Saturday, January 10, 2015

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Oh Wait, I Am.

Unfortunately, we now live in a world where people want to constantly tell you how perfect they are. From instagrammed pictures of dream jobs to smug assertions of infallible relationships on facebook, it seems all people want to convey about themselves is how invincible and unafraid of life they are. It’s a shame really, when everyone is so brave and eternally successful you’re never going to hear amazing stories of phenomenal swears said in front of children or messy break ups which end with a former lover begging to be taken back on a crowded train. Well, you’ll be glad to know that I am not one of these people. I fail at heaps of stuff and am scared of a whole bunch of shit and love to tell everyone all about it. So in my attempt to buck the trend of being brave and perfect please read on for my catalogue of cowardice.

Ghosts and monsters. This is just as ridiculous as it sounds, but I am more scared of ghosts and monsters than I am of rapists. Recently I couldn’t sleep and snuck downstairs to watch Candyman. Usually after watching horror movies I do my best to avoid looking out windows for fear of seeing someone looking back in at me/the reflection of something behind me/my reflection having morphed into that of a gruesome dead version of me. The thing is though, usually when you do look out the window there is nothing there and you are reassured that monsters aren’t real and you’re just being silly. On this particular night however, I walked over to the floor to ceiling sliding glass doors to reassure myself there were no monsters hanging around outside and a fucking BAT flew at the window. My knees gave out and I went flailing to the ground. That’s a fun characteristic I have, my knees give way when I’m frightened. I would literally be dead if I lived in the wild.

Greetings. Here’s one for you. Before every social event that will include people I do not know (and some I do) I stress to no end about how to greet them. The way I see it there are four options:
i) Shake their hand
ii) Kiss them on the cheek
iii) Hug them
iv) Wave from a distance
More often than not these four alternatives morph into one socially awkward hug/high five/half mouth kiss. I’ve made peace with the fact that this is one situation I’m never going to figure out, but am bolstered by something I saw last year. On set of a promo shoot for The Voice I watched as made his way through the crowd taking selfies and fist bumping his adoring fans, when one woman gleefully stretched out her arm and shook his fist. I knew then that I am not alone in the world.

Bird of Paradise flowers. I’m telling you this from a place of vulnerability, so DO NOT USE THIS AGAINST ME. I am terrified of Bird of Paradise flowers, they freak me out more than you would believe and I have been known to cry in their presence. It may seem hilarious to be scared of a flower, but the definition of a phobia is an “irrational fear” and this is mine, so if you’re judging me right now, you’re being a dick. And if you approach me with one I will think very poorly of you.

Getting people’s names wrong. Maybe this is due to the fact that people constantly get my name wrong. When I was eight years old and started learning clarinet (the king of the instruments) my next-door neighbor was my clarinet teacher. For whatever reason, she thought my name was Miriam instead of Marion. She was my teacher for four years and I never had the courage to correct her. Consequently, I don’t have any qualifications in clarinet, but Miriam Reed has a fourth grade AMEB certification. It makes sense in light of this that I don’t want to inflict the same name shame on another person, so I FREAK out about getting people’s names right. Sometimes if I have a meeting with someone at work (despite having met them two or three times) I’m so scared that I will get their name wrong I will literally google them as they’re walking towards me, frantically trying to find a linkedin or facebook profile that will confirm how I should address them. Sometimes, even despite my extensive research I'll still be so concerned I’m about to get it wrong that I bail last minute and end up calling them by a strange muffled whooshing sound.

So there you have it, now you know how to terrify me to my very core. You just have to be a monster who greets me with the wrong name and then offers me a bunch of flowers. I'm shuddering at the thought.

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