My Childhood Fears:
I am on the cusp of eleven and I am afraid of a lot of things. A list of things that keep me awake at night, but is not exclusive to, include: Losing my glasses; peeing myself in a public place; finding a bone in my chicken & a potential smallpox outbreak as I watched a documentary on it when I was nine and it still haunts me.
When I was eight I got my hair cut before I went on ‘holiday’ to visit my uncle who lived in Shetland. The hair dresser cut it too short and as such I was terrified that the exposed skin on the back on my neck would attract vampires. I had a very over active imagination.
In primary school my classmates use to talk about bugs called ‘ear wigs’ and apparently they crawled into your ear and nested there. One day their eggs would hatch and hundreds of their tiny offspring would scurry out of your ear and down your face. A I child didn’t internalise the fact that this was all hearsay, so spent a large portion of that year checking my bed/under my pillow for bugs. On one occasion there was black fluff from my socks in my bed and I decided that rather than task the risk, I’d just sleep on the floor.
My dad and uncle would take us swimming a few times a month. In the pool there was a separate section that I called ‘the whirly bit.’ It saw you pushed and pulled around in a circle by some unseen current. My cousins would quite often push me into it and not let me out. Half blind without my glasses I’d simply float around pondering what was going to happen to me, imagining that my dad would leave without me and I’d just drown right there, surrounded by people, at the tender age of nine. Eventually after much floundering and splashing some adult took pity on me and helped back out into the main pool. Kids are so cruel.
I had this constant fear that I was being followed from the ages four until I was about nine (estimate.) Every time I turned my back I felt as though someone was behind me. I once told a teacher this and she panicked and went to the head teacher who, knowing me quite well, explained that I was simply a very neurotic child. Points for caring though, Mrs Lorrie.
Losing my mother or father in the supermarket. Quite often my little sister when she was a toddler would erupt into temper tantrums if she wanted something and parents wouldn’t get hr it. She’d lie on the floor and scream, battering her hands off the ground, flailing around for the world to see. My parents would pander to her and pick her up whilst I just wondered off in my own little world. Eventually I’d turn around and realise they weren’t there. At the moment I planned my entire future, which pretty much consisted of me washing car windows and sleeping in a bin.
When I was in primary four two ‘friends’ locked in my phone box for over an hour. This was the conception of a fear that’s followed me through all the way to adulthood – I hate feeling trapped in any way, shape or form.
BEING LEFT IN THE QUEUE AND YOUR MOTHER SAYS “WAIT HERE I JUST NEED TO GRAB SOMETHING.” Not to pass blame to my mother but I’m 99% sure that this, the above, was the foundation on which my anxiety was built. I’d stand there, without money, without any means of paying at all, with an ever-growing line of irate customers hissing behind me. The checkout woman always decided that this was the day she was going to function at an Olympic level and would whizz through the customers. I’d sit and watch as my mother’s groceries edged closer and closer to the front of that miniature conveyor belt of impending doom. All the while praying for divine intervention in the form of a power cut or the lady in front of me suddenly collapsing. Then at the last possible moment, just as I was about to be forced to tell the shop assistant I couldn’t pay and obviously then be dragged into a tiny supermarket jail cell where I’d spend the rest of my tiny-child life rotting away, all because my mother forgot to pick up fabric softener, she’d reappear and say ‘sorry, I’m back!’ She’d pack her bags whilst I lay on the ground, curled up in anxiety-shaped slump, rocking back and forth.
My Adulthood Fears:
Succumbing to that horrible flabby shape that threatens to consume us all. I don’t want to spend any portion of my life looking like a camp, punctured beach ball.
Losing all my teeth and thus having to survive on a diet of liquid-food for the remainder of my miserable life.
Never actually achieving anything worthy of merit. I have this constant fear that what I am doing at any given moment of my life isn’t good enough; that I am simply wasting my time and can hear a subtle tickticktick in the background. Reminding me that my fallow life-span is coming to an end. Quickly achieve something, where’s my bucket list. Swim with a dolphin, blow Justin Bieber, quick, quick.
Losing someone I love. I’ve lost a few people in my life, and at the time the pain didn’t seem unbearable. But now when I think about them, it’s a completely knew sensation. I’ve been in love, and I still love one of those people even though it’ll never work out. So the thought of losing him, or someone I will possibly fall in love with in the future, instils the cold sense of dread in me.
That being gay is actually ‘just a phase’ and that one day I’ll wake up with the realisation that I’ve been living a lie; a very glittery, and lengthy, lie. Can you imagine if that happened though? The number of people from my past that I’d have to hear ‘I told you so’ from. Then I’d have rethink my entire life style, my wardrobe. I’d have reverse come-out. THIS IS A GENUINE FEAR. Even though I know it’s not a phase.
That I am a bad person. I have always had this unignorably loud voice telling me that I am not a good person; that I am not good enough; that I don’t deserve to be happy. That there is something wrong with me. That I am broken in some way and that this inherent badness is just waiting to come out.
Growing old, fat and bald and suffering the rest of my years alone. This is my biggest fear. That what little looks I have will fade. That I will never again fall in love with someone who will feel the same. That I’ll reach my fifties and have literally nothing to show for my life. I’ll be that single, old creepy gay guy. Perpetually unwanted. I guess this fear stems from my insecurity about how I look, and is just a future projection of that insecurity. Truth be told I am terrified that I am getting older and that I don’t have anything real in my life. The last guy I was in love with for almost three years I had planned in my head to marry him, to have children together, to start a family, to buy a house. I always thought that, by this stage of my life, I would have achieved that. Starting a family is really important to me; it’s a legacy, it’s a milestone. It’s something that says I have been here, I have done this. I have so much love to give so the concept of being single and alone for the rest of my life is too much.