Thursday, 28 April 2011

The only thing to fear; is the fear of mutant arachnids itself.

                                      Come into my parlour
You're welcome.

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.


  1. Huntsman are absolutely terrifying. One of the best things about moving to Brisvegas - no more huntsman.
    Glad to hear you are feeling good.x

  2. Eww spiders. I have a fear that sounds like yours. I used to live in Boomi (you probably don't know where that is, but it's a tiny hick town not too far into NSW from the QLD border) and there were spiders everywhere. One time, I went to hang out the clothes, and got so convinced I could feel something on me that I ran inside and ripped all my clothes off and threw them straight into the wash to get the damn spider (that wasn't actually there) off.
    On bad days I still get my J to check the bedroom for spiders before I go to bed because if I find one I will not be able to handle it.
    We Australians have to stick together!
    And hopefully the spiders back off and leave you the f*ck alone.

  3. Holy shit, I just looked them up. I would have some sort of spider death weapon on me at all times with ones that big skulking about.

  4. Dude, that is one ugly spider. Ick. When I lived at home, I would park my car under the maple tree in front of the house, and if I left the windows open, these small white tree spiders would move in to the car. Then they would go traipsing across the car whenever I was driving somewhere. So, one day, I was driving down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago at about 50 mph, and one of those little fuckers wandered right across the windshield. So I naturally took my shoe off and tried to kill it and flung it somewhere in the car. Needless to say, I drove home in a panic because there was a pissed off spider in my car.

    Spiders are everywhere, and when they crawl inside your skull it really sucks. Stamp them out! I've got a shoe in my hand and I'm ready to start smacking some spiders for you - they don't scare me.

  5. Holy cow, I don't blame you for being scared to death! So glad you didn't go back to bed, neither did I. :-)

  6. (My heart is palpatating as i tell you this story...) When i was about 7 and my sister about 9, we were in her room. She had a pillow my nan had made. Beautiful. It had all this lace wrapped around the top in a sort of crafty flowery thing. My sister loved it. This day, in her room, she lay down on the pillow and NO JOKE THE LARGEST FUCKING HUNTSMAN SPIDER crawled out of the lace and INTO HER HAIR!! You can imagine what happened after that. I am scarred for life and it didnt even happen to me. Spiders are evil.

  7. I probably shouldn't tell you I was bitten by a huntsman recently. But I will. It was hiding INSIDE a clean sock that I was trying to turn in the right way. Your spiders will get you when you least expect it and then the next day you'll calmly (sort of) fold laundry again.

  8. I love spiders(except for those big creepy long legged-spiders).Back in my childhood, i used to play with them like making it fight with another spider, milking it; thus, making new offsprings.


  9. I hope this helps you: I read in more than one place that the BIGGEST BADDEST arachnids and insects and bugs and creepy crawlies IN THE WORLD? are in Australia.

    You're welcome.

  10. Now, I am off to read your recs.

    Because if you love them, well, then...

  11. I will not look them up. I almost didn't click on this to read it because I felt bile rise in the back of my throat as my brain recognized the image. What a shame that would have been because I wouldn't have had a chance to laugh at the Cape Fear reference because those fucking spiders are sneaky!! Come out, come out where ever you are! I have the heebie jeebies right now. Shiver shiver. I tried to remind myself that they serve a great purpose on our planet. And maybe I don't think they are beautiful but someone must. I tried to roll myself in a ball today full of pity for myself and my balding scalp that's slaughtering my follicles in a hormonal protest that rages without my consent. How ugly I feel. OMG! I have lost my fucking mind if I'm comparing myself to a spider, holy shit. What a sad girl I can be. I'm still going to squish those mo'fo's if they get too close to me. Be part of the ecosystem just do it away from me!

    Oh, and I'm never folding laundry again and we don't even have those sonsabitches here. I hate getting wood because they might lurking there and the spider in the day I was driving glanced up in the mirror to see a spider crawling down my bangs, I thought it was the a/c moving my hair. I'm sure it was hilarious and scary as I pulled over screaming and flailing around like an idiot. I'm not sleeping tonight.

  12. If I see a spider run across my car whilst I am in it, I feel compelled to lock the doors. I think that's sad.

  13. Shivering here. Lots of eeews and frowny faces.

    And thinking "Hey Eden would you fucking well call me when you are not feeling great - because you know I would be there in a shot. You stubborn bat!"


  14. You are most welcome. Stupid fucking huntsmen and our living in the country. I hope that someday soon you can brush them off. You are much bigger than them in every way. Promise. Go show em!

  15. I'm pretty sure I've made it abundantly clear that I am a HUGE arachnophobe. I even used to work with bugs. I love it when people try to ration with me about why I shouldn't be afraid.

    It's called a PHOBIA, people. That means it's an IRRATIONAL FEAR. Don't you dare try to rationalize with me.

    Anyway, I was dusting off my Google Reader and checking my little folder called "My Faves" and I see that thing on my screen. RIght before bed. I had to dull my senses just to make my hand scroll down.

    Now I'm never coming to Australia. Like how I glossed over the important part of the post? It's my technique for dealing with the lows. Distraction. It's better to think about big fuzzy spiders. It distracts you from the spiders in your head.

  16. I don't mind huntsmans, but I cannot get over my fear of funnelwebs. I killed one in the garden at my mother's house the other weekend. It didn't take too kindly to me digging in the garden.I was surprised to see him so angry in April.

    My mum had the fire on last weekend and it attracted some nice black house spiders, or perhaps they were female funnel webs and I just didn't know the difference.

    Personally snakes really freak me out - my dad shot a brown snake in our backyard when I was a kid. Yucko.

  17. It must be the week for writing about fears. I love the way you write. Below is the last paragraph in my post about facing fear which I wrote on Monday.
    "So I will continue to face my fears because I read somewhere that the things that we fear most are also often the things that will help us grow and learn the most. I will also try not to worry quite so much because it's amazing how exhausting worrying can be and nothing ever happens that's as bad as what I imagine it is"

    Not sure whether there is much too be learned from facing up to a big hairy huntsman but you never know.

    Cheers for sharing

  18. Argh! I am so the same- I even got the heebie jeebies looking at that picture you posted. I really really really hate spiders, but unlike you, if I know there's a spider around I have to kill it- or get hubs to kill it. They are litte devils walkng on the earth, I swear!

  19. Ok, I'm going to have nightmares about spiders again. I too do the spider check in every room. More so in some places I've lived than others but I am seriously freaked the fuck out by them. I remember having a friend talk me into going to see Arachnaphobia cause it was supposed to be funny. SO. NOT. FUNNY. I've also nearly bailed out of moving cars on busy streets, screamed my lungs out when I stuck my bare foot into a sandal and squished one, and let my garden die because of the one living above the faucet.
    My theory is that we all have things we are unreasonably afraid of. Yes I know I'm bigger than a spider and I don't fucking care, they still scare me. Yes I know everyone at the gym is not laughing at me when I work out. That one I'll work on. Priorities and all. Hang in there girl, you're doing great.

  20. Oh and yeah, I had to google too. I'm seriously never coming to Australia. Nope. Not ever.

  21. Oh... why?! I already knew what a huntsman spider was.. what it looked like. But for some reason I googled it again. My spine is curling from the massive amounts of pictures that flooded my screen! Ah!

  22. I should blog about my fears. I am too scared too. You are strong. Just the very thought of my phobia makes my knees turn to jelly.


  23. I could never live in Australia. Too many poisonous spiders and snakes and fish and all kinds of weird shit ;)

    Actually I got bit by a tiny brown recluse here in the states and I got a nasty nasty infection. I guess we aren't safe anywhere!

  24. Do you remember the lizard post? And I was all like "is it really true that all these dangerous venomous things live in Australia" -- and you so politely declined to tell me knowing that if I knew I might be to scared to visit the place I've always wanted to go...EEEEKKKKK. I'll never forget being in the Dominican Republic with my mother and seeing a tarantula the size of a small dinner plate as we drove and it passed beneath the van...

    Again: eEEEKeeekkk.

    Sweetheart -- I am sending you so much love. I know sometimes it's hard to tell -- on the dark days -- but there will come a day soon when it all will brighten again. Love is so much more powerful than fear -- but fear kicks our ass -- especially when it visits us so early.

    I just want you to know that I *see* you. I get it.

    Do you think that people think I'm a weird stalker on your blog?

    I swear to god I am totally normal.



  25. Ugh. I had to scroll past the picture with my hand in front of the screen. My sister in law moved to brisbane 4 years ago…I told her I'd love to visit but the spiders you guys have are keeping me away. :S

    I remember seeing that Raiders of the Lost Ark scene!!!! I had forgotten about it!!
    Back when I was 13 I was tricked by my own MOTHER into seeing Arachnophobia in the the theatre. Thanks Mom.

    How many of us won't be sleeping tonight?? lol

  26. I am so glad I live on the other side of the planet from you, we have no huntsmen. Although our politicians resemble them frighteningly. :)

  27. You are not alone. I am TERRIFIED of spiders. I know that much of it is mind over matter, but I cannot get past it. One in close proximity to me leaves me screaming, paralyzed, sweating . . . well, you can relate.

    And oh, so many spider stories.

  28. Hi Eden,
    I love your writing - it's so honest, sometimes I wish I could be so honest to myself as well.

    As for the spiders - nasty bastards - ah well, have the same feeling of fear. Once I was in a new flat and had to sleep on the mattress on the floor (as the furniture was all apart) and in the middle of night - a spider run accross my face. It was the worst night in my life I jumped, was hysterical and refused to sleep there ever again. Thanks god I'm in different flat now ;). Sending you my hugs xxx

  29. Every time I read one of your posts there is a line that will just stop in my tracks & make me go...damn I know how that feels. Spiders aside, in this post it was 'Sometimes I run out of pretty bows'. Honest to god your words are really powerful...sometimes we all run out of pretty bows. Take care x

  30. Screw the pretty bows, I prefer the raw, and yes sometimes the sad. And I will kill anything: ants, roaches, various bugs that we have here in Florida. I will even pick up little lizards and throw them out of the house. But I HATE spiders. And snakes, hate snakes. So I am with you on the spider thing, esp if they are trying to invade your home. EWWWW!
    Good luck! Lisa

  31. OK- this is weird, I just went on and this is on Natl news: America's venomous brown recluse spiders are spreading due to climate changes. AHHHH, HIDE everyone! :) Lisa

  32. My friend shares the same fear - a few years ago she lived in a big house that had a lot of spiders and once, when I picked her up from the airport, she MADE me go through the house, room to room, looking for them before I could leave. By the time I left, I had inherited her fear, albeit not as badly. I REFUSE to look up huntsman spiders.


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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