I was scared this week. A bird flew (also frightened) out of a bush and into my leg, brushing it’s wings on the there top of my left foot- never have I regret ballet pumps more.
After the- we’ll call it Bird Encounter- I was thinking about the last time I was really really frightened. Fear, is a funny thing for an adult. As a child you’re scared of all sorts, unsure of the world and the things lurking around in it, but you’re protected by parents and other grown ups, so you’re fine. As an adult, I consider that fear is often mixed up with anxiety.
For instance, I was anxious about going to a new hairdressers. But I wasn’t fearful. As it happens I was right to be anxious. Call it my own fault for taking up an offer for Esquire et Cie in Otley, on Groupon. A mistake that I’ve definitely learnt from. There was issues booking and I ended up waiting an entire month for an appointment I could actually attend, on arriving I was told that I’d be given the wrong information about use of the voucher (the owner was stand-offish, but changed promptly when realising the mistake was hers), this made for me really looking forward to having my hair done there- not! I was then told that if I wanted my hair to look like a “professional” had done it, they couldn’t highlight it. That’s usually what I go for when I visit a salon.
The website had looked slick and promising and the outside of the shop was kitcsch-looking at least, but inside the worn floor made it look dated, anyway, the attitude of the staff meant that even if it had have been sparkly I wouldn’t return (you can’t polish a turd). The hairdresser was rough (my eyes watered on more than one occasion as she tugged my Barnett) and rude (she told me my har would never look as nice as hers, which is firstly her job but secondly, highly ironic as hers was fine and limp looking- not the usual look in a hairdresser). Although the cut turned out okay it isn’t what I asked for and she stopped to give another customer a consult halfway through drying my mop, meaning that mine was only half blow-dried and stuck out funny, it’s tidy. It’s not blonde which is what I’d wanted. It’s not a style that I wanted. But it’s tidy.
In case I was unclear, this is not a recommendation. It’s kind of the opposite of that, a warning of sorts.
Where was I? Fear.
I’m scared of birds because of something that happened when I was about 4 or 5. Which has led me to think that fear as an adult, which is not just mis-described anxiety, is almost wholly illogical.
We were on a caravan ing holiday in hornsea, which is a quiet seaside town somewhere. Me, Mum, Dad, James (my little brother who actually was little then, now he’s a teacher and towers over me). It was a great week. I got some clear jelly sandals with a one inch heel that I fell over in a lot (nothing changes) and I had a diary with a key and everything. I had that diary, with it’s little padded front for years after. I wrote in pen and it was neat but wonky, my spelling was excellent for my age. I wish I’d not chucked it out as a teen when I wanted to be cool. Maybe my Dad still has it somewhere, maybe in his garage. He might come across it when he’s looking for something else like he did with that letter to Santa where I said I didn’t “need anything else” and to “give some toys to the boys and girls who didn’t have as much as me”- I was such a loser. Again, nothing changes.
I’ve always liked diaries. Aged 13 I had an actual voice activated “secret diary” which was simultaneously not secure enough (my broth could get in with the correct word) and too secure (when I spoke, it said the password wasn’t recognised.) I often resorted to unscrewing the battery door at the back with a butter knife to get in, which I suppose anyone could have done if they wanted to know who I “lv’ed” enough.
We were feeding the geese in Hornsea, Mum had saved us some bread for them and I was sat on the bonnet of Dad’s car. The geese were huge (compared to tiny me) and their faces were at the level of mine. One of said geese was getting all of the bread so I tried to outsmart him; I put the bread behind my back and continued to feed the geese, a minute later the greedy goose had gone. He promptly tried to get the bread from my hand, behind my back and pecked my little bottom. The shorts I was wearing didn’t provide much protection and it really hurt.
I sat in Dad’s cavalier for the rest of the time that everyone else fed the geese, crying and sulking. I’ve hated birds ever since and the older I’ve become the more panicked I’ve felt around birds. It’s a real phobia, which- though I don’t believe is completely unwarranted- is still illogical.
It’s almost as illogical as that uneasy feeling you might have walking in the dark alone. I really think that fear is a misunderstood emotion, it gets a bad press really. It’s kind of a defence mechanism, I suppose and given how often we truly feel it, it’s not so bad.
Food for thought; when were you last frightened?