When I was a wee, feisty nine year old, some many, but not so many, years ago, my dramatic flair almost cost me a finger. In a fit of despair, I raced out our front door too fast, slamming my finger shut. It hurt soooo bad. A whole layer of skin dangled by a thread of flesh. I even had to miss school while the doctor carefully placed the bloody skin back on my finger and bandaged it together with a splint. There’s still a scar, and to this day it’s how I distinguish between left and right. My right hand has the scar.
At school the next day, my classmates hovered around my desk to get a look at the travesty. I tried to explain, but “ooohs” and “ahhhs” interrupted everyone’s accounts of the story.
“I heard you shut the arena doors on your hand.”
“I heard you lost a finger.”
“No, stupid. They ampupitated her whole hand.”
According to my classmates I was flown to the hospital in a helicopter where an army of doctors amputated my arm and flushed my body with Batman’s blood. Don’t worry, it’s just a scar. But, ever since that day I’ve been acutely aware of devastating possibilities.
For instance, my sister says she’s making a smoothie. I say, make sure you don’t get your hand stuck in the blade and rip apart your flesh. My brother goes to work in construction, I say, don’t get caught in the conveyor belt and split in half. There’s no conveyor belt? Okay, don’t drop a chainsaw on your legs.
Mostly it’s just a worry, but sometimes the images in my mind are too vivid to ignore. Blood and guts spewing everywhere while my family is mauled to death, my own limbs burning to a crisp. It gets so bad I have to close my eyes and cover my ears, singing la la la la la. A frightening and confusing sight for any witnesses.
Though gory, this fear can be helpful too. Like when I get so angry I want to smash something with a baseball bat. I think, whoa, hold up, what if the bat flies out of my hands and hits a small child in the face? The kid would surely die. Therefore, this is not a healthy reaction to my anger. Maybe I should go for a run.
I’ve always been keen on change, so I don’t think my fear has ever kept me from any experiences. I’m still up for a roller coaster ride even though there could be a faulty strap or a loose screw and I’m not giving up smoothies anytime soon. I’ll even take solo vacations in foreign cities and move across the country on a whim. But, where this fear becomes a problem is when I think about having kids. If the possibilities of what could happen to my family are so overwhelming, how will I cope with the possibilities of what could happen to my children? It’d be debilitating. I can just see myself being a crazy stalker mom following the bus to school in their adolescence. Or worse, sheltering them to the point where they can’t go to school at all.
As a twenty-five-year-old single, having children isn’t in my near future, but I would like it to be eventually. I hope I’m not subconsciously avoiding any relationship that could lead to motherhood. And, I hope this fear doesn’t affect my decision when the time comes. I want to experience the full wealth of life and I’d want that for my family and children too.
Stephanie Hall is writer, editor, designer, blogger, poet, photographer, playground lover, puppy person and creative brain behind Stylings & Stories. She is passionate about helping fellow creative solopreneurs by crafting playful, conscientious, and brilliant web and print communications. Everything from websites & logos to communications plans & brand strategies to creative writing & editing. Her blog is all things design, writing, art and silliness.
Fear Confessions is a series of essays by creatives who share personal stories about facing their fears. It’s a celebration of vulnerability.