So I heard it’s Earth Day
Thoughts on Courage (or my lack thereof)
Recently, I had an interesting experience with a spider that reminded me of a particularly dramatic interaction I had with an insect during my freshman year.
Now, I’m sure it’s fairly obvious, from the sentence above alone, that I’m not fond of bugs.
But I’ll elaborate. I HATE BUGS. I’m absolutely, unbelievably, incurably, immeasurably afraid of bugs. Particularly spiders (technically arachnids, but let’s not get caught up in terminology). But all bugs are just not my friends.
One Saturday afternoon, I was down with a stomach bug, so I spent most of my day in my dorm room, while my roommate ventured out into the real world. Now, no one REALLY works when they’re sick, but breaking with tradition, I tried to get a bit of work done. It was a nice day, so I opened up the window in the hopes that the fresh air would do my poor, ill self some good.
I was halfway through some unremarkable geology assignment when I heard this insanely loud sort of hmmmm.
Or maybe a sort of bzzzzzzzzzt.
Or a BBBMMMMMMZZZRRRRMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
Point being, it was very loud. I actually thought it was a vacuum cleaner in the room overhead for a few minutes, until I turned around and came face to bug-face with the most massive bee I had ever seen in my entire life.
This bee was not of this world.
This bee was like the Zeus of all bees, okay. The Atlas of the bee world. A giant among bees. A bee god. A deity bee. A Bee-ity, if you will. My point is, it was not a normal bee.
So, I saw this bee right in front of me. And I did the obvious thing.
I ran like heck and screamed bloody murder, like any sane person would do when confronted with death in bee form.
But it soon struck me, trapped in a small and crowded dorm room with no route of reasonable escape—for I would not forsake my territory to some six-legged, striped invader (which is a fancy way of saying I’d be too afraid of the bee to ever go back to my room)—that I needed a better tactic. I needed to deal with this bee. I needed to end this bee. It was me or the bee, and it wasn’t going to be me. I wasn’t going to be shamed by this bee. No, no, I was going to show this bee who was boss and make it sorry to have ever launched an attack against me.
I was going to fight this freaking bee.
Oh sorry, did I say fight? I meant hide under the covers until it bumbled out the window bzz-ing bloody murder.
Maybe not the bravest thing to have done. But it worked. … Sort of.
The other day, with the spider, I constructed an obscenely elaborate pathway with boxes and newspapers and chased the stupid little arachnid monster all the way out of my room and into the hallway using a rolled up Comp Lit essay.
And I shrieked a lot every time it twitched the wrong way and I spent a solid hour after I drove my foe away curled up under my blankets like the brave soul that I am, listening to Glitch Mob about as loud as my iPod can play and pretending there’s no such thing as arachnids.
Of course, hindsight tends to be in 20/20, so looking back now, I can see there was something to be learned from the bee, and there is something to be learned from the spider, and basically from every moment of bug-, height-, or life-related fear I’ve ever experienced.
It’s sort of a bizarre stretch to try to get a life lesson out of one “little” bee or a spider, but in recent times, with the fear I’ve felt with regards to my own life, I’ve noticed something about it.
The thing with fear is—oftentimes, what you’re afraid of seems really big and really scary, but if you can manage to take a few steps back?
It’s not that big after all. Like a spider, or everyday worries, or a bee.
And there’s something to be said, in the face of peril or despair or loss or doubt, for striving to do something, no matter what. Any of you reading this, whether you shriek at spiders or not, are a lot braver than you think. Sometimes it just takes a while to figure that out. And when you do? Maybe it’s just me—but there’s something really great about facing your fears.
(unless it’s a FREAKING HUGE MURDER BEE GAHHHSJKDFNSK)