I am a coward and proud!
I am scared of the angry barking dog that comes and visits my next door neighbour’s house occasionally. Whenever I come up the stairs and she’s in, she bounds up to me, plants herself a foot in front of me, hackles raised, ears back, teeth barred, and snarls, growls, barks and generally has a wide-eyed look of aggressive ‘come on if you think you’re hard enough’.
I really, really hate needles. I’m not sure if this is fear any more, as merely a reaction to the prospect of pain, but three days ago as I gave blood (smugly), at the initial needle prick where they tested the iron content of my blood I was a bundle of ‘ow ow ow I hate needles ow’ and at the cleaning of my arm for the main event I was ‘can’t look can’t look won’t look’ and for the actual insertion of the actual needle into a vein in my elbow I was a proper cringy coward and sat there going ‘ow ow ow that really hurts ow!’ and couldn’t look throughout the entire procedure.
I used to be scared of heights. Proper terrified. I react badly to spiders, jump out of my skin at the sight of rats, worry deeply about snakes, and have a deeply concerned and rather angst-prone relationship with the scary man on my estate who shouts at me whenever he remembers that I exist to be shouted at.
I am, in short, scared of most things.
(And here’s where the triumph kicks in.)
Despite my fear of my neighbour’s dog, it turns out that I do not crumble, cry or scream in its presence, but try and look not quite in its eye (as that would be an aggressive action) and wait for its owner to come and calm her. Despite my hatred of needles, and the fact that I can’t bare to look whenever they come near me, I go and give blood because damnit, the moral glow of righteousness I acquire afterwards is almost satisfactory enough to out-weigh the pain and fear. Aware that I hated heights, I volunteered to be the very first person up the tallescope in college technical training (a tallescope is like a very high ladder on wheels, without the sense of confidence built in) in full knowledge that if I didn’t get up now, I never would. I force myself to calmly sit and observe spiders whenever they come into my room, no longer run from rats, and will sit and look long and hard and nature programs which feature snakes, in the hope that I won’t have nightmares afterwards. After long consideration, I’ve realised that shouty man, while unpleasant, probably isn’t a threat and shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with my life and so, in short! My new hypothesis is this – that to be brave, you’ve really, really gotta be scared of the thing you’re being brave at. And, since it turns out that I’m essentially scared of most things, my logical conclusion must be that actually, I’m brave by logical extension. That’s how it works, right?
Although I admit, I still have a real problem with zombies.
As someone who spends a lot of time walking through dark places with only a dully glowing torch for company, it’s the amazing ability zombies have to not be there, not be there, not be there, not be…
… and boom! ZOMBIE ATTACK!
I mean, if that isn’t proper terrifying, then I don’t know what is.