Last week my daughters were playing hair salon, combing my husband’s (shaved) head, when they both shrieked and pointed at his back. I went to investigate what I assumed was a piece of lint or a freckle, but instead I saw that it was a tick. I instantly felt woozy.
My husband, however, calmly walked to a mirror. He couldn’t reach the tick so, logically, he wanted me to remove it for him. And, logically, I wanted to help him. But that would have taken at least a couple hours to talk myself into it and/or many shots of hard vodka.
See, I HATE bugs. Spiders, bees, roaches. I won’t lie, I even freak out when a butterfly lands on me. So there was no way I would be able to still my shaking hands enough to squeeze a pair of tweezers with any kind of accuracy.
Because of my fear, my husband had to drive himself over to his dad’s house for help while I poured myself a glass of wine. Oops. Wife fail. At least we could both laugh about it later.
Bugs aren’t the only things that scare me. Sharks, bears, snakes. Birds, bunnies, (most) dogs. I could go on. I’m not an animal hater, I just prefer to observe them from far away, where they can’t bite or attack me. Better yet, I’ll just admire them in photographs.
I’m too afraid to skydive or get a tattoo. Ride a motorcycle or speak my mind. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love books so much. I can live vicariously through the characters. Experience without the risk.
I can be Ayla from the Earth’s Children series (i.e. The Clan of the Cave Bear), who hunts mammoth, tames a wolf, and is a true survivor. I can be Isabelle in The Nightingale, who joins The Resistance, risking her life over and over, to fight against the Nazis. I can be Dean Koontz’ heroine, Jane Hawk, who will do whatever it takes to find the truth.
Through fiction, I can travel to different states and countries. Solve crimes and chase down bad guys. Be a top lawyer or a famous actress or a mom of 10. Be 21 and carefree again (wouldn’t that be nice!) or be 90 looking back at a lifetime’s worth of memories. I can live a thousand lives.
I can see how different characters handle fear and confrontation and disappointment. I can learn from their mistakes. And I can breath a sigh of relief that they are the ones swimming with sharks or plummeting to the ground at 120 mph. Or maybe even having to remove a tick from their husband’s back. Phew.