Most people are scared of something, but the important thing is overcoming your fear. Today, I'm talking about fears I have and fears that I have had, and what I have done to overcome some of those fears. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "The only thing to fear is fear itself."
People used to pick on me that I had a fear of clowns. This is actually a known fear called "Coulrophobia." In this Vox poll from 2016 when the US clown epidemic was going on, an estimated 42 percent of respondents out of 1,999 Americans said they had this fear. So, I was not alone. Was is the key word here. When I was young, I had no fear of them. I watched Bozo with delight, and it wasn't until second grade when some weird second grade substitute teacher showed the class Killer Klowns from Outer Space did I develop this irrational fear. I just recall the scene when the clowns wrapped people in cotton candy so they could drink their blood. No second grader should see that against their will! That fear stayed with me for years until my love of Stephen King came along and I braved the idea of reading It. I thought if I could read one of the scariest novels of all-time, I just might be able to beat one of my all-time fears. I did. I saw it nothing more than a work of fiction and I even went on to watch the movie. I fell in love with the book and even enjoyed the film.
Okay, so this one might be a little more abnormal than the fear of clowns. For anyone that remembers the Goosebumps books, there was a book called Go Eat Worms. In the intro to the Goosebumps TV show, a huge pile of greasy worms slithered all over each other in one of the frames. After seeing that time after time, I refused to read that book. Since then, I never liked the little guys. I never wanted to bait my fishing hook with them, and I always hated when it rained in the spring because I knew they littered the sidewalks. I know they're great for the soil, but when I see one as I dig soil to plant flowers, my stomach turns squeamish. Maybe I just have to read Go Eat Worms like I read It.
3) Not accomplishing my goals
What I really hope accomplish in life is to get published through a traditional publishing house, so my book can appear in stores. This is not an easy task, but I feel like something will be missing from my life if I don't accomplish it. Sometimes I need to step back and say that I already did self-publish books that are available for sale online and that the important thing is that I continue to try. This fear is just a matter of coming to terms with being happy with who I am and what I have already.
I know shark attacks rarely happen. According to a statistic in livescience.com from 2015, you have a 1 in 3,748,067 chance from dying from a shark attack. Yet, a lot of people share in this fear. After watching a documentary on Jaws, it was said that the beaches across the country had never been so empty that summer. It's from movies like that and from watching Shark Week that my fear comes, but also from the fact that I'm not the best swimmer in the world. While on a trip to Destin, Fla. in 2008, it took all of my courage to run out into the ocean. I saw my friends in there playing and throwing a football around. And without thinking, I made a mad dash for it. I was glad I did and had a great time the rest of that trip. Since then, I had been in the Atlantic, Pacific, and I snorkeled in Hawaii. I'm still not one hundred percent over my fear of sharks, but at least I have kept that fear at bay.
I'm a creature of habit and I like routine. There is nothing wrong with routine, to a degree. But I need to become more flexible in my life. So as the summer ages and the school year looms, I become increasingly stressed out. I know that this school year will bring many changes with it as we brace for COVID-19 social distancing norms. I don't know what they will look like in a classroom setting yet, and it scares the hell out of me. I try not to think about it, but it's difficult not to. This year is particularly difficult because I've been home since March 17 when remote learning started, so going back to an actual work setting stresses me out. I have to remember that this was normal and that I will get used to the social distancing normal as well. I just have to take one step at a time, one day at a time.
It helps writing about your fears, no matter how large or small they appear to be. As a kid, I had a fear of escalators. A fear of escalators is called Escalaphobia, and according to a Google search, it's surprisingly common. I thought I would be sucked under them when I arrived at the top. I also had a fear of walking home from my friend's house at night, for fear that a monster was chasing me. It's strange how a child's mind works, and it's interesting how we can overcome our fears.
As someone who writes horror and thriller novels, I channel these fears into some of the things I write about. After all, writing about them makes them seem less scary to me, but perhaps more scary to the reader. And that's the end game for a horror novelist.