Saturday, April 30, 2011

What are you afraid of?

In the deepest darkest recesses of my irrational mind I am afraid of three things.

#1 Airplanes/Flying- This fear appeared on a dark and stormy night almost exactly 6 years ago. I was flying home from Poland actually. I had been visiting Martin in the Spring of 2005, about 3 months before we were married. I had two weeks off from my teaching job due to Spring Break and Holy Week being back to back. On the flight back into Austin from Houston there was a fierce storm just outside of town. The pilot informed us that he was going to fly around the storm. This sounded like the best idea to me. But, he didn't quite make it all the way around and we ended up right in the middle of it. Now, this would be ok if it wasn't for the plane basically being thrown up and down and side to side by the wind, it being pitch black outside (it was nighttime after all, and there was a HUGE FREAKING STORM RAGING), and the lights in the cabin flickering on and off. It was really scary, I was scared. But that's not even the worst. He was going to try to land, and as he tried to land the plane kept dropping about 50 feet at a time straight down. STRAIGHT DOWN.

I was in a plane, suspended in air, in the dead of night in the middle of a storm and the plane was dropping straight down, we were being thrown up and down in our seats. The pilot was telling the stewardesses to take their seats in a very strained voice. It was scary. I was scared. But that wasn't even the worst of it. I was sitting next to a guy that was ex military. He said he had seen pilots land the plane in worse conditions and I shouldn't be afraid. I don't know how he knew I was afraid... maybe it was the rosary I was clutching in my left hand for dear life or HIS HAND that I was squeezing the blood out of that I had grabbed on instinct just a few seconds before. Poor guy.

As the pilot attempted to land the 1st time (yeah the 1st time! this is going to get even better) the winds were so strong that all of a sudden he changed his mind and pulled the plane straight up , throwing us all against our seats. The cabin was absolutely silent. I was really scared. We were all really scared. And the guy next to me says, he says, "well, I've never seen a pilot do that before." WHAT? ARE YOU INSANE? YOU DON'T SAY THAT TO ANYONE IN THIS SITUATION! And that was the moment when I knew that we were all going to die. I let go of his hand, and started praying the Rosary fervently and the Act of Contrition, just in case.

Well, we didn't die, obviously. But ever since then I am deathly afraid of turbulence and flying. Good thing we're moving across the ocean to a land that you can only get to BY PLANE. It'll be ok. It's an irrational fear after all. "More people die in car wrecks than in plane crashes." " Planes are safer than cars and I drive a car every day." WHAT.EVER. There is nothing rational or natural about human beings beings suspended thousands of feet in the air without parachutes or wings (real ones that are attatched to our backs that we know how to use) or safety pods (this is a pod that you can sit in and if there is a plane crash it has it's own jet propulsion pack and oxygen tank and set coordinates to the nearest hotel that has Dr. Pepper, and it *guarantees* your safety). But, you do what you gotta do if you want to marry "the love of your life" and he happens to be Polish.

So, I deal, and I say A LOT of Hail Mary's.

Ok, I may lose you here. This one is really irrational.

I am really afraid of maggots. I am not talking about grossed out (although they are really gross) and I'm not talking about creeped out (they are *super* creepy). I am talking about phobically, hysterically, paralyzingly afraid of maggots. I despise flies, the maggot's older and wiser mutation, but I have a phobia of maggots. Don't really know how that came about, and it's only been in the last 2-3 years. And I have only come into contact with them about three times in those last few years. (which seems like an alarmingly high amount for the average suburban housewife) And each time it's happened I have had crying fits of hysteria while someone other than me got rid of them. Last summer almost every single peach out of our peach tree had a maggot, or maggot like worm, in the very center, eating it's way out of the peach. Other people simply cut the worm away and continued on eating the peaches. I forbid my children to come within 10 feet of those peaches and gave every single one of them away.

Martin thinks it's funny to paint a picture (with words, not real paints, that would just be taking it too far) of 6 foot tall maggots that try to eat me in my sleep. And he likes to stand there and wiggle around and make "maggot sounds" (what ever that is) and slowly come closer to me as I'm doing important things like changing diapers or cooking meals. Those are the moments that have me imagining cutting the oxygen tank wires on his safety pod.

This is the most innocent picture of maggots I could find. DO NOT GOOGLE MAGGOT IMAGES.

#3 This is my most recent fear.

I am afraid I am going to lose my children. Not in a plane crash or to drugs. Not to a 6 foot flesh eating maggot or to a Frenchman. No, I am afraid I am going to lose my children to Poland. The language, the culture, their friends, their careers. The boys' future wives. Lina's future convent. Their children, my grandchildren. All in Poland... maybe, perhaps, it could happen. And I'll lose them. They'll become Polish. They'll become those "Polish children who have an American mother." And I'll be buried in some Polish cemetery next to Martin, and my grand kids will remember that they had an American grandmother once, but they can't remember exactly where she was from...

Of course this is irrational and silly. The world is getting smaller and smaller, you no longer have to choose one country or the other, you can live with one foot in both and do it well, genuinely, successfully. Martin reminds me that they have spent the first few years of their lives here already and they will speak AMERICAN English and they will have AMERICAN traditions no matter where we live, and that I am not the only one who will bring the American influence and culture and language to our house, he too has been raised partly in America, etc.

But there's always that chance. The chance that they'll just decide it's not worth it to keep their Texas heritage or teach their children the Star Spangled Banner or have Thanksgiving dinner on the fourth Thursday in November every year...

So, maybe I'm not really afraid that I will lose my children. Maybe I'm really afraid that they'll lose me.


  1. :'(
    I started all laughing and cracking up as usual, and in the end, you had to pluck that heart string. Waaaaaaahhhhh! Don't goooooo!!!!!

    *sniff sniff*

  2. I'm afraid of maggots too, actually any type of bug except bee's (excluding wasps and hornets), butterflies, catapillers, and inch worms