cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


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FALLING OFF THE FLOOR…

My dad was wrong; you can fall off the floor.  I proved that on Friday night.

For the past month, I have been weaning myself off of Cymbalta with the assistance of my doctor.  I’d done some research online and there are websites dedicated to what it’s like to rid yourself of this horrible drug.

Having successfully weaned myself off from many different antidepressants over the years, I didn’t think much of it; I didn’t have any physical ailments to speak of.  I was a bit snarlier than usual and a bit quieter, but I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was what happened to me on Friday night.  The day at work had been very busy and it was good and although I was a bit on the quiet side (which for me is very unusual); there wasn’t anything spectacular about it.  After work, I picked up some groceries and some wine and headed home for an evening of Netflix, pizza and wine.  My typical Friday night.  I should point out that it’s not uncommon for me to drink two bottles of wine in one sitting and only feel mildly tipsy.

At around 10:00, I started feeling awful.  I mean mentally awful.  I started to cry and couldn’t stop.  Nothing triggered it; it just came out of the blue.  I was inconsolable.  I was beside myself with sadness and nothing was going to change that.  I started thinking that if this is what my life was going to be like; I wanted no part of it.  Evil thoughts started swirling around in my brain – would anyone really care if I wasn’t around anymore?  Would it be a tremendous loss?  I just couldn’t shake the thought that I would be better off dead.

I had a letter on my computer that I wrote a long time ago when I was depressed and wanting to get a will done.  I opened up that letter and below everything I’d written before, I put down into words, a final note for my friends and family.  A suicide note.  I’d written a fucking suicide note.

Then I went online and found out how much of a certain medication I’d have to take to effectively kill myself.  I found it, went to my cupboard and got the bottle.  I still hadn’t stopped crying, it’s like everything had caved in on me and I couldn’t see anything beyond what was right in front of me.  I methodically counted them out and put them on the table.  I looked at them through tear soaked eyes and before I knew what I was doing, I grabbed a handful and swallowed them.

In that minute, I knew.  I knew it was wrong and that I didn’t want to die.  I wanted to live.  I called my sister and freaked her out and told her what I’d done and that I loved her and hung up.  She kept calling and calling and then when I answered, I was informed that an ambulance was on the way.  I was pretty sleepy at this point and when they got to my house, my sister had pulled up just behind them.  They came in and led me out to the ambulance and off to emergency I went.

I was sleepy, drunk, and dozy and I felt like I was having an out of body experience.  We got to emergency and when they led me to a bed (I was still able to walk and everything), it was directly across from the bed they had my father in 3 weeks before he died.  That sent me into a fit of hysterics and I started to cry uncontrollably again.  I got settled and they did a whole slew of blood work and hooked me up to an IV to get some saline into my system.  My sister was there and I was angry that she called an ambulance and one minute I was crying to her and the next I was telling her off.

This is the part that scared me the most.  After an hour of being there, I just desperately wanted to go home.  I felt remorse, embarrassment and terrible that I’d wasted the valuable resources of our health system.  I promised I was fine and that I would be okay.  It wasn’t that easy.  They invoked the ‘mental health act’ which meant that I was bound by law to stay and if I put up any resistance, they had the legal obligation to actually restrict me by tying me down.

I had put myself in a situation where they needed to make sure I wouldn’t try harming myself again.  Jesus H. Christ.

So, I lay there and seethed throughout the night – not being able to sleep a wink. I was exhausted, I had a shitload of sleeping pills in my system and yet, my brain would not shut off long enough to allow me to sleep.  The longer the night wore on, the worse I felt.  Not physically, but I felt just awful for putting my sister through it (she has enough of her own problems).  The guilt was overwhelming.

I was told the night before that I had to wait to see the psychiatrist on call once the alcohol had left my system, so at 6:00 am, I asked if I could finally be considered to see someone and they told me someone would be around to see me ‘sometime that morning’.  I started to panic – what if they forgot about me?  What if my birds were scared and I’d accidentally left the door to their cage open?  I just wanted to GO HOME.

Around 9:00, a lovely young girl came in to see me and I gave her the whole story.  We talked for about an hour and from there she had to report back to the psychiatrist on call and she would decide if I could go home or if I needed to be admitted.

What?  I couldn’t be admitted!  I had too much to do!  I hate hospitals!  I want to go home!  I have pets to think about!  I can’t be admitted…I just can’t.  What would people think?  Would I lose my job?

The hours ticked by slower than anything I’d ever experienced.  I’d messaged my two very close friends to let them know what had happened and the messages started coming in fast and furious from them expressing concern and wondering what they could do to help.

I was overwhelmed by the messages – the sheer volume of them, and the love that was contained in each and every one of them.  They wanted to help.  They were sad that I had gotten to the point I had.  They wanted me to know that they thought I was worthy of love and friendship.  They thought I was special.

Around 12:00, after meetings with my young lady and the psychiatrist on call, I was discharged – with the promise from me that I would stop pushing people away and that I would let people support me.  I promised with every fibre of my being that I would.  I will be honest when I say that I would have agreed to anything just to get the hell out of there.

I got home and the first thing I did was open the door to the cage of my birds.  They glared at me, none too impressed that they hadn’t been let out or anything for over a day.  I started to cry, because I was so thankful to be home, to have my beautiful sister with me and to know that I had an entire team of friends that would check on me throughout the weekend to ensure I was okay.

My one little bird, came out of the cage tentatively and looked at me, flew over to my shoulder and buzzed me on the cheek.  What an absolutely glorious kiss that was.

At this risk of this sounding cliché, I was happy to be alive.

That was last weekend.  I had a rough start to the week – I was very weepy and emotional.  I explained to coworkers who asked how my weekend was that I had been in the hospital from ‘extreme reaction to a medication’.

Today is Wednesday and I’m feeling better, although I am weepy and get very emotional over the tiniest of things.  However, for the first time in a long time, I feel somewhat optimistic.  I think that sometimes we do have to fall off the floor so that we can learn how to stand up again.  Maybe we need to completely break in order to rebuild, instead of just putting band aids over the gaping wounds of our lives.  Perhaps – perhaps we need to lose all of the things that were holding our lives together – our egos, our anger, our sadness and depression – so that we can start fresh to build the lives we are supposed to have.

To anyone who is suicidal or thinks that life isn’t worth living – I beg you; please call your local distress centre.  Have that phone number on your speed dial.  Call a friend.  Call a neighbour.  Have a plan.  Know that you are worthy of love and happiness.  Know that what they say about it being darkest before the dawn is true – but that the dawn is coming and it wants to welcome you to a new day of being you.


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On a typical day, I get up, feed the birds, brush my teeth, make myself look relatively presentable and head to work.

I work in a job where I am ‘on’ from the minute I get there until the minute I walk out the door.  I work with some very high level people and part of my job is to schmooze and make nice-nice with the people that come in.  We host meetings, special events, medal ceremonies – you name it, we’ve done it.  And, I can say with great confidence that I SHINE in most of these situations.  You would never know in a million years, that underneath the professional, witty and hysterically funny woman, is a little girl who is just wanting to be liked.

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The silly thing is that people DO like me (insert Stuart Smalley reference here).  I think I’m a pretty good person, I have some really wonderful friends and would give you the shirt off my back if you needed it.  I’ve an acerbic wit that has gotten me in trouble more than a few times, I will bend over backwards to help you – I will even let you share my bag of Doritos (that’s the biggest honour I can bestow upon you).

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So, you would think that I would have all the confidence in the world – that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound, take on a bully, stand up against injustice (thank GOD for news websites that I can rant on) – even show others how to be a confident woman in this world.

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Sadly, I do not.  Have self confidence that is.  Okay, in *some* instances I do, and I get a real charge of positive energy when I am up in front of others, talking about something I’m passionate about.

But it can just take one comment, in one wrong moment to make me want to crawl up into a ball and wait for it to go away.  It’s as easy as someone ignoring me or not answering my email or phone message.  I revert back to the little girl, who never really got any positive reinforcement as a child, but the negative comments came fast and furious.

As that kid, I was trained to be my mother’s slave.  If I disappointed her, I was punished with silence and harsh, abrupt words.  To a little kid, it was pretty confusing, after all – I was trying to do what she wanted me to do, but it was just never right.  I didn’t clean the bathroom properly.  I didn’t wash the ashtrays (yeah, okay, I SO wasn’t going to do that anyhow).  I didn’t make her bed properly.  I didn’t remember to take out the garbage.  The list goes on.  So, as a grown adult, when I feel that I’ve disappointed someone in some way, I go out of my way to make amends.  Now, there is a little voice in my head that says ‘SHUTUP, DON’T MAKE IT WORSE, IT WILL BLOW OVER.”  But I’m also not very good listening to myself, so I ignore it and go ahead and indeed, make things worse.

And, this week – it did just that.  I had called in sick to work because I was having a horrible fibromyalgia pain day – I could barely move.  Now, I’m one of those people that will go to work even if I’m bleeding from an eyeball with pneumonia.  I feel guilty and even while I’m lying there wishing for death, I feel the need to connect with my work place so they know I’m not in Mexico drinking tequila out of some pool boys’ bellybutton.  But they don’t think that.  They think ‘hey, she’s sick, carry on.’

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So, basically I made a bad judgment call on Friday and wound up – what was perceived to be as ‘pestering’ my boss.  He was annoyed, I was freaked out because of his slight and fretted about it all weekend.

I should back pedal a bit by explaining that earlier this year, I needed to take a stress leave.  When I came back, he bent over backwards to accommodate me and our working relationship has grown in leaps and bounds (there are really only two of us in our office).  For the most part, we get along very well.

It’s been a couple of days and things aren’t much better and I’ve apologized for my end of things, which is all I can do.  My insecurities reared their ugly head and now I’m suffering the consequences.

A friend of mine told me today that I’m a very sensitive person and I should learn to not take things so personally – this was said with love, because I know this friend will always have my back.

She’s 100% right.  I need to let the guilty feelings that I grew up with go.  Let the insecurities I have about not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, fit enough, funny enough – go.  My mother might have been the best travel agent for guilt trips, but she’s gone now, and I think I’ll make my own travel arrangements from now on.


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TRUST…WORTHY?

When I was young, I trusted EVERYBODY.  I took everyone at their word and never once did I even consider that someone was being less than truthful with me or wanted to hurt me.  I was an open book; my mother used to tell me that I wore my heart on my sleeve.  You always knew where you stood with me – why would I lie?  Why would I hide my feelings away?

Thanks to lying, cheating men, friends who stabbed me in the back – I have done a complete 360 – I trust NO ONE.  It borders on paranoia.  Someone says something to me, I immediately think ‘can this person be trusted?’ – or, ‘is this true?’  Even people that I love – I have a hard time completely believing them – and believing IN them.  It’s not a conscious decision, rather something that has become ingrained into my psyche.

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If I were to write out all of the relationships I’ve had over the years, I’d have Hollywood writers knocking down my door, because NOBODY has the kind of luck I’ve had with men and this stuff can’t be made up.  From being in a long term relationship with someone who was engaged the whole time (this is where that ‘trust’ thing came into play; I had no idea) – to the guy who was married (yep, didn’t know that either – dumb? trusting?  stupid?  all of the above? – I only found out when I went to change my bird cage and saw the birth announcement of his daughter in the paper – seriously, no word of a lie – ha).  How about the guy who, unbeknownst to me, had hepatitis C and failed to inform me?  The only way I found out about that, was through a colleague at work (we all worked together) who had seen it in his file.  I had to go through the whole process of shots and updates for years.

Now, the occasional white lie – when appropriate – is okay.  I’m talking the ‘yes, you look AMAZING in those skin tight, white pants and no, I can’t see your happy face underwear through them’ kind of white lie.

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But soul destroying lying – whether it is outright – or lying through omission – is NOT okay.

I have developed a very cynical attitude towards most people.  I question people’s sincerity.  I question their motives.  I question their moral compass.  I feel – subconsciously – that I can no longer trust anyone for anything they say.  If someone says something nice about me, I shift into ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?” – I can’t even accept a proper compliment without getting the shifty eyed ‘you’re lying’ look going.

If someone tells me something that just doesn’t sound right, I don’t say much of anything.  However, I have the memory of an elephant for lies – and if you are lying to me, I WILL catch you.  Imagine how exhausting it is to be suspicious of almost anything anyone says.

I never used to be this bad – it’s only been in the past 9 years or so (since my father died).  I’ve always had a wall, but his death made me build a wall AROUND the wall, put barbed wire up, build a moat with sharks in it and guarded with a fire breathing dragon.

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As you can imagine, this has caused many a rift in friendships.  I have a small handful of people that I call my friends and each one of them is very special to me and I hate the fact that from time to time, I question what they tell me – or what they’re not telling me.

As I continue my journey into healthier living – inside and out, I’m desperately trying to not question what people are saying and/or doing, NOT question their motives and NOT think that they have an ulterior motive when they say something kind to me.  Because – I’m learning that these people are in my life because they give me something – love, friendship, honesty and kindness – and I hope (and I’m not going to question this either) that they think the same of me.

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This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for…

As we draw near to Thanksgiving here in Canada, I have been reflecting on what I’m thankful for.  In as much as I bitch and complain about my weight, the government and various assorted other things, I am very lucky have a beautiful home, a great job and good friends.

But the biggest thing I’m thankful for is my big sister.

I should start off by saying that there is a 10 year difference in age between the two of us and we’ve not always been close or seen eye to eye.  We didn’t spend much time together over the years – with that gap in age, we had nothing in common – except for our parents.  When I was born, she was 10.  Trust me when I say that over the years, at some times it felt like a complete generation gap.

As an oblivious teenager, I didn’t pay much attention to my parents or my sister.  It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20’s that I sort of understood the family dynamics.  By that, I mean how manipulative my mother was.

I was the one that was always close to my parents – for a few years, we actually lived in the same apartment complex.  I visited nearly every day, called EVERY DAY and did general errands if they were required.  My sister kept her distance (for reasons I understand now; but I certainly didn’t back then).  I felt like it was always me that was helping out.  Me that was the one they turned to when they needed something.  I was also the person that was caught in the middle; if my sister hadn’t called or visited in a reasonable amount of time (in my mother’s mind) I was sent forth to contact my sister to tell her to contact mom and dad.

(Yes, I actually did that – it never went over very well).  I resented my sister for not visiting as much as I did.

My mother had me brainwashed into thinking that my sister was a BAD person because she never called or visited (she would call and/or visit, but not ‘enough’ in my mother’s world).  Then I’d have my father asking me to ask my sister to call because it was upsetting mom (you see where I’m going with this).  IT WAS ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER.  It didn’t matter if my sister was busy.  It didn’t matter if she was going through some sort of crisis.  All that mattered is that she HADN’T CALLED MY MOTHER FOR 2 DAYS – WHAT AN UNGRATEFUL CHILD!

As I got older, I started to ‘rebel’ against wanting/needing to call my mother every day (as should most normal adults).  I LOVED talking to my dad – he had no agenda, he was just happy to chat.  She’d call me at work and start in on what a terrible child I was – after all the nice things they’d done for me – I couldn’t even take the time to call them?

One particular time stands out in memory – I was working for an organizing committee for a worldwide event that was taking place in my city.  I had been working 12 hour days with no breaks for about 4 weeks.  One day, as I was in the middle of a very high level meeting, she called me.  And, she began yelling at how awful I was, how self centered I was and that I was basically, an ungrateful little bitch (her words, not mine).  You see, I’d nicely asked if they would mind looking after my parrot while I was working ungodly hours and they said that it would be no problem.  All of a sudden, it became a HUGE problem and I was told to immediately come and pick him up.  All because I hadn’t been able to visit for a while.  Forget the fact that I was working stupid hours; I barely had time to eat, sleep and pee.  I remember walking out the door of my meeting and calling my mother every name I could think of (and some I think I made up on the spot).  I don’t think I’ve ever been that angry in my entire life.  The event was a huge success and the final day was on my birthday.  I had to be at work at 3:00 am to assist in getting 40,000 people out of the city.  We still weren’t speaking; and at about 8:30 in the morning I got a phone call from my dad – who had snuck out into his parkade – to wish me a happy birthday.  Then he wanted me to apologize to my mother and well, that was the end of that phone call.

(I know now that it was because she was making HIS life a living hell all because of OUR fight).

I was beginning to understand my sister and her reluctance to call/visit.  A few years later, my beautiful, wonderful dad died of cancer – which was the beginning of my downward spiral into the depths of hell.  However, my mother, she needed to follow me.

My sister and I had to team up.  Mom would call and say ‘she said this’ or ‘she did that’ – pitting us against each other in order to get her own way.  This was the first time that my sister and I really started to get to know each other as people, not just as sisters.

While the event that brought us together was the worst thing that has ever happened to me – I’ll always be grateful for it allowing me to my sister as a human being.

After dad died, my mother became even more of a challenge.  My sister and I were put through the ringer.  Spending time with my mother was painstaking, soul sucking and emotionally draining.  Nothing we ever did was good enough, fast enough (don’t get me started on taking her into restaurants).  We didn’t call enough, visit enough, and when we did, it wasn’t long enough.

Mom passed in 2010 and shortly thereafter, my beautiful sister, who I’d come to adore, learned she had Parkinson’s.  WTF?  My sister, who’d sat on the International Rowing Committee, who’d traveled the world to different rowing events, who’d effectively created a rowing program strictly for disabled rowers – had a neurological disease that caused her pain and suffering.

It was like the universe was watching and waiting before it unleashed the hell that is Parkinson’s.  But, why?

I’ve watched my sister over the past few years fight this horrible disease with grace, dignity and even some laughter.  She doesn’t let it stop her, nor does she sit back and let it consume her.  She continues to work a full time job, have an active social life and volunteer her time for rowing events.  She is a dynamo, she lives life to the best of her ability and she is always, ALWAYS there for me.

To add insult to injury, she suffered a broken femur earlier this year (riding tandem with her husband – yep, she was entering a tandem bike race – she’s also a bit on the crazy side).   She was wheelchair bound for a couple of months and has graduated to using a cane.  During this time, she’s once again proven that she is made of tougher stuff than most people.  While she has her moments when everything just crashes in around her and she needs to just cry it out, she is strong, determined and most of all, she is still grateful for everything and everyone in her life.

This past weekend we made a trek to the Rocky Mountains for a quick visit and we had a wonderful time.  It was, however, hard for me to watch her struggle, as I knew she was in serious pain, but not ONCE did she want to give up or give in.  We walked, talked, laughed and cried (well, I did – when she wasn’t looking).  We learned that we each had a completely different upbringing – and that was insightful, as it helped me understand her better and vice versa.

So, thank you universe.  Thank you for giving me my big sister.  Thank you for providing the life experiences we’ve had apart and together – that has brought us both to the here and now.  Thank you for showing me love and for letting me see how wonderful a sister can be.  You’ve given me my best friend.

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About a month ago, I met with the psychiatrist in my Weight Wise program; a lovely woman named Margaret.  Determining my mental health (or lack thereof) is a crucial part of deciding whether or not this program is for me.

Margaret was wonderful.  She was easy to open up to and asked what I considered to be very relevant questions.  I told her my tales of being overweight since I was a kid, how I use food for comfort, the usual things.  It was very refreshing to speak to someone about my weight who wasn’t telling me that I need to eat more vegetables.  Who understood that my weight issues stem from my BRAIN and not necessarily what I put into my mouth (I should also explain that I have a number of physical issues that contribute to my obesity; not the other way around and it makes it twice as hard to lose weight).

I told her the regular ‘as a kid, I didn’t get (insert emotion here) and therefore I turned to (insert vice here).’  And, that as an adult, I still find great comfort in a bowl of potato chips while reading a book just before I go to bed.

I’ve since seen my case worker, who is also fabulous and she has asked me to track my food/exercise intake so that she can take a look at it the next time I see her.  I grudgingly agreed to do so – why grudgingly?  Because I’ve been down this road before and it’s not ended well.  I become obsessive over every single calorie.  It turns into a full time job just remembering to log that extra teaspoon of ketchup.  If I go over my calorie count for the day, I consider it a huge failure and I get very upset. Putting it in writing means that I have to commit myself to something and that’s not my strong point.  Like an ex boyfriend said to me years ago – “you want a commitment?  I can’t even commit to owning a goldfish.”

So, as of last Monday, I’ve been writing down what I’ve eaten.  Now, I don’t know what exactly is happening in my head these days, but to be blunt – I’m a pig.  I can’t stop eating.  I don’t care what I eat, what I drink or how much.  I liken it to a Roman feast (sans roasted peacock or stuffed door mouse).  Even during my worst times, I wasn’t eating like this.

I guess the big question is why?  Why am I feeling so out of control?  I’ve also been feeling very angry lately (I’ve actually had the same dream of chewing my mother’s face off several times over the past few weeks – let me tell ya, that certainly needs some analyzing).  I’m irritable.  I’m belligerent.  I’m mad at everyone for no good reason.  I’ve even apologized to my body for treating it so badly.

I’m existing blindly, without thinking, without feeling.  Because if I stop to think about the challenge ahead of me, I might just fall apart.  Or even worse – fail.

I found this in an article sent to me this week:  Sense of Failure – Many people can stake their happiness on the achievement of a specific goal, such as achieving exam results, earning a certain amount of money, or progressing a certain distance in their career. If for some reason they do not achieve this goal, they may believe they have failed in some way. This sense of failure can increase the likelihood of experiencing depression (http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk).

Interesting.  If there is one thing I hate more than anything else in the world, it is failing at something.  My mother had the Homer Simpson parenting manual, which states “If it’s too hard to do, don’t bother.”  So, when I did try something and failed, I either got the ‘told you so’ or the ‘it’s not worth it’ speech.  That’s sort of been my subconscious motto since I was a kid.  I’ve only recently come to understand it.

Basically, I’M what’s holding me back.  In as much as I want someone to come and fix this for me, it ain’t gonna happen.  I have a lot of people supporting me and want to see me succeed – but I can’t seem to find that support for myself.  If a friend is trying to accomplish something, I’m the first one in with my pom-poms and bullhorn cheering them on, but when it comes to cheering myself on, I’m sadly lacking in the pom-pom department.

Hmm.  Maybe it’s time to try a different cheer?

 

 

 


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Well, my 46th birthday came and went with very little fanfare. I spent some time with friends and family and it was all very nice, indeed.  But, I did something a bit different this year. You see, last year, I started taking on a ‘fear a year’ – where I would do something completely out of my comfort zone.  

I have many, MANY things that would take me out of my comfort zone.  The list is endless.

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I am very fortunate to work next door to our Provincial Museum.  Over the years, I’ve gotten to know my neighbours very well, to the point where I can come and go freely within the building.  It’s a pretty nifty place, filled with history, exhibits of all kinds and…a Bug Room.

Yes, a Bug Room.  An enchanted place where you can see live and in person, bugs of all shapes and sizes – everything from stick insects to a mammoth bird eating spider.

Maybe enchanted wasn’t quite the word I was looking for.  Hmmm…let’s go with terrifying instead.  Yes, that’s better.

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You can literally hear them scuttling about, you can watch cockroaches crawl over each other and you can even view a millipede (this one looks like it’s on steroids).  But the worst thing?  The spiders.  All different kinds, shapes and sizes.

I hate spiders.  Hated ’em since I was a kid.  I remember once when I was little, playing in the basement, I saw a spider (which at the time – to me – was the size of a football), so I started screaming ‘SPIDER!  SPIDER!  SPIDER!’ at which point my mother came running down the stairs with a bucket of water – she thought I’d been yelling ‘FIRE!’

Now, as a grown woman of 46, I can still scream like a little girl when I find one in my house.  I’d never kill one; in fact – I would scoop it up into a glass and toss it over my balcony (which is 12 storeys up, so I’m not sure if they ever make it or not).  Those little black ones that run across your ceiling like Ben Johnson with the shits – I HATE those!

(You might have an inkling where I’m going with this).

I mustered up the courage to contact the guy who runs the Bug Room, Pete.  I explained why and what I wanted to do and he was more than happy to accommodate my request.

So, at exactly 3:00 pm on my birthday, I made my way over to the museum – shaky, a bit queasy – but kind of excited at the same time.  I met Pete in the bug lab, where they grow all of the bugs – imagine the Smithsonian Institute – but with containers of insects – row upon row of them.  I made it in the front door and just sort of stopped.  I’d been in there before, but this time it was different.  I was gonna do it.  YES, I WAS…

I WAS GONNA HOLD A TARANTULA.

Pete is amazing.  He loves these creatures like they were his children.  He was thrilled to be able to help me overcome my fear (now, at this point, I wasn’t sure if I was going to throw up, wet my pants or possibly just pass out).  Very gently, he took Rosie from her house and put her on his hand.  I stood about 10 feet back, just looking.  Then, I slowly made my way over and took a good look at her.  Yep, that is one big, hairy spider.  Looked at her for a couple more minutes.  Then, I very tentatively touched her.  OMGOMGOMGOMGITOUCHEDIT!  But, wait a minute.  That wasn’t so bad.  As a matter of fact, she’s kinda fuzzy.  Like a pipecleaner.  Pete then asked if I wanted to hold her and I drew in a deep breath, and said – sure.  Very slowly, Pete placed Rosie in my hand.  Watching her, each leg moved with exact precision as she adjusted to my hand.  She was so delicate in her movements!  She just sort of sat there, not moving much.  For about the first 30 seconds I stood there in shock…THERE IS A GIANT TARANTULA ON MY HAND.  Then I took a really good look at her.  She was sort of cute, in a giant, hairy spider sort of way.  And very light.  Then I smiled – this wasn’t so bad!  This was really cool!  She started to move a little bit, which for a millisecond threw me off, but then it was neat how she sort of tickled my palm with her movements.  I was smitten.

I held onto Rosie for about 10 minutes, looking at her with complete awe.  What an interesting creature.  Pete explained the misconception regarding tarantulas and how they’re much more afraid of us than we are of them.

I allowed Pete to put Rosie back into her house.  I was beaming from ear to ear – not only because I found her fascinating, but because I did something that in a million years, I never thought I’d be able to do.

I stepped out of my comfort zone in a big, BIG way.  I overcame a fear.  Now, I’m not about to start collecting spiders as pets, but in the future, I will look at them in a completely different way.  

Next year – ‘a fear a year’:  Gonna go on a date with a nice guy.  Of course, I have to find one, sedate him and brainwash him, but I think I’m up for the challenge 🙂

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