Because I just stayed up the entire night reading about serial killers, I’ve started thinking about fear, particularly the difference between dread (fear of events or situations that have a high probability of happening in the future) and phobia (intense and sometimes irrational fear of entities or ideas unrelated to their likelihood of “happening”). Here are lists of my dreads, phobias, and non-fears.
Things I dread:
- death—specifically, the period at the end of your life when you know death is just a nap or two away. This is unfortunate because I like taking naps, but I definitely see myself avoiding them after a certain age to postpone death. And I don’t believe in any kind of afterlife.
- failure—waking up when I’m 50 years old with no money or accomplishments
- aging—wrinkles, pooches, bodily weakness, gray hairs, unwanted facial hair, etc.
- socially awkward situations—my solution is to avoid them and the people they entail, sometimes for years at a time
Things I’m terrified of (a.k.a. my phobias):
- the dark—and being by myself when it’s dark
- heights–just thinking about it makes my feet sweat
- looking into deep water—defined by 8 feet or more for clear water and 5 feet or more for murky water
- worms, caterpillars, and all other soft, hairless insects that wriggle or crawl
- octopi, sea cucumbers, lampreys, leeches, and other squishy marine entities
- really ugly people deformed by tumors, burns, parasites, harlequin disease, excessive age, botched plastic surgery, etc.
- the monster from Mulholland Drive
- potato sprouts–they just look wrong
Things other people find scary that I do not:
- spiders, silverfish, cockroaches, and most other hard-shelled insects
- rats and other rodents that don’t belong in cages with wood chips and treadmills
- the ghetto—specifically, walking through the ghetto at night
- driving drunk
- domestic violence