My last blog post was back in September and in that amazing post I claimed I would be updating this site more. Yeah....that was about 7 months ago. I'm pretty much a liar at this point. I call myself a writer, but I don't write things. So consider this post my official rebuke of myself and the fact that I call myself a writer while never writing anything. I plan on remedying this issue.
And it begins with this post.
Recently, I've noticed a huge difference in my demeanor as a person now compared to how I was back when I was a child. Back then, I'm pretty sure I was afraid of my own shadow. Even so, I never saw my shadow enough to be afraid of it because I was essentially afraid of leaving the house anyway to even see my shadow. But if I did leave the house, I would have been afraid of that shadow trailing behind me.
There are plenty of stories that illustrate the ridiculous bouts of fear I had as a kid, but none more prominent than the time I was afraid of a scene that happened in an over-the-top cartoon I watched. Let's discuss THAT story.
Around the time when I was about 6 years old, I developed a fascination with the program Ren & Stimpy. Y'all may have heard of it. And if you HAVE heard of it, you haven't heard anything necessarily good about it. It's a terrible show. The show is about as vulgar as it gets and was definitely on the list of banned programming in the Wallock household growing up. The premise of the show revolved around dirty jokes that children wouldn't understand (but parents clearly did) and quite a lot of toilet humor. I loved it. Despite my parent's stern warnings not to tune in to the Ren & Stimpy show, I never missed it.
But I paid a hefty price for my insubordinance.
One summer while watching the show, there was a scene that came on that involved the characters trying to get a very large and creepy-looking cow from exiting their bathroom. Regardless of their best efforts, the cow remained, staying in the shower with a shower cap on. I'm not entirely sure what it was about this scene that stuck with me, but for the whole rest of the summer, I would put off going to the bathroom as much as I possibly could. There was no way I was going to be caught dead in the bathroom alone with that creepy-looking cow that my young brain knew was present. This is about was ludicrous as it gets, but to young Andrew it was very much a legitimate and real fear.
Now that I look back on it, I can only chuckle to myself. I'm fairly certain the cow wasn't scary at all. It probably looked a lot more like this:
See? That's a cool cow. Nothing to be afraid of there. I believe my young brain saw something more along the lines of this:
Makes more sense right?
I don't remember exactly how I got over this exact fear. I believe that I eventually just grew out of it. But not before a full summer of driving my parents nuts, not pooing when I need to poo, and plenty checking behind the shower curtain for any bathing bovines.
Another story that stands out in my mind is a story that my mother, especially, loves to tell. It's no secret to those close to me that I was deathly afraid of the wind as a child. It was so bad that I would refuse to leave the house if there was even a hint of breeze outside.
But, if I was ALREADY outside, I was very prepared. I was a thinker. I would wear a tiny, tiny brown cowboy vest with a little feather hanging out of the pocket while playing outside. It looked something like this:
Holy heck, I was adorable. Anyway, while I was playing outside I would follow a certain system. If the feather started to blow around at all in the wind, I would immediately quit all activities and run inside. I would wait inside until the wind stopped before I would allow myself to resume any outside activities. No way was I going to allow the wind to blow me away, never to be heard from again. Because clearly that's what would happen.
How did I get over this fear? It came down to my mom locking the door during a windstorm, while I screamed and banged on the door outside. I think I even went to an extreme length and pretended like I was being blown away by hanging on to the door. My mother would just glance outside, smile, and say, "Hang on!!!"
Horrible parenting, am I right? But it worked. So perhaps, in the end, that was genius parenting.
Why do I tell these stories? In a way, it's to show myself how much I've grown up as a person. I still have my moments of fear, but it mostly revolves around the normal, adulthood fears. A lot of what I learned from these irrational scares was that, in the end, nothing can keep me from living my life. You can be afraid, but you should never let that fear dictate your life. It's the same lesson I have learned ever since I permanently left the house and moved to Utah on a full-time basis. It's a scary thing. Leaving the house, leaving your childhood friends, coming to a new place....it's not an easy step. You could sit around your apartment, watch Netflix (which I do), and never go out and make something of yourself. But that's just letting your fear dictate how you live your life. And that should never be the case.
So, in a way, it's good that my mom locked me outside the house to be blown away by the wind. I learned something from it. I wasn't blown away. The wind did not take me into the clouds. At the time, it seemed like the only logical conclusion. But eventually, my desire to play outside outweighed my fear of the wind. Think of how many awesome adventures I would have missed out on if I had allowed myself to be overcome with fear of the wind.
On the flip side, think how much constipation I would have dealt with if I had allowed myself to avoid the bathroom over fear of a cow washing his ears. I avoided long-term bowel problems by forcing myself to use the bathroom when I was too afraid to do so....
That, in the end, is a blessing.