Monday, March 5, 2012

Big Top Phobia

I know a lot of people have weird, irrational phobias that I scoff at and don't begin to undertsand. Like selenophobia which is the fear of the moon. And not the full-hiney-hanging-out-of-the-pants kind of moon, but the real up-in-the-sky-tide-inducing moon. I mean c'mon. Is that real? And then the new modern, chic fear called Nomophobia: the fear of losing cell phone contact. I totally believe this one and Verizon made a entire commerical campaign playing off this fear. 'Can you hear me now?'

Don't get me wrong, I'm not without my own weird phobia. For the majority of my life I've been afraid of the circus. Most people would automatically assume I had coulrophobia which is the ever-popular fear of clowns. Now, I'm not a huge fan of clowns and they are kind of weird. I've seen the movie 'It' and can somewhat understand people with this fear. Men wearing make-up, pants that fall down, annoying pranks. Doesn't seem too kid-friendly to me. But I don't fear them. 
Me as a clown, Halloween 1981

My fear doesn't even have a clinical name it's so weird. I'm a case study. I am afraid of watching people who are up high. No, I'm not afraid of heights myself. In fact, the first year we put up Christmas lights on our house, I preferred to climb on the roof myself rather than watch my husband climb the ladder. Lots of head shaking from the neighbors ensued. Now I just stay inside and hide when he's up there (and periodocally peek out to make sure I don't have to call 911.) But this fear isn't exactly unfounded. When I was about 4 years old my grandparents took me to the circus and I really had a great time. Right up until the end. The death defying moment when the human cannonball gets shot out of the cannon...and flies through the air... and misses the net. Yep, the human cannonball flew his last flight that day as this wide-eyed four year old took it all in. The circus was halted and we all watched as he was taken away in an ambulance with a snapped neck and not by the circus clowns dressed up as paramedics, but the real deal. And then, "The show must go on!" Cue clowns, ringmaster, music! Like it never happened. Well, that ruined the circus for me. I went a few other times after that, but I was terrified at any acrobat, human cannonball or  high-flying trapeze artist. No circus, no thank you. 

Fastforward about 20 years. My sweet, thoughtful new boyfriend surprised me with tickets to the circus! Yay! Great! The circus! How fun.... I didn't tell him until we got there about my past issues. I got nervous and sweaty all through the elephant act, then the tigers, then the horses. The knot in my stomach got tighter and tighter and then the trapeze act came out and it was more than I could stand. I actually had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Nice. Good impression, Stacie. But he saw my freak flag flying high and the man still stayed with me. Married me actually. At least he knew what he was getting into. And he never surprised me with circus tickets again. 

Fastforward another 10 years and 2 kids together. Last month my husband playfully mentions that the circus is coming to town. Ha, right, I thought. I'm not going to scar my children by taking them to that fiasco.

But then I thought about it and felt very convicted. That was my fear, my anxiety, my phobia. And it was irrational. And it ends here and now. I'm not going to pass this irrational fear and anxiety and nausea-at-the-thought-of-a-man-flying-through-the-air onto my kids! Enough! They have their entire lifetime to come up with their own crazy phobias. I don't need to add to that right out of the gate!

So we went to the circus! And I didn't throw up! And here's the video my hubby made to prove it!

And just so you know, they don't even have the human cannonball anymore. No, that is so 1999. Way too tame. Now they have the human torch. They light a man on fire and launch him through the big top where he lands on a inflatable landing pad while still ON FIRE and then the circus clowns put him out with fire extinguishers. I have to admit I may have tasted my popcorn a bit during that one. But he made it. And I made it. And my kids are clueless of their mom's crazy circus phobia.

Who knows, maybe this year I will even spot my husband while he's on the ladder going Clark W. Griswold on our house instead of cowering inside listening for a thud. Hmm. Maybe. Baby steps. 

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