Mouse_spider

What is your greatest fear?

Spiders? I get that one. I used to have a pretty intense fear of spiders, until I lived among them in the Philippines so much that I started thinking of them lovingly as pets. I’m pretty sure I ended up naming one Sasha, after my former roommate’s girlfriend’s sister’s purse.

The dark? I get that too. When I was younger I told my mom that I wasn’t afraid of the dark, I was just afraid of what could be hiding in the dark. She lovingly told me that I was the stupidest child she had ever met, because I had just described exactly what it means to be afraid of the dark.

Snakes? I don’t always get that one. I just like to think of certain snakes’ venomous bites as painful kisses. And some snakes’ abilities to squeeze you to death? Nothing but the most intense hug you will ever have. What is there to be afraid of about that??

Personally, when people ask me what I’m most afraid of, I give a variety of answers that nevertheless point to the same greatest fear: loneliness.

I am afraid of being alone.

When I was younger, I thrived on solitude. I would literally act out my own movies and TV shows while jumping on my trampoline in the backyard. I gathered my stuffed animals together and made them the characters in my own version of Survivor. I even invented the fall and spring Olympics just so I could be the winner of multiple events (as I was the only one who participated). Don’t even ask what could qualify as a fall or spring Olympic event. Flower picking? Leaf-pile diving? I don’t know, I was drunk during most of my childhood.

The previous paragraph probably makes it seem like I was both insane and friendless. But while it’s very possible that I was insane (and my family would readily attest to that), I certainly was not friendless. I had lots of friends as a child… definitely more than I have now. I just really valued my alone time. I didn’t need friends to be happy.

But I don’t act out my own shows anymore. I don’t compete against myself in my own Olympic games. I haven’t done any of that since I was 23. I mean 10. Ahem. My imagination is not as vivid as it was as a child, plus it would be kind of awkward for a 24-year-old to gather his stuffed animals together for rousing games of Survivor, especially considering I no longer own any stuffed animals (may they rest in peace… especially my Barney stuffed animal, who was violently destroyed in my older brother’s murderous vendetta against me. There was stuffing everywhere).

In recent years, I have gone from cherishing my alone time to fearing it. I’m not sure exactly what happened in my life to cause this dramatic shift. Most likely it has something to do with the college atmosphere, where we are expected to socialize with everyone and their mothers and their mothers’ goats. But that has never been my scene. I don’t like large groups of people. When I see large groups of people at a restaurant, I get really nervous and throw taco shells at them until they go away. Then I eat the food that they leave behind.

In fact, as a general rule, I don’t like people. People are the worst. People have a lot of power to hurt you if you let them get close enough. The closer you are to a person, the more capable they are of hurting you. And that scares me every day of my life.

So, basically, I’m afraid of being alone, but I’m also afraid of people because I fear what they could do to me. Sounds kind of counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Well, you know what? Your face is counter-intuitive. So there.

What can I do to combat this paradox of thought that plagues my mind on a daily basis? Needless to say, it can be difficult sometimes. Over the past couple years, I have found myself feeling increasingly isolated from the world around me as life reminds me, time and time again, that it can’t always just be peaches and cream–which is fine, because I don’t really like peaches anyway. I prefer pineapples.

pineapple

Life, like a pineapple, can be sweet, but sometimes it also gets stuck in your teeth, which can be bothersome. Wait, that doesn’t make any sense!!!

To make matters worse, recent circumstances place me alone in my apartment for the next little bit. So while I was alone before, now I’m alone alone. In fact, if anyone wants to come rescue me from my loneliness, click here to see my address, along with my debit card and social security numbers, just in case you want to bring me a gift and/or steal my identity!

Since being left home alone over one day ago, I have adopted seventeen cats. I am now addicted to Days of Our Lives and have started counting the characters as my “true friends.” I tried stepping outside once, but then a quail gave me a shifty look, so I immediately returned to my bed. I have also taken to carrying on deep conversations with my kitchen cabinets, who actually have a lot of interesting things to say. Their position on human rights is fascinating.

As for long-term plans to avoid loneliness, I plan on getting a therapy animal of some sort. Maybe a therapy dog. Or a therapy cactus. Or a therapy giraffe!

Unfortunately, I don’t think loneliness is a fear I will ever completely overcome, no matter what person/animal/plant I choose to accompany me on this lonely sojourn they call life. Everything about this life is so temporary. And in the most uncertain of times, my anxiety likes to rear its three ugly heads (I’m pretty sure it resembles Fluffy, the three-headed dog from Harry Potter) and remind me that loss is always around the corner. There will always be the chance that I could lose the people I love–whether it be to death, marriage (a fate worse than death, some would claim), change, or just drifting apart.

I can only hope that my fear will not become a reality more than it already has.

 

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