My Relationship with Men and Fear of Bugs
Blue Morpho Butterfly
For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely fearful of Bugs. It might have come from my younger brother, Arthur, torturing me with various Bugs he brought home. Or, maybe it’s just the fact that I always imagine them crawling on my skin, which is a very creepy, horrible feeling. Or it could be from the time I went to the movies in second grade with my boyfriend at the time, Ronnie. Ronnie was two years older than me, so my mother trusted him to choose a good movie. We saw “The Fly”, a horror movie of the first degree. I slept with a nightlight on for years afterwards.
I Wish I Had a Husband
When my kids were young, whenever I saw a bug, I would scream. It always came out in a strangled sort of sound. My husband would come running, and ask where the bug was. Since I could not even look at the bug, I would point in the general direction, giving him some details. He would find it, kill it and I would breathe a sigh of relief. He was very good at taking care of those ugly, disgusting critters that did not belong in my space. However, there were times when he would sigh and say, “I wish I had a husband!”
Leila to the Rescue!
Sometimes life throws us a curve ball or we create our own. I became a single mom living with three daughters. By that time, my son had moved away from home. It was only myself and the girls aged 14 yrs., 12 yrs, and 11 yrs. However, bugs don’t care who is in the home. They come in anyway. Well, I learned to get the tiniest bugs with a lot of tissues. I was always amazed when the toilet did not get clogged up from all of the tissues. I also got used to vacuuming them up. But, that all required courage on my part since I had to look at the bugs, keep a steady eye on them, and scoop them up. Adapt and change. I was also lucky because my oldest daughter, Leila, had spent the first 10 years of her life growing up in India. She was not afraid of any bugs. Since she was the bravest of all of us, it became her role to get most of them. Half of the time, she laughed at me for being afraid. That was fine with me as long as she got them!
Years passed. The youngest one, Amy, inherited my fear of bugs even though she was adopted from Korea. When she was 17 years old, she decided to move into her own place like her sisters had done. It was a nice apartment that had a lot of little ladybugs and spiders. The first time I came over to see her place, I discovered towers of upturned cups all over the rug in the living room and bedroom. Under each tower was a ladybug or spider. On top of each cup was something else holding the cup down. On top of that was something else holding the second thing down. Very efficient. My boyfriend at the time got rid of the bugs. I told her she had to learn to deal with them herself if she was going to live alone. She would borrow my vacuum and suck them up from under the towers.
Bugs are Beautiful?
Time passes, life changes. I had a new boyfriend, Roy, who had majored in biology. I did not really comprehend what that meant until a few weeks after we started going out. It was the end of May when it starts getting hot out. The bugs arrive and hover around the door at night. We came home to my house from a concert one night and lots of bugs were there stuck on my door. Moths, and BIG mosquitoes. I did my normal thing, opened the door as fast as I could, closed it as fast as I could, and assumed that Roy was in the house. He wasn’t. I was on the inside looking out at Roy who was on the outside looking at all of the bugs, asking me to look at them also. Oh my God! Look at them! Good grief! I had just escaped them. But he was there saying, “Oh, look at this moth. It has beautiful blue spots on it. Oh, look at that mosquito, it has beautiful yellow stripes on it.” I looked, quickly, and, yeah, they did have some nice spots and stripes, which I had never noticed before. They also had ugly creepy legs and stingers, and I had to look away. Roy stayed out there for a while, until I turned off the outside light and he finally came in.
A few weeks later, I arrived at his house for dinner having just finished meditating. I felt calm, settled, rested, peaceful. I came in the door and the first thing he did was thrust a big white paper plate in front of my face with a huge (like 2 inches long and at least a ½ inch wide), very dead and very black, ugly bug on it. I screamed and told him to put it somewhere else. He looked disappointed, but quickly put it away, in the middle of the kitchen counter where I was about to cut up vegetables. I made him put it somewhere else, which he obliged by putting it at the end of the kitchen counter. I could still see it out of the corner of my eye, a black bug on a white plate. But, you gotta pick your battles, so there it stayed.
After I calmed down, he casually mentioned that his mom had just looked at it through a magnifying glass. Whoa! Now, his mom, was 84 years old, physically frail, and painfully shy of people. But, she had looked at it up close and personal like.
A light bulb flashed in my head. It was time! I, at age 52, physically strong and not shy of people, had to conquer my Fear of Bugs! So, as we were eating dinner, I asked Roy what made the bug so special, why was he interested in it. This is while I was eating mind you, which I thought was pretty flexible and courageous of me. He proceeded to tell me that he wanted to know what family of insects it belonged to since he had never seen it before, which led to insect families in general, which led to other interesting insect world topics, which was actually quite ok since it was completely intellectual, analytical, and I did not have to look at the bug sitting on the counter.
Mating Lightening Bugs
Roy decided he would be my teacher. The next time we went on a walk, we went very slowly as Roy pointed out many beautiful insects. We came upon a large white lacy flower, a big Queen Anne’s lace, with two mating lightening bug couples on it at opposite ends of the flower. When I saw that, I thought, “Wow, that’s cool. I can relate to that!” The man was on top, the lady on the bottom. Each lady was walking all over the flower, eating, getting nourishment for the eggs while the guy was enjoying himself. Both couples were crawling all over the flower without looking where they were going. Suddenly, the mating couples bumped into each other. It freaked both ladies out causing them to scurry away to the other side of the flower. I guess they don’t enjoy group sex. Further on down the path, we saw an insect which looked like a brown grasshopper until it takes flight. It had beautiful blue wings that sparkle a bit in the sunlight. There were butterflies, graceful dragon flies of different colors and sizes. It was a wonderful walk, very enlightening and fun.
Less Panic with My Knight in Shining Armour
Now, many years later. I have less fear and panic when I see bugs. I still scream if there is a moth in the shower with me in it, too. It is not the terror it once was.
Fears are meant to be conquered. With luck, we find people who can show us the beauty of something we had previously thought quite ugly and fearful. We adapt, we change, we learn, and we grow stronger within ourselves. I still don’t like cockroaches.