The bloganuary prompt for today is:
What fear have you conquered?
I think I must be a hoarder, because I seem better at holding on to fears and accumulating new ones than at conquering them.
However there is one fear that doesn’t bother me anymore. Spiders.
When I was a child I was terrified of spiders. If I saw one on a step, I wouldn’t be able to pass it and continue up the stairs. If I saw one on my bed, the bed would have to be remade and it would take hours before I could steel myself to get into it.
We are fortunate in Ireland not to have dangerous or even particularly large spiders. I don’t know how I would have survived into adulthood if I had shared my home with bird spiders or tarantulas. I suppose I would have got used to them.
The house I grew up in boasted huge, hairy spiders that were frequently the stuff of nightmare. A visitor once asked if they were wolf spiders. I think they were ordinary Irish house spiders, but they certainly flourished in my home and there was a lot of opportunity to feed my fear.
I never set out to conquer my fear of spiders, but over the years two things conspired to reduce it until it reached my current state. I still get a thrill of fear if a spider runs around on my body, but I can’t say I’m frightened of them anymore, and I actually really like them.
The first thing that changed my mindset was education. I love animals, so naturally my voracious appetite to learn about living things included reading about spiders. Discovering more about them made me appreciate them, and studying garden spiders in their natural habitat made me realize how beautiful arachnids are.
When I was a teenager, I found a spider on the corridor wall in school. I stopped to say hello and take in its lovely coloring and markings. A couple of students, who I didn’t know, walked past and remarked:
“Oh Iseult, you really do love animals, don’t you!”
The second thing that helped eliminate my fear of spiders was living in houses that only have the long bodied cellar spider . These spiders are so delicate they look like they’re made from glass, and I don’t mind them at all. I once watched a tiny one spinning a web on the edge of my bedside lamp. It was so beautiful, there was something magical about it. It was then I realized I no longer feared spiders.
However, I bet my fear would return if I lived with giant house spiders again!
A few years ago I went to the cinema with a friend and her young daughter. As we waited for the trailers to start, the little girl pointed at a spider slowly crawling along the wall towards us.
“Look, it’s coming to say hello to Iseult. She’s the queen of the spiders!”
I don’t know if I’m ready to take on the title of spider queen, but it certainly shows I’m no longer afraid of them!
Are spiders your nemesis?