Like I know zombies aren’t actually real and stuff, and that the nice people hired by Busch Gardens to dress up, wear goofy makeup and scream at you so that you scream at them are not actually going to threaten me in any real way. I know this.
Doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t pump a little more noticeably as I walk into a scary maze through hanging plastic curtains. And it also doesn’t mean I feel the need to grab the person closest to me and / or punch him for making me walk through said plastic curtains. This is entertainment.
Fear is a funny thing. And by funny, I mean not funny at all. My knee jerk reaction is violence. It hasn’t always been that way. There was a time I was much more likely to just freeze up with the deer in headlight routine. But since being an adult (roughly five years ago) I have developed a general attitude of slug first, ask later. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, and I do know that I have bruised a friend here and there without actually meaning to. No honest.
It really does come down to flight or fight for most of us and facing those fears head on is generally something people do not do.
One of my favorite children’s stories is by (guess…) Neil Gaiman called Coraline. (I’ve talked about the movie before, but I won’t here because I’m still pretty mad about it. If you want to know my thoughts, click on the Coraline tag on my blog)
One of the major points of Coraline in the book (not as clear in the movie, in my opinion, which makes me all angered… but I just said I wasn’t going to go into it) was facing fear and conquering it. There is this lovely scene in the book between the father and the daughter where he explains that it isn’t bravery when you do something and aren’t afraid. He tells a story about when he was trying to redirect a swarm of bees away from her so she could run off and not get stung. It wasn’t brave for him to do that because all he thought of was her safety and protecting her from harm. But when he went back later to get rid of the hive, then he was scared and therefore it was braver for him to deal with the bees when all he could think of was his own pain and suffering.
I wouldn’t say I was very afraid – at least not as much as I thought I might be. I have definitely had worse moments where sheer panic made me kick and scream and flail about. I’m quite glad I didn’t slug any one because I’ve heard that’s illegal. I’m sure my friend was relieved I didn’t injure him.