Halloween is almost here, a time when many of us like to dress up in costumes and be someone else for a night. Maybe we hope to scare someone else with our creepy monster outfit. Some of us like to scare ourselves by visiting one of those haunted houses where scary people leap out of the darkness. As an older adult I just enjoy giving out candy at my front door and guessing what each cute kid is supposed to be. Not happening this year. We have not decorated the yard and we will not welcome trick or treaters to our house. Catching and spreading the covid-19 virus is the fear this year. Many of the neighborhood yard decorations have incorporated a pandemic theme into the traditional pumpkins and ghosts. One house down the street has a large sign that reads “Quarantown” and there are skeletons trapped behind bars.
Fear is as much a part of being human as loving and laughing. We are all afraid of something. I am afraid of being outside during a thunderstorm and of being a passenger in a car with a reckless driver. I am afraid to fly. These fears are all of things outside of myself. But, when I was younger I struggled with a different kind of fear. As a child I suffered from social anxiety. I would get very shy in large groups of people, especially ones I didn’t know. I would not talk. Then I developed a school phobia, causing me to miss many days of school. I became agoraphobic and was unable to go into a burger joint just to buy a hamburger. It was not easy, but eventually I overcame these fears. I am confidant and even outgoing. I can shop anywhere and I have even given talks before large groups of people.
But, some of my personal fears have come back in 2020. I drive only once a week, or less. As I approach my car I am nervous about going anywhere. I feel like my old socially anxious self. As I pull out of the drive-way I have to remind myself that, yes, I do know how to drive and I will not have a wreck. I am now used to wearing a mask in stores, but still feel super self-conscious around the other shoppers. I don’t speak to them. I turn my head away and do not inhale or exhale as I pass them. I am always relieved to get back out to the parking lot.
At the beginning of the pandemic I was mindful of the growing virus cases around the country. On March 26th I started a chart. I began to keep track of the number of covid-19 cases for my county, as well as all the counties in the United States where I had loves ones. On March 26th Travis county reported 119 cases. Two days later we had our first death. As I write this on October 29th, 7 months later, my county reports 31,851 cases and 449 deaths. 2.6% of the people here have been infected…or 1 out of every 39. It is worse in other parts of Texas.
There is a dread here. A fear that no matter the mask wearing and the social distancing, the invisible monster, the covid-19 virus, will get us anyway.
I am not even going to start talking here about my other dreads, the visible monsters: more unarmed people killed by police; election results/no election results; civil unrest; wildfires; hurricanes; loved ones I may never see again; murder bees…
One of my favorite quotes is this one by Eleanor Roosevelt ( a shy, introvert herself):
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
Well, I am looking fear in the face. But, so much of what I am afraid of is not inside myself, but out there waiting to get me. So, like many of you, I will distract myself by the beauty outside:
“The fears of what may come to pass,
I cast them all away,
Among the clover scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay.”
(Louise Imogen Guiney- “A Song from Sylvan,” St. 2)
And Hey, two full moons in one month is a good thing, a sign of better times to come. Be fearless my friends and stay safe.
*Quotes from Volume One (1800-1899) The Quotable Woman-compiled and edited by Elaine Partnow- Pinnacle Books
*Covid-19 numbers from: Infection2020.com
*Photo- My mother and three of her siblings taken around 1940
8 thoughts on “Fears”
That photo is priceless. I’ve experienced bouts of agoraphobia in my life too, which took concerted effort to overcome, and like you, I am wondering if it is creeping in again, or is just a general fear of what’s “out there”. I know my grandchildren are dressing up, but their Moms haven’t decided yet what it will look like.
Take care Betty, and stay safe.
Hopefully, this too will pass….some day.
Glad you liked the photo. Came across it recently in a box of my mom’s old photos. It looks creepy to me no matter how often I look at it.
Yes, we live in such an odd time now that it is hard to always know what is our own personal quirky reaction or a normal reaction to what is going on.
Not sure what our grandson is doing for Halloween either. He does have a costume but not sure if he will get to show it off in his neighborhood.
Yes, you stay safe too! I remember my mom often saying “This too shall pass.”
Scarey times … COVID but one monster to watch out for … I take comfort in the predictsbility of moon cycles … even if sometimes obscured by clouds. Been out photoing tonight’s full moon … far more appealing to me than Halloween trickery!
Yes, I too feel comfort in the predictability of nature’s cycles. I have also taken a few shots of the moon in the past few days. We have been lucky to have the clear skies.
I love the old photo Betty. It’s rare to see Halloween costumes from that day or those years. I to have fears about what the future will bring and did not think that in my lifetime I would see all of these possibilities come to pass. I did think so that they would come for my children’s time and my grandchildren’s time. Little did we know that a pandemic was around the corner in the same year as an election. The unknown is always a mystery and yet really, we don’t know what the next day or even few minutes with bring. Faith and hope must carry us on and the knowledge that we have made it so far goes a long way. Scariest of all for me is climate change and what that means for all of us; what it will bring is the great unknown and what we do know doesn’t look good. Hang in, love much and as we all must do, take one step at a time, get some good sleep and take care to nourish our bodies as best we are able.
Sending love and understanding. You said this very well!
Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement! I still believe that if we bring out the best in everyone we can all work together to make the world a better place…..at least I really want to believe that!
I agree the picture is creepy (no offense to your mom). It definitely has a Children of the Corn vibe! Anyway, if I wrote a blog enumerating all my childhood fears I’d be working on it until next year! Thank you for sharing yours. Knowing we’re not alone always helps. Just think – if nothing else good comes of it, there will be no political ads or commercials after Tuesday! Just saying Tuesday now triggers anxiety. Anxiety used to make me clean the house. Now it just paralyzes me. But, yes, this too shall pass. For better or worse – time will tell.
Thanks Trish! I will now also cringe at the word “Tuesday.” Just kidding!
Yes, this too shall pass!