Is it just me or is it normal to become scared of pretty much everything once you a) fall in love and then b) become a mother? Hark back to my late teens and early twenties and you would see me laughing in the face of danger. Those footloose and fancy free days fuelled by bottomless toffee vodka shots in the Lizard Lounge, multiple piercings (yes please stick that 2 inch needle through my tongue), – showjumping over 5ft fences, podium dancing, throwing myself down black ski runs, Olympic distance triathlons, open water swimming in the aviation fluid waters of the Thames are long gone. Nowadays, such behaviour would see me running for the hills – or maybe just indoors as hills/mountains and anything with slight incline could be deemed a red flag activity now I’ve become Mrs Wimpy McWimpface.
Here’s a just a few of the things that I have grown irrationally scared of in recent years:
My husband and I spent the day at Thorpe Park a couple of years ago with a group of mates and I hated every moment. I was ridiculously hungover from having drowned my sorrows the night before in a vain attempt to block out the activities that lay ahead and I spent the whole day shaking, on the brink of tears and paler than Dulux Pure Brilliant white. I can honestly say I thought I was going to die that day. Still I queued for every single ride, put myself through the torture as I was damned if I was going to be the party pooper who sat out, like an old lady, holding everyone’s bags whilst they went ahead without me. I was like a pathetic 5 year old; the closer we got to the front, the more convinced I was that the end was nigh and I would be the 1 in 300,000,000 who died whilst riding that very rollercoaster. I screamed and cried during every ride, palms sweating and my face bright red and wet with tears. My husband had to hold back his giggles whilst playing the comforting, supportive role. I really brought the vibe down for everyone. They gave me some relief by deciding to go on one of the kids’ rollercoasters as a break from the terrifying, thrill seeking proceedings – it was only when we were on it did I understand they were taking the piss out of me and just wanted to see if I would still be on the brink of soiling my under-crackers during the least scary ride in the park – I was. The pièce de résistance was on The Swarm ride, where I screamed ‘I want my Mummy’ hysterically at the top of my voice for the entire duration, leaving me looking like a giant baby for all to see, beautifully captured in this take home, fridge magnet momento that my hubby couldn’t resist buying. Never again.
Driving in the dark
I passed my driving test with flying colours and only one minor when I was 17. I’ve been driving for 15 years. I used to whizz down the M4 to and from uni in Bristol home to see my family in Essex almost with my eyes closed. Nothing phased me. I’d put myself forward as the nominated driver for road trips and didn’t care whether it was day or night driving. I used to work for Budweiser and would drive all manner of promotional vehicles given to me around London during rush hour without blinking an eye. In the past few years, I have become terrified of driving in the dark. It’s like everything blurs in front of my eyes and I feel like I need to drive towards headlights approaching me on the opposite side of the road rather than keeping in my own lane. Driving in the dark is bad enough, but if it happens to coincide with bad weather, that is even worse. Cue lots of panting, crying and pulling over at the earliest opportunity for Chris or whoever else is in the car with me to take over. It’s totally irrational. I know I am a more than capable driver but the thought of putting myself or my family at risk at the hands of my steering wheel just pushes me over the edge. It’s probably something that I need to look into getting some sort of therapy for but for the time being its day trips only when I’m the designated driver!
I’ve never been too bothered about flying. My big sister has always had a fear of it but up until a few years ago, getting on a plane didn’t worry me at all. I used to fly here, there and everywhere on my own for work and the only thing that concerned me was that I had enough reading material and salty snacks to keep satisfied. These days the thought of getting on a plane fills me with dread. If I don’t take the plunge and get on a plane soon, I feel like this could become a huge problem and I may never board a plane again. I don’t want to pass on my fear to my daughter and I don’t want her to miss out on exploring the world with us because I don’t want to fly anywhere. There’s only so many holidays we can take to Cornwall before she gets bored and wants to experience new things. This is why I’ve given myself the ultimate challenge and have booked for Maggie and I to fly solo to visit my best friend in Dubai in May. I probably should have eased myself into flying with a baby by taking a flight with Chris to help first, but that would be just too easy wouldn’t it. Watch this space for an update on how we get on. I’m either brave or mental. In the meantime, I am buying all the travel hacks to make travelling with a baby as easy as possible and will consume one or two gins once on board, I’m sure.
Going up and down escalators
This is a genuine fear. What if I fall and crack my head open on those jagged, metal edges of the steps? What if my shoelace is untied and gets dragged into the mechanisms, taking me with it? I don’t want to be squished into oblivion. So, if ever you see me taking an escalator, I’ll be the one approaching with serious trepidation, tentatively stepping onto it in a style akin to Buddy in the movie ‘Elf’.
Standing too close to the platform edge at tube and train stations
Nowadays, I have visions of being pushed into the tracks of an oncoming train or tube if I stand anywhere near the edge of the platform. I’m the person who stands with my back flat to the wall until the train has stopped in the station, accusatory eyeing up everyone who walks by thinking they are some crazed lunatic who wants to push or drag me in front of a fast moving train. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have watched that Transport for London documentary which told of secrets of the underground and how many deaths there are a year as a result of being dragged under a carriage. Did you know, apparently those pits under the tracks exist just in case someone falls under, like some sort of death pit. Well now you do. You’re welcome. Happy travelling.
I know. WT actual F. The thought of outer space now terrifies me. I can’t quite fathom or comprehend the fact that the universe exists. When I think of space it makes me realise how teeny tiny we are as a planet orbiting the sun and that Earth is only being held in place because of its gravitational pull with other objects. Mind blowing and a subject that freaks me out just writing about it. I hate thinking about it so much that I won’t even watch films about outer space in fear of over analysing every little detail and spending the rest of the night thinking we are going to all be blown into oblivion in the blink of an eye. It’s a weird one as I am fascinated by anything to do with the moon cycles, but refuse to think of the bigger picture. I’m sure I’ll get over it one day, but for now Interstellar and Gravity are off the menu. Sorry Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock – I’ll stick to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Miss Congeniality for my viewing pleasure.
So why all the fear?
The only reason I can think of for developing these irrational fears is, now I have a family of my own, I know how much I have to lose if anything awful should happen. I’m sure its just another manifestation of my anxiety issues and although some of these are fears are fairly amusing for anyone but me, it makes me wonder if any one else has developed any irrational fears like these? I hope I’m not the only crazy one out there in Motherland. I’m sure I’m not. Here’s to taking small steps to push myself out of my comfort zone in a hope that one day, I’ll overcome these silly worries and won’t pass any of this craziness onto my daughter. Luckily, she has a very laid back, measured, non-crazy Father to keep her sane!