Saturday, November 10

Fearless

This is for NoRegrets and Susan – who wanted the truth:

I don’t know how it started. There were troubling moments in my childhood; flashes of black and white passing out of the corner of my eye when I was under the water in our swimming pool, the feeling that I was not alone. It was a sort of claustrophobia which I knew to be ridiculous even at ten. Of course I was alone; the water was the clear chlorinated blue indigenous to suburbia. Oddly enough, when I was away at camp and swimming in mud brown water the thoughts never occurred to me. There were no flashes. None of this stopped me from ‘swimming like a fish’ as Mama G put it. The woman is a master of irony.
I’m not quite sure when a mild revulsion for whales turned into a phobia. I know, I know. I’ll wait until the chuckles have passed, it’s ok. I went whale watching off Nantucket with my mom on one of our trips to Happy Yankee Land and I was fine. It was fun. It was tons of fun actually at a time when my mom and I weren’t having all that much fun together.
Now when I see them (painted on buildings, in insurance commercials, Disney movies, at Seas World or in the Ocean) I shrink away. My palms break out in a cold sweat and I can feel panic rising in my chest. I start to cry and I shiver with disgust the way you would over a mangled and bloody corpse. My stomach rolls and if I close my eyes I can see Shamu gliding beside me in clear blue water. It is honestly the most frightening image I can think of. I don’t know if it’s a remembered dream or if I was somehow dropped into the tank at Sea World when I was a child and I’ve repressed the memory.
The thing is that I know it’s silly but there really isn’t anything I can do about it. I generally just try to avoid things that involve whales or if I can’t do that to suppress my reaction so people don’t think I’m completely nuts. I once had a roommate who thought it would be funny to toss a blow up killer whale into my bed in the middle of the night. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared and angry at the same time. She stopped laughing quickly enough. I stopped telling people about it for a while after that.
Yesterday I checked in at NoR’s blog and got a nasty surprise. Actually for anyone else it would have been a lovely surprise. It’s a quilt. It has whales on it. That brings me to this:
Hello, my name is G and I have a whale phobia.

9 Comments:

Jay said...

Well I would tease you about this but I have same type of phobia of snakes. I have dreams of snakes coming after me in swimming pools, in the shower, and just about everywhere else. Weird huh?

WNG said...

See, I'm FINE with snakes. And Sharks, and spiders and tons of other things that normal people are afraid of. We're both weird.

NoRegrets said...

You both are nuts... Just kidding! Everyone has something. I'll write about my phobia in one of my posts WNG, just to make you happy. And I just HATE when people do stuff like that woman did with the blow up whale. I would have beaten her up. I think I wrote once, but I hate being tickled. I have hurt people when they tickled me. I have to warn my nieces so they don't. It's just a natural reaction for me to strike back with force. So, I understand... And I've written another post, so I don't think the whale will come up again.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Everyone is afraid of something. That said, you're actually pretty lucky because it isn't that hard to avoid whales (real ones) while living on land. The ones on quilts, though, that could be a problem.

I would take them off your hands if I could. I like then.

His Sinfulness said...

I did a little bit of Googling and it turns out cetaphobia (fear of marine mammals) is not all that rare. I am completely with you on this one, but I am actually afraid of the ocean in general - called thalassophobia. Oddly enough I used to surf when I was growing up in CA and I was scared stupid of the water past the pier, but somehow I convinced myself that the water inside the jetti was fine...

Susan said...

I used to be terrified of snakes. After I dated a couple of them, though (pause of the da, da da cymbal crash) my fear just turned to a weird hatred.

WNG said...

I love you guys. Seriously.
NoR - There was physical violence involved. There was also unintelligible screaming, wild cursing, the throwing of objects and slamming of doors. This was followed by many apologies which were met with stony silence. I have bitch skills and I'm not afraid to use them.
Hearts - Whoever that artist is who paints them on buildings is my nemesis. Oddly enough, I have contributed money to organizations trying to save the whales. I'm a puzzle.
Pater - The oceans are starting to creep me out a little bit too (only when I'm in them, not on a boat). I'm slowly racking up the phobias.
Susan - Snakes I have no problem with. The reptile kind you just whack the head off with a shovel (a trick learned when I was a G Scout camp counselor) if they're endangering you. Come tothink of it, you could do that with the human kind too...if you've got bail money...

Susan said...

...or a good alibi?

WNG said...

That would work to :)