Thursday, 28 April 2011
I have to deal with arachnophobia on a daily basis ... spiders surround my house because I live in the middle of a goddamn national park. Do you know how hard it is for me to check the mailbox? Oh they have been known to lurk on letters in there. Bringing wood in from the woodpile is fraught with anxiety. Sitting in my car after I've left the window open a crack. Feeding the dog late at night. All big spider terror-instances.
It's because I had an unfortunate series of spider events, as a child. One rainy day, I remember watching a midday movie with my sisters and dad. I ran to go to the toilet, shut the door behind me, sat down ... and there was the hugest huntsman I'd ever seen in my life. We stared at each other for about twenty minutes. He was about two metres away from me the whole time, by the end I was a sweaty, crying nervous mess. (Technically I was a sweaty crying nervous mess my entire childhood, but anyway.) It took me so long to work up the courage to open the door and run past him, but I did - screaming. It was years before I used that downstairs toilet again.
(Ok, I just googled "how many eyes does a huntsman have" ... and now I am shivering in my beanbag. They have eight - eight! One for each stupid leg!)
It was this scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark that really sealed the deal.
I sat in that movie theatre in 1981, clutching my popcorn, terrorised and frozen with fear. To this day, I always think I have spiders on my back and jump around patting my back like crazy. Once, when Max was about three and asleep in the back of the car, a huge huntsman crawled over my windscreen, as I was driving on the freeway. I started screaming, hysterically. Woke him up, he started screaming. I rang my sister, who was with my other sister. So they got the privilege of listening to me and my son scream in terror - my sisters may have laughed, I may have shouted at them that it wasn't funny.
I pulled off the freeway, wound my window down a smidgen, put my mouth up to it like a drowning man to an air pocket. I called a random stranger to please help me ... can he see the spider? (There has been a LOT of enlisting members of the public to help me in my quest to murder spiders. I have no shame.)
He couldn't see it. And he was smiling at me - useless. I had this brainwave of going through the carwash. That spider must have crawled on to the bottom of my car and gripped the axle like Robert De Niro in Cape Fear, because a WEEK later, it popped up again. I knew it was the same one, as they all get burnt into my memory.
I've had to learn to live with spiders. It's hard, and I'm constantly on alert. I do a spider-scan as I enter every single room in my house and it drives Dave crazy. He thinks I attract them, because we create what we fear. I should start fearing a lovingly homemade meal, baked fresh every night. And free money. And a full-time maid.
To this day, the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life was the one in the woodpile one night in May 2008 when Dave was still in hospital for cancer treatment. Rocco was seven days old. Max was six years old, and I was here by myself. The spider that night was huge, and black, and just dared me to brush him off to get the wood. I didn't, the fire went out, and we all went to bed because it was too cold to stay up.
I was SO ANGRY. That, for a while, I dared myself to not be scared of them. I furiously flicked them off my mail, banged them with shoes, a broom ... I was pretty tough, for a while. Until things calmed down - Dave went into remission ... and I remembered again, that I was scared of spiders.
It's hard to get this post out. I don't particularly *want* you to know how low I feel, how the past few weeks have sucked, how afraid I am of the spiders in my mind. I just want to allude to it, poetically and softly. And say some uplifting thing at the end.
Sometimes I run out of pretty bows.
I almost went back to bed this morning, after all the guys were gone. I never do that anymore, be pathetically apathetic.
I had a shower instead, and logged on, to sniff around what's happening on the internet. In quick succession, I read three blog posts of amazing Australian women, all in a row. Raw and honest and heartwrenching posts, and they are all blonde to boot!
Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim and the powerful post she wrote last year called The Road to Here
Beth from BabyMac and Get Real
And Sarah from Ah, the Possibilities! with A Broken Day
These are such amazing blog posts. Thank you. I feel human again, connected. Like I now have permission to blog about my raw, my sad, and my spiders. There's spiders everywhere. Everywhere!
Special mention to Lerner from Stay at Home Babe ... I mentioned huntsmen to her yesterday and she didn't know what they were so she googled them. And she will never, ever be the same again.
So I thought I'd share them with you, too. A problem shared is a problem halved. A spider halved is a spider DEAD, man.