Own Your Fears!

So can I just tell you how I almost died the other day?
Disclaimer – this post involves the death of a spider.  I am terrified of spiders.  I know that some people love spiders, or at the very least, don’t hate them, and I know that there are people who will not kill a spider, but who might safely capture it and set it free outdoors.  I am not one of these people.  I kill spiders.  I hope that my story does not offend any spider lovers out there.

And so we begin…

A bit of background: you may or may not know that I am petrified of spiders. Absolutely terrified. Not in the way that I don’t like ants, or other bugs, but actually terrified of spiders. I have a physical reaction to them (sweating, shaking, sometimes there are tears – because when there is any spike in emotion and/or adrenaline for me tears just happen. It’s ridiculous and I’ve come to terms with it, although it can be pretty inconvenient!) and the reaction is directly related to the size of the spider (I’m pretty sure that if I came across a tarantula I’d have to be hospitalized!) I often scream. I always jump and then freeze in a complete panic with no idea what to do.

My method of killing spiders is intricate and involves chemicals and does not involve me attempting to touch or squish them by hand while they are alive. I will generally grab whatever spray bottle is closest (water, hair spray, bathroom cleaner…pure acid. whatever) and spray the hell out of the spider until it is either dead or immobilized. This method, while keeping me distanced from the monsters, has led to many discolored splotches on my walls and ceilings throughout the years. That is a small price to pay for my safety, I say. My husband, however, has (repeatedly) asked (told) me NOT to spray random chemicals on the walls. Clearly, though, I cannot promise such a thing unless he can promise to ALWAYS come to my rescue when a spider is nearby no matter the time of day or night…AND not be grumpy about it. Clearly he can’t promise that (although he says he does, but I’ve seen the attitude I get when I need spider assassination assistance and it’s not convenient for him!)
And don’t even get me started on the hysterics that occur when a spider is above my head! You KNOW they are going to jump down on me and kill me. And if you try to get one while it’s up there you will fail and it will end up down your shirt or nestled in your hair. Fortunately with my spray bottle technique, you can stand at a distance far enough away that when they do fall down you are out of the landing zone. Also, attempting to squash/kill with a tissue or something like some people do is NOT an option for me because obviously what would happen is it would bust through the tissue and bite my hand or crawl up my arm. And if you try to use like a wad of tissues or something you have no way to tell if you actually got it because you can’t feel it in the bunch of tissues and so it probably got away and will come back and kill you later. So yeah. Spiders must be immobilized before I can pick them up with tissues for their watery burial flush them. Do not put them in the trash because they will obvoiusly come back to life and kill you later – I assume that goes wthout saying, but just in case any of you weren’t aware, I felt it my duty to let you know!

Ok, now to this week’s events. I’m in my office attempting to walk out my door when I’m stopped dead in my tracks by something on the light beige carpet. Is it a spider? It’s a weird one that I don’t think I’ve seen before. So, no, maybe it’s a hairball or piece of something that somehow landed in my doorway (there have been many fuzz balls that have put me into my spider panic before I got up the nerve to investigate and discover that they were not, in fact, spiders set out to kill me). So I lean in (not TOO close, mind you, but closer – still several feet away) and the freaking thing JUMPS! Just a little hop to the side. Well that does it. Now I’m in full on spider panic.

Things running through my head at this point include such logical and coherent thoughts as: “OMG. Spider. OMG. OMGOMGOMGOMG. Spider. WTF. What do I do? It’s big. It jumps. I’m not attempting to step on it. OMG. OMG. OMG. Scream for help. Seriously, should I yell for help? Would that be over the top? What if it’s poisonous? OMG OMG OMG. Help. I should yell for help. No. Spray bottle. Get the Windex. Crap. I can’t, the Windex is in the kitchen and I have to go past the spider to get to the kitchen. If I am able to get past it without it jumping on me, by the time i get back, it will have crawled into my shoes or my closet and I’ll never find it and never be able to work in this office again. Dammit. Why don’t i have a spray bottle in my office?! Water. I have water. I have a cup of water. I can probably dump the water on it and stun it enough that I can get it. Ok yes. Water.”

I grab my huge cup of water (full. with ice in it) and fling the water and ice out of the cup towards the wall/floor where the spider is hanging out. Obviously I mostly miss and now there’s just a big wet splotch on the wall and carpet and the spider scurries away. It is now mere inches from going behind my filing cabinet. Just on the other side of the filing cabinet are my Uggs (wouldn’t THAT be a cozy place for this creature of the devil to hide out and wait for me?!) so I move the Uggs (fling them across the room) but now there is no barrier from stopping the monster from scurrying behind the filing cabinet and into the closet which has roughly 10 pairs of my shoes (all of which are amazing hiding places) on the floor plus a toolkit bag thing. And my jacket is hung up in there. And a box of pens (another GREAT hiding spot!)…no this cannot happen. The spider cannot make it to sanctuary in the closet. Fortunately just then, Dave (one of our analysts) walks by.

Me: “Dave. how do you feel about spiders?”
Dave: “Well. I mean, I don’t LOVE them or anything…”
Me: “Ok great. So can you help me?”

I briefly summarize the situation for him (and pay no attention to his expression when he’s standing in a puddle and a pile of ice!) Fortunately he is a good sport and together we scootch the filing cabinet out together (those things are heavy!) and I hand him a tissue. One single tissue. This spider was easily big enough to bust through a whole pile of tissues but Dave takes it like a champ and one tissues this monster!

Dave: “That’s a weird looking spider.”
Me: “Yes. Kill it.”

He senses my unease and disposes of it (wisely, NOT in my office trash can – didn’t even have to ask him to go somewhere else. He’s a good kid. And now he’s my hero. After he disposes of the monster he comes back to help me heave the filing cabinet back in place and finally asks about the puddle.

Dave: “So you threw the water at it?”
Me: “Yes. The whole cupful”
Dave: “So was that a reaction, or was that your plan…?”
Me: “No. that was my plan. I thought that out before I did it.”
Dave: “Oh. Ok. Well I’m glad I could help you out with that.”

What a gem. Once that ordeal is over my face is beet red, I’m sweating a little bit, my heart is racing, and my hands are shaking. I went into the kitchen to fill my water (since it was now empty!) and heat up my lunch. My hands were literally shaking the whole time I was making it! They finally stopped after about 10 minutes.

Phew! That was a close call.

What does this have to do with Owning Your You? Well, quite simply, in order to Own Your You, you need to own ALL of your you: your crazies, faults, neuroses and everything else that makes you YOU! A few years ago I may not have had the confidence to ask for help and show my weakness in that manner. I don’t know exactly how I would have handled it, but it would have caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety!  This terrifying (and a bit ridiculous) scenario showed me that by being able to ask for help…even in something as silly as this (although, when I’m in the midst of a spider-panic, it does not seem to be a silly thing!) showed me that I’ve taken more steps on my path towards owning my me.  I was grateful that I could acknowledge that (after the sweating and shaking subsided).

Whatever your you is – embrace it.  Own it.  And tell me about it!