Monday, 7 September 2009

Creepy things

When I came to Canada I brought with me only the clothes I was wearing and lice. I wish I had brought something of my mother. A picture perhaps or piece of her worn out old sari. The memory of her face has all but faded and what is left is a warm feeling and still this yearning to put my arms around her neck.

But I did inherit something from her which lives on in me and to some extent in my sister. It is a fear of an insect which I cannot name here. So I will refer to it here as X. Those of you who know me, know well that I shudder at the mere sight of the word written on a page.

It is a fear that most people dismiss as silly or foolish. Oh come on they say Xs are harmless. And yet these very people run for the hills at the first sight of a tiny spider or the mere mention of snakes.
In Bangladesh, Xs can be poisonous and large and even uglier than the Xs seen here in North America.

When I was just Deaglan's age, I remember my very first sighting. I know what you are thinking Impossible! You were too young to have such a recollection. But I do remember. My mother was getting frustrated with me because I refused to eat (oh the apple doesn't fall far does it?). She told me that if I didn't eat, an X would crawl on me. She must have seen it coming because that is exactly what happened.

Fast forward a few years and we were visiting my mother's family one village over. She joined her brothers in the pond nearby for a cool swim. Moments later, she ran out of the water, screaming a scream that will stay with me forever. She was covered with leeches. Her brothers had to hold her down and use a small stick to break the leeches' suckers away from the skin carefully.

These two memories are my only explanation for why I am phobically afraid of X. I wish I wasn't. I love the outdoors but there are places I won't go, things I won't do. Recently I saw one while out with Deaglan. I didn't react. My body however did. Immediately I began to shiver and sweat. My stomach lurched and my skin broke out into goosebumps. I began brushing away imaginary Xs crawling all over my body.

I redirected Deaglan's attention. I don't want to pass this fear onto him, just as I don't want to pass on my grudges, my issues, my anxieties, or my bad habits. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to stop the cycle? To give him a clean slate?

This fear has sewn itself into the fabric of my life so that when I have an upcoming stressful situation, I dream about Xs. When I am afraid, my mind flashes images of Xs. When we were still in the orphanage, the other kids having discovered this fear of ours would chase us around the grounds holding Xs they had found for just this occassion.

I have great empathy for people suffering from crippling disorders such as OCD or agoraphobia. On some levels my anxiety as a reaction to seeing Xs is crippling. People often don't understand. They roll their eyes and cluck their tongues. Imagine! A grown woman taking cover because of a harmless little insect!

I guess we all have our inheritances!


  1. I am really curious to know what that X is! But on a serious note. It is best not to let fear grip you. Try to face it. Like how holding a snake of spider if you are afraid of them will help you get over the fear. Its just an idea.

    ♥ Chaitra

  2. I have my guesses as to what X is. I respectfully disagree with Chaitra. Why do you need to try and face it or over-come it? It isn't as if it is holding back your life in some way, a la, agoraphobia or a fear of heights or bridges. There are enough challenges in life without trying to make yourself mentally invincible.
    The only challenge you need to take on here is not passing on your fear to Deaglan... and you're already working on that. Good job.

  3. I am also curious to know what X is! I really dont have a phobia of anything.....I don't like heights....but I wouldn't call it a phobia yet....anyway....

    Anyway, I think it is great that you are trying to give Deaglan a clean slate by not showing how afraid you are of are so selfless.... you are a great mom!

  4. Is it the precursor to the butterflies you have pictured? I had a patient once with a phobia to them. If one was in her driveway, she'd have to get someone else to move her car!

  5. Kim, you are brave in countless ways. Don't worry about whether you can overcome this fear. Keep living your life happily with Shaune and Deaglan. You are a terrific mama by trying to control this fear in front of Deaglan. I know it must be tough.

  6. I'm pretty curious to know what X is now. Whatever it is, I hope you and it can find a way to peacefully co-exist so you are more comfortable. It must be hard being at the mercy of something you can't control.

  7. I hope my posting on praying mantids did not freak you out too much. My apologies if it did. I think they do sometimes eat "x's".

    I did not know some were poisonous.

  8. Wow, reading this I now can understand clearer the depth of your fear of X. If only growing up it wasn't so fun to scare you with X or place X on your shoulder (always fake X's though, I am not a monster!) Part of me thought you had fun being a participant in the "Scare the Hell out of Kim" game. Clearly, this is not the case. Okay so next time I see you no X jokes. Done.

  9. Kim, keep on hanging in there. I think you are so strong. You were able to stand and keep it together for your boy. Isn't it amazing what we can handle for the sake of our children? peace


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