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I’m Scared of Spiders… And Everything Else

Over the last two days I have plotted out my entire novel here at Artscape Gibraltar Point. I discovered each idiosyncratic quirk in each of characters, how they relate to each other, and whether or not they truly like one another.

I studied Karl Marx, Max Weber, and C. Wright Mills. I read about social stratification, the power elite, mind control and classical conditioning. I read about sovereign states, climate change, and how, scientifically, it could rain like it does in Blade Runner.

I read about the Mississaugas, traditional aboriginal spirituality, the Indigenous history of Toronto, and how to pronounce Anishinabe (on-ish-in-awe-bay).

I spent hours reading translated proverbs from aboriginal peoples. One of them reads: “What the people believe is true.” – Anishinabe

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In my spirituality, my practice of Wicca and Buddhism, I greatly respect and love Mother Earth. I believe that we come from her, and return to her after our cycle of life is complete. I believe in the practice of gratitude and reciprocity for all living things — and that we care for the land in return for what the land provides for us.

Naturally, I’ve always aligned with the wisdom and perspectives that come from aboriginal treatment of our planet. In my research I found a great deal of clarity in beliefs I’ve possessed but never defined. Many of these I’ve already incorporated in my novel but, in doing so, I realized that the majority of the education I’ve received and that I draw on as I work has come from a racist system; a system that has failed to include the history of anyone but white people.

In turn, I’m looking at taking this course offered by the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto – Indigenous Cultural Competency Training.

I am particularly interested in world views regarding historical narratives, Canada’s post-Confederate history, modern-day treaties, and discussions of cultural competency. I don’t know what taught in schools these days but I hope it’s this.

I spent a lot of time today thinking about many of the ways I have been subconsciously conditioned — this is a major theme in my book.

There’s a flag pole outside my window and every time it shook in the wind today I immediately thought that there was someone walking by with a shopping cart and that they were living on the street. Why do I think this?

I moved my desk to face the window so I’d have more wall space to post sticky notes — and because it manifests positive energy when you work facing a window (except that in feng shui it isn’t favourable to have your back to a door, but I’m choosing not to subscribe to that for the week).

As I readied to go see the sun set, I put the curtain down above my desk and right in the middle, clasped to the navy fabric, was a massive spider. I don’t see many spiders — and they’re usually smaller than a centimetre, legs wide and all. This one was 2 inches, at least.

I ran to get a cup from the kitchen and came back to take it outside. My neighbours sensed my frantic nature and so I told them, after successfully setting the spider free from my now very tense energy, that “there was a spider in my room.”

“I’m not afraid of them so let me know if you–”

“Oh, I’m not afraid of them,” I said. “I just don’t like them IN. my room.”

First off: I interrupted.

Second: I clearly AM afraid of them. I couldn’t bear leaving it be. I did think about it — how I really want to be one with all living creatures, but I had to get it out of my room. Clearly — I’m afraid.

Besides one of the frustrating parts of my personality being defensiveness, I wondered why some of us, as people, are conditioned to be fearless? To defend any trivial suggestion that might make us seem more — human?

I felt really embarrassed about this interaction. But the sun was setting so I acknowledged my embarrassment and told myself to take it with me to the sunset.

On the beach there we me, I saw Kate on the pier banging a stick, and my neighbours with whom I’d had the spider interaction with way down the beach starting a fire.

I was happy to be alone with them. It felt different now, three full days here, alone on the beach, but with people I knew.

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I decided to go for a walk along the main roadway.

I thought about the spider and how I never freak out about bugs when I’m camping. It’s like, when I’m sleeping in a house, I am conditioned to believe that I am protected from the natural world, and when I’m camping, I don’t intrinsically believe that and therefore the fear dissipates. Right?

I wondered if I’d get scared and then I saw a leafy path leading into the woods and — I did — I felt scared. I couldn’t believe how scared I felt. Why am I so scared?

I’m scared of everything. I thought about it. I’m scared to succeed. I’m scared to fail. I’m scared to share my writing (it paralyzes me). I’m scared to show my films. I’m scared to paint. I’m scared to be alone on a leafy path 30 feet away from where I’m staying at night. I’m scared of spiders. I’m scared that people will hate me for interrupting them to tell them I’m not scared of spiders. I’m scared they’ll call me a liar and be like, “Dude — you scared!”

I’m scared that I’ll just keep living with all these fears inside me, these fears taking over, when I could be enjoying what I’m doing instead.

Will I always be scared? How do I get un-scared?

I just couldn’t bear the thought of a spider that big crawling into my mouth as I sleep.

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One thought on “I’m Scared of Spiders… And Everything Else

  1. Thank you for sharing your fears! This is such an honest piece of writing. I am also quick to deny my fears. I have never to stopped to consider why. I have my suspicions but I think I need to stop and think about that a little bit more.

    To be honest, I was surprised to hear that you are scared to share your writing. I never expected that. I am really glad that you do share because I love reading it and I am certain many others do as well.

    I am also terrified every time I press that publish button. Petrified.

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