www.whyville.net Apr 6, 2008 Weekly Issue

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Emmy's Logo Here: Fear Has Got Us In a Chokehold

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"The greatest fear of all is fear itself."

My sister is blasting Flo Rider's "Low" on repeat, has been for about 28 minutes. If that song was a human, I'd strangle it. You can tell this week's column isn't going to turn out well, with that song bouncing around my head, all the while trying to tackle such a large topic as fear.

Before I begin, I'd just like to apologize for "Emmy's Logo Here" not coming out regularly lately. I have no one to blame besides myself. I start one, but then trash it after a few paragraphs. It's the perfectionist in me, along with the dread of what a few certain people who never seem to be satisfied with the column will say in the BBS, that holds me back. I'll try harder, although, because I realize that I owe it to you all, plus writing this column is one of the few things that keeps me sane. And, boy, has it been a hectic couple of weeks.

Fear: "To be afraid or feel anxious or apprehensive about a possible or probable situation or event"

Sounds about right, doesn't it? Fear is such a huge thing; it's constantly present in our everyday lives. By the definition of fear, it seems pretty straightforward: You're scared, or you're not. But it's so much more than that. Fear is in so many places, comes in so many forms, from so many things, there's nothing simple or straightforward about it. You could be afraid that your parents will ground you because of some trouble at school; the next day you could be fearing for your life. Some people have fears of certain things like spiders, heights, or swimming. Some of these fears are more serious; they are actual disorders, like claustrophobia, the fear of small or tight spaces.

"Fear is a survival mechanism," says some behavioral scientists, which is true. Go back to early humans, do you think they would have survived without a sense of fear? Fear goes for animals, too, it's one of their instincts. Fear is one of the basic human emotions, too, along with happiness, sadness, anger and so on.

When you hear the word 'fear', what first comes into your mind? What you're most afraid of? For most people, when they think of fear, it is related to some sort of pain. Fear of falling off something and breaking an arm, for example. Fear of parents separating, which would fall under the category of more emotional pain. Fear of dying, particularly in a painful way. That ties in quite nicely to my column about death a few weeks ago. Most people said they weren't afraid of dying, exactly, but dying in a painful or agonizing way.

Fear is in everyone, therefore fear is everywhere.

Even if you aren't seriously afraid of one thing in particular, we have all been afraid at one point in our lives. Actually, most people feel fear daily. This fear isn't usually grave fear, but more like mild caution, or a sudden fright, maybe somebody jumping out from behind a door or anxiety over a test.

The things you fear, too, usually don't just show up. Some people are born afraid of heights or with claustrophobia in such, but many fears come after a certain incident. An example I found while surfing the Internet is if a child falls into a well (very unlikely, but this is just an example) and struggles to get out, that child might develop cases of claustrophobia or aquaphobia (fear of water), even fear of wells themselves.

I hate being afraid. I hate, hate, hate it. For me, it's probably because I don't like showing others weaknesses in myself, and to me, fear symbols a weakness. I know this isn't true, but it's the way I feel. When I was little, there were two couples who lived in the house on the corner, who always seemed to be fighting or getting the police called to their house. Even after those particular tenants moved out, I still had a fear of that house. To make it worse, I walked to my elementary school, which meant going past the house or taking a long detour. I hated how I felt when I was running the last length of the block to get past the house, and how many sick memories it had for me. There was a young girl and a boy a bit older than I had been at the time who lived directly across the street from that house. I couldn't imagine how they felt. Ah, yes, childhood fears. I have so many different ones now than I had then. I guess what you fear changes as you grow older, learn new things, and mature.

I'm sure most of us have had a couple moments of extreme and true fear in our lives. When afraid, some people become very intimidated. Fear can cause higher levels of adrenaline, also making people make irrational decisions or even become dangerous. The quote "The greatest thing to fear is fear itself" is so true, because when confronted with something that frightens us, who knows how we will react? How many people we will hurt, or how we will hurt ourselves? The thought of fear can drive people to the point of paranoia.

Sometimes it's the worst thing of all, fearing fear.



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