My first thought was SLUGS!! Nothing personal, just can’t bear them. Not even a dislike, or exactly FEAR. More of an irrational HORROR! When my son was 2 he came to me from the garden with a snail in his mouth. In an act of panic I grabbed him and shuck it out of his mouth. I threw it in the bushes and ran away. Didn’t want to touch him for hours. It occurred to me maybe I needed HELP? But there’s nothing like non-repetition to help us push those kinds of thoughts to the back of our minds.
Anyway then it occurred to me my biggest fear isn’t slugs. Like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, it’s fear itself.
When I was 7 it occurred to me I might go to Hell. A bit heavy for a girl of 7 to handle. My solution was to decide I liked the Catholic idea of Pergutory, so I would only be in Hell for a while and then go to Heaven. Don’t know if this is right, but I was only 7.
In the 80s I was dead scared there might be a nuclear attack and full-on nuclear winter. But I had no control over whether the big red button got pressed. I decided there was nothing I could do about it so don’t worry about it.
20 years ago I forced myself to walk down a pitch dark lane in the dead of night to post a letter. I was scared to the point of that silent scream of panic rising from my stomach. But if I didn’t do it then I would have let the fear control me. That was worse.
Seriously, fear controls us. We have to be good christians because we’re afraid of being damned. But some other guy says we will be damned if we don’t follow the Quran. The bible tells us we should fear God, but I don’t want to live a life out of fear. I don’t want to base my morals or my life’s actions on fear of God’s wrath. I choose to do my best, and not worry about the rest as I can’t control the Big Guy’s decisions.
So I have 2 approaches to fear. If it’s abstract (e.g. will humans become extinct and be all forgotten?) I choose Bob Marley’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy. If I’m facing a fearful situation directly I force myself to face it head-on. But I’m lucky. Not a lot scares me now.