Eight Legged Freaks

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?

What fear have you conquered?

27 thoughts on “Eight Legged Freaks”

  1. I’m sorry but I am still scared of spiders. Not as bad as I was. If there is one in my room, as long as it stays in its corner in the ceiling at the far side of the room and never moves, then I am okay. But if it gets close to the bed, or pops into the shower, then I take action (I hate killing them but if they break the one-side agreement I’ve made with them, that’s what happens.) Luckily for me, my spiders are also the skinny ones – if I saw a thick legged big one, I’d never enter my room again!!

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  2. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said education played a big role in not being afraid of spiders anymore. It worked that way for me and paper wasps and tarantula hawks. But a European hornet, an Asian hornet, or especially a bald-faced hornet (which are all types of wasps) still give me the heebie-jeebies! So do Africanized honey bees. The more I learned about the hornets and killer bees, the more frightening they become!

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    1. Thank you, Priscilla. Being informed is a great way to overcome fear. Of course, it’s different when your fear really is dangerous. Then it is a very useful emotion, just as long as it doesn’t stop you from thinking rationally.

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  3. Actually, I think my fascination with horror came from getting scared in the first place. At the synagogue my dad was rabbi of when I was a little kid, there was this hallway that two staff members played a prank on me and scared me half to death (no idea why or if they knew who I was, they just did and scared the hell out of me). Going back into that hallway and conquering my fear took everything I had at six years old, but it worked. And since then, I’ve worked to conquer the majority of my fears. It sometimes taken me years, but I’ve done it.
    That being said, my fear of spiders still needs to work. I’m not necessarily scared of spiders anymore, so long as they’re not crawling on me, but I don’t scream my head off whenever I see them anymore. Monster Bug Wars on YouTube certainly helped with that, for some reason. I think it might have been a safe exposure/operant conditioning sort of thing. Seeing spiders so big but at the same time at a safe distance (through a phone screen) did wonders for me.
    At the same time, if a large one showed up in my home (like it did twice in an old apartment of mine), I would think twice about getting near it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, Rami, I think my fears is what drew me to horror too. Looking for a way to deal with and overcome my fears, as well as seeing other people struggling with scary things.

      Congratulations and hugs to 6 year old Rami! I can see and feel that scary corridor from your description and I know how hard that must have been to overcome. I’m so impressed.

      Congrats on continuing to conquer your fears. I may be the spider queen, but I don’t think I’d like to be visited by any of my larger subjects either!

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  4. Congrats on tackling that fear! I’m still scared of spiders, as well as wasps/bees, and drowning.

    My biggest achievement is tackling shame. I have this weird fear of being shamed publicly and while I haven’t conquered it completely I’ve made some pretty good strides. ☺️

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      1. Thanks! I think it’s something I’ll struggle with my entire life, but I’ve gotten to a point where I can catch myself spiraling and reaffirm myself that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Digital Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Many years ago in my youth I was dining with an American family. We had chicken for dinner, and whenever someone finished eating the meat on the bone they would get up, open the cupboard door and throw the chicken bone in. I asked what they were doing and they said they were feeding their pet tarantula. Of course this naive New Zealand believed them and quaked at the news – much to their delight!

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  6. It’s cool that you conquered your fear of spiders. I haven’t conquered any of my fears from childhood–fear of boogeyman (to this day, my closet door has to stay closed and I won’t put my feet down to the floor if I’m sitting on my bed lol), heights, water. But, I’m trying to get over my fear of heights and water. Can’t change my overactive imagination about the boogeyman and other monsters though.

    Keep smiling,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Yawatta. Good luck conquering those fears! I’ve giving up trying with heights and water, but having my dog and cats always with me has greatly helped my fear of the boogeyman. I have great confidence that they will let me know about anything lurking in my room.

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  7. It’s amazing what a little education can do to quell our fears of animals. I used to be terrified of sharks, but not anymore, now that I know them better. We’re wise to be cautious, but knowledge goes a long way. “The Queen of Spiders”… that’s awesome. 😀

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  8. As a kid I loved all bugs. This fear developed as I grew older. But when I get freaked about spiders, my husband always reminds me of their magic, and of the story of “Charlotte’s Web.” Nevertheless, I won’t hurt them. I just go in another room when I see them.

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