Friday, September 24, 2010

The blog where I proceed to publicly humiliate myself

Why is your blog called Fearlessly Phobic?

This is a question I’ve heard quite a bit since I’ve gone more-or-less public with my blog.

I don’t know if it’s obvious to anyone not intimately familiar with the inner workings of my neuroses, but I am plagued by chronic fear of… well… everything.

OK, not everything, but it feels like everything and that’s what counts. I think.

My neuroses get even more complicated when you factor in my very contradictory nature. It makes keeping track of my various phobias about as uncomplicated as mapping the human genome. For instance…

I am terrified of public speaking… to small groups. Put me in front of 500 people, with a spotlight squarely on me, and I’m good to go. Just please don’t ask me to speak to a group of 20 people – especially not with a microphone. I think my fear of microphones is what made me develop such a loud speaking voice.

I am also terrified of talking on the phone – and am beyond relived that text is an acceptable form of communication. Text gives me a chance to form what I want to say, to delete and refine my words, so I can appear much more eloquent than I actually am. My fear of talking on the phone also has a great deal to do with my over-reliance on using hand gestures to fill in the gaps in my speech patterns (lost for a word? A flap of the hands and the gap is magically filled!), and you can’t see hand gestures over the phone.

I’m also pretty socially awkward. I tend to speak before thinking a lot, and often end up committing huge gaffes in an attempt to be funny. Most of my social goofs are committed on the phone, too. This does not help matters and contributes a great deal to my mild agoraphobia that only rears its ugly head in small settings like parties or other social gatherings. You could set me down smack dab in the middle of New York City and I’d be like a fish in water, completely comfortable. But in those small social settings, where I’m expected to hold a conversation, I suddenly forget that I do, in fact, know how to speak.

…This, of course, makes me come across as bitchy, a fact that I am all too aware of. In this case, knowing that I’m coming across as a bitch only makes the whole situation worse.

A late appearing phobia to my ever-expanding repertoire is a fear of flying. Miguelito is a pilot and has attempt to waylay my fear of flying by telling me all about the science that makes airplanes stay in the sky, so I can use the knowledge to talk myself off the ledge. But all of the science in the world cannot convince me that I will not somehow make the plane fall from the sky if I shift in my seat. No, really. Every time I jitter my leg, “suddenly” the plane hits a patch of turbulence.

I still fly quite a bit – at least four times a year – but the only way I can is with a little help from a friend I like to call Xanax (The Boyfriend™, I hope, is a better flier than me, because he’s going to have to calm me the fuck down on our trip home from Massachusetts. This should be an interesting benchmark in our relationship… “Remember that time, Honey, when you had to talk the flight attendant out of calling the air marshal to arrest me? No. The first time you had to do that. Y’know, after you meet my nutty family? Wasn’t that hilarious?!”)

Speaking of making planes fall from the sky, I am also incredibly superstitious. Logically (HA!) I know that my lucky penny has no real effect on my life, but that doesn’t stop me from lifting my feet when I cross train tracks, scream at crows or hold my breath past graveyards. I swear I’ve tried to give them up, but my life has a strange way of reinforcing my superstitious nature.

Oh, but wait! There’s MORE. Any situation that involves preparedness or being accountable, like parent-teacher conferences, training sessions for the staff at work or paying my bills in person (or over the phone), strikes a chord of fear in me that makes me rock back-and-forth while trying to go to my “happy place” (which, BTW, is a land that doesn’t have such things as parent-teacher conferences or paying bills).

Being touched also makes the list of things I’m afraid of. Mostly this is because being touched automatically makes me hyper-aware of all of my flaws. It’s one thing for me to know that I had to use an elastic hair tie to keep my pants “buttoned,” but I like to pretend that you see me as a sylph-like vixen who wears a size four. Never mind that the only size four I’ve ever fit into was a pair of shoes. And I was 12.

Like the list of things I’m allergic to, the list of miscellaneous things that freak me out is pretty random, too: goats, bugs (all of them – including butterflies), clowns, midgets and identical twins.

I can cite specific reasons for the goats, bugs and clowns, but I’ll be damned if I know why midgets and identical twins have made the list. Maybe I just like things in fives.

Now that I’ve bared my myriad issues to explain the title of my blog, I’m going to crawl under my covers and die now.

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