spectator, from the comfort of our homes
As the traditions of our culture stagger on.

Can we, will we, give it all up?
Can we, will we, fix this mess?
Can we stop what we don’t understand?
Will we find a way to stand together?
Or finger-point until we fall?
How can we give up what we love?
How can we not?

Phobias and Fears

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Okay, so for those of you who like spider pictures and think they’re really cool and sexy and fascinating…this is not that kind of post.

This is a post about a girl living in terrible life-altering fear. That pot bellied devil above was on the outside of my house today, crouched on the wood siding right next to the stairs I have to walk up and down to get in and out of my home. I didn’t see it until I was already right next to it, otherwise I would certainly have stayed inside. The worst part was I didn’t have my keys, phone, or anything else on me (Yes, I really wanted to leave because of this) and since I had only gone downsairs to quickly grab something out of my car, I went out in what I had been wearing all morning: a tiny tank top and pajama shorts. I looked like a moron. I felt like a moron too, because I know how stupid my fear is but I just cant help it.

Oh, by the way, this is the spider that was in my shower last night:

I would have taken a picture of the one that was inside of my car making itself comfortable on my dashboard before I got home to take this delightful shower for two, but unfortunately it was dark and I was kind of in a rush to get home. So I threw the car in park, went back inside my parents house, and got my stepbrother to come out and “handle” the situation. (KILL)

If you’re not seeing the ugly picture I’m painting for you, I’ll just spell it out. SPIDERS ARE TAKING OVER MY LIFE.

I know. So dramatic. But I have a serious phobia.

I’ve been afraid of spiders for as long as I can remember. It may have been due to the fact that I saw some of the movie Arachnaphobia when I was still young and impressionable, or it could just be because they are creepy and gross and scary and downright evil-looking. The thing is, my fear hasn’t lessened over time. It’s actually gotten worse. At the moment this phobia is a HUGE part of my life.

I’ve used the term “arachnaphobic” to describe myself and “arachnaphobia” to describe the fear I have. But I guess all along I’ve really been thinking about it like that: a fear, a feeling of being “scared”. I had a mini-meltdown today after seeing porky the spider and getting stuck outside in my PJs, so as soon as I got back in the house I began googling hypnosis for spider phobias.

I would be happy to live in a world with no spiders, or I mean if they would just hide when I was around so I didn’t have to know they were there. But since that’s not going to happen, I think the next best thing would be to be able to live without this crippling fear, without trembling hands and a racing heart and feeling helpless.

What I came across in my research today was something that struck me: Phobias are not the same as Fears.

A person with a phobia knows that his or her fear is irrational. I certainly know how crazy my fear of spiders is to everyone else, because I hear it from my loved ones a lot. a lot. (In fairness they hear a lot about my fear and about spiders.) But the point is I get it. I know they’re smaller than me. I know most of them don’t bite or aren’t poisonus and even if they could hurt me, they wouldn’t want to because they’re loners and like to be left alone to hang out and eat bugs. I know they’re so so awesome for humans cause they eat all the other harmful bugs. Ya, I get it. Now get it away from me, I’m about to have a heart attack.

They will go out of their way to avoid the object or situation of which they are afraid, often altering their lifestyle and/or inconveniencing themselves in the process. I personally have driven all the way home and then left to go to my parents house because there were alot of webs crossing the stairs I go up or because there was a large spider in my apartment. I have slept over my parents house more than once and more than twice to avoid spiders. And I said just today, in a text to my girlfriend, “I’m moving.” I very honestly and very literally was thinking about this as a solution.

When faced with the object or situation prompting the fear, the person undergoes marked distress, panic, and anxiety.  This is me. Sweating, trembling, talking to myself but not knowing how to listen, heart pounding, breathing short. I feel, when faced with spiders, not fear but terror. It’s overwhelming terror.

It’s amazing that this whole time while everyones thinking I’m a total idiot and crybaby and drama queen for being afraid of spiders (and believe me I was thinking it as well) I never looked at it as a serious disorder. So while everyones asking me why I’m afraid and telling me why not to be afraid, while I was wondering how I could possibly be so afraid, I never stopped to look at the possibility that it’s not “fear”, but something more.

I’m afraid of home invasions/burglary/intrusion and everything that comes along with it-violence, rape, dealth etc. And I’m seriously deeply afraid of this. But this is a rational fear. Even though I live in a very safe town, I am a young girl living alone. And in 2012 crazy shit happens everywhere. Also, when I was in college, someone climbed through a tiny window in my apartment and stole mine and my roommate’s laptops. We had been in the apartment until about 4am, so the creepy factor was magnified thinking someone could have been watching us.

However, I don’t sleep at my parents’ because I’m afraid a bad guy will break in. I don’t tremble or cry or feel completely overwhelmed by this fear. It’s just a normal everyday fear. Something I’m scared of, and with a rational basis (if you ask me).

The realization of the difference between these two things, fears and phobias, helped me to see this whole thing in a new light. I’ve always known that people have phobias, but like I said before, I was thinking of it like people are afraid of one thing or another. Realizing that millions of people feel this, the severe anxiety, the crippling irrational terror, the inability to experience things or situations logically, was both eye opening and very very comforting. It’s seemed like no one understands where I’m coming from. And I guess I didn’t understand either.

Researching today also made me hopeful that I will be able to cure my phobia and someday be a normal human. I’ve listened to a free 5 minute spider phobia hypnosis mp3 at http://www.hypnoticmp3.com/spiderphobia.htm. There are tons of full length spider phobia (and other phobia) hypnosis CDs and mp3s you can purchase online. I’d just google it and see what comes up. Since I don’t have health insurance nor the money to pay out of pocket, a therapist is a financially out of reach at the moment. But I’m hopeful that the self help resources will do some good.

For anyone who reads this, if you could give me any tips or tricks to overcome and/or cope with my spider phobia I’d love to hear them.

Also any tips on keeping spiders AWAY from me and my house would be seriously appreciated.

Lastly, if any of you spider people know what kind of spider that first picture could be, please let me know! (For point of reference, I live in a small coastal North Shore Massachusetts town)

Thanks everyone!

Wish me luck, and sleep well.

-t

Fumbling Through

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I write for an online news & entertainment publication called EDGE Boston. It’s an LGBT themed news source and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with some important figures in the LGBT community. Last Thursday I was able to attend the fourth annual History Maker’s awards at the Geothe Institute in Boston.

The awards ceremony, sponsored and hosted by the History Project, a Boston group that works to preserve and share Boston and Massachusetts’ rich LGBT history, honored two individuals who have made major contributions to the LGBT community.

A lovely event, complete with libations, h’ors derves, speeches and support. Pretty much anyone who’s anyone in Boston’s LGBT community was there. I was asked to attend the event, talk to some of the guests, get a photo, and do a short write-up for the news. Easy right?

Right.

The event was 6-9pm in Boston’s Back bay. I, living 36 minutes away (according to MAPS), left just before 5pm. I knew I should have left at 4:30, I really did.

Anyone who drives in Boston knows that, while there is no good time to be on the road in the city, the hours of about 4:30-6pm are absolute HELL. And just a head’s up for anyone who doesn’t know, parking in the Back Bay turns to ‘resident only’ at 6pm. Perfect.

I also have a bone to pick with my gps app WAZE. Apparently this app is not an all-knowing genius and only knows my approximate location. For example, if I’m driving through a tunnel and theres a road over the tunnel it can not differentiate which I am driving on. (If it could, in fact, work in tunnels. It can’t.) Parallel streets are often confused in this app. It seems if I’m heading in the direction it wants me to go in (as in N,S,E,W) it doesn’t bother to notice which specific street I’m on. Does anyone else have this problem with WAZE?

Don’t get me wrong, the app has some cool features like warning you of accidents and police officers, detours, and slow traffic coming up in your route. BUT I’m still bitter about it not knowing where I am.

So I’m rerouted three times, dodging pedestrians and sitting through red lights and green lights alike because of the almost-haulted traffic, and alas we get into 10-minutes-before-event panic mode.

Good thing I put deoderant on and never drive in jackets. I’m sweating. nervous. by 6 I’m late and freakin’ out. There’s no where to park, all the streets are one-ways, and I’m late. To an awards ceremony. Perfect.

I should probably pause here to let you know that my stomach had already been in knots since about 1 or 2pm.

I’m new to journalism. Like I started this job in August. So, while I’ve had to conduct interviews for each story I’ve written, they’ve usually been over the phone and scheduled in advance. NOT walking up to a random stranger at an event and chatting them up.

Yeah, I might be a little socially awkard. (See proof below)

   

Don’t get me wrong, I think I have a pretty awesome personality and I’m not some creepy loner. I’m just not super comfortable talking to strangers (unless im having cocktails) and I’m not super confident with this writing thing yet. (I’ll clarify that I am pretty confident in my writing skills, but being a new journalist is nervewracking!)

I know that no one I interview actually knows anything about me other than the publication I write for. But I can’t help feeling, on the inside, that they can see right through me, that they know I’m a newbie and am only figuring out what I’m doing it by…well…doing it.

So there’s the background info of my irrational fear of doing my job. I decided I had to just “fake it til I make it”. There were alot of breathing exercises and self-pep talks on that long car ride.

By the time I found a garage nearby (within a mile or so…in heels) it was already 6:30. The great debate in my mind: To go or not to go.

This was an AWARDS CEREMONY. How am I gonna walk in late in the middle of an awards ceremony? Would they even let me in?

Flip side: HOW am I gonna not do this assignment? How am I gonna let myself fail at this? I can’t. Well I would have had to if they didn’t let me in. I decided as long as there was a chance of me getting in to this thing and salvaging my article I would have to take it. I made the heels-on-brick walk to the address I had memorized by now.

HALLELUJAH!

The first hour was a reception with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The actual awards segment was not starting until 7:15!

I walked in the crowded room, tried to get hold of my nerves, made an unnecessary trip to the ladies room, and came back up, hoping to hop right into reporter mode.

But who to talk to? Everyone seemed to be engrossed in their own conversations. And worse, they all seemed to know each other. Representatives of various LGBT organizations in Boston were in attendance. They all have worked together at one point or another, whether through collaborations between organizations, supporting other LGBT orgs, or serving as board members on various volunteer-run committees and organizations.

I grabbed a glass of white wine and stood with my back to the wall, watching, listening, trying to find a lone target to pounce on, dreading doing it. Showing up late actually ended up working out perfectly for me. I don’t know how I would have dealt with the awkwardness and nervousness I was feeling for a full hour and fifteen minutes had I shown up on time. There would have been a lot more standing. Ugh.

The lights dimmed and the awards ceremony commenced. I was thankful. I stood in the back of the room, listened to the speeches, which were lovely, and actually enjoyed my time there. The History Project was honoring Chris Mason, an LGBT activist since age 14 with several notable accomplishments under his belt and Grace Sterling Stowell, the Executive Director of Boston’s Alliance of Gay Lesbian and Transgender Youth (BAGLY), trans advocate, and legendary LGBT leader.

Once the awards portion was over, dessert was served and it was time for me to find some poor sould to talk to me and get this story written.

I was lucky. I was approached by a very kind and talkative gentleman who told me his story, why he was there, about The History Project, Grace Stowell, his experience with BAGLY, and the answer to any other question I would have asked if I were able to get a word in. I loved him.

After this, with a slight confidence boost, I set off to find my next victim interviewee. I found myself awkwardly standing by myself, waiting for a break in someone’s conversation so that I could jump in. Lots of akward smiling at this point.

Another kind and fabulously dressed fellow called me over, asked who I was, told me I looked gorgeous, and introduced me to an important person I should speak to, all in one breath. Who is this angel, I wondered?

I had the chance to speak with him and with Grace Stowell, the recipient of the 2012 History Maker Award. Both super nice and very informative and helpful.

Once the conversation had ended and I had business three business cards and enough recorded to be able to write my story, I was done. Just done. The anxiety, awkwardness, and stress of getting there were weighing on me and I longed to be curled up in sweatpants on the couch.

I slowly backed out of the room, walked out the door and clicked my heels back to the garage, thinking all the way that my mom and my girlfriend were right. That all the stress, the worry, the sweat and the cursing aren’t worth it. That everything will work out just fine.

I got in my car and made the drive home in the dark. This time much calmer.

You can see my article on the History Maker Awards here.