Uncharismatic as it is, I like to think that I’ve got a relatively conflict free life. Mo money, mo problems they say. Seeing as I’m not exactly rolling in it, I’m more problem free than Jay-Z. Surely though, I must have worries, apprehensions, fears? Sure, I’m only human (and part salamander, but don’t tell anyone. I don’t want to violate the NDA I have with CAMH after doing all that medical testing. Not too many biological changes occurred, except for the fact that when I poop I now lay adorable little eggs in lieu of poop. I mean, they’re totally filled with poop, but it’s slightly more demure (and painful) than the alternative. Is this TMI yet?), so naturally there must be things that chill me at night.
Obviously there’s the coulrophobia. I wish this was “a bit”. It’s not like I’m gonna run screaming if I see a clown, but I legitimately and truthfully feel an unsettling clenching around my heart when I see a garishly painted white face. Like most phobias, it’s irrational. Researchers have predicted that it may have something to do with the “uncanny valley” concept, the creepy juxtaposition of human and non-human characteristics that leaves some mildly distressed. I think mine started when my brothers brought home the Killer Klowns from Outer Space VHS. Those terrifying space “klowns” with blade-like teeth and ill intent cemented something raw and enduring in me. I mean, I’ve seen the movie since. It’s campy and dumb. It’s not frightening, but it’s imprinted me with something that leaves me reeling from a clown encounter. An enclownter, if you will. Still totally serious, if my flippant mood made you think otherwise. At Nuit Blanche last year there was some float populated by clowns. My heart froze and I had to back up. I nearly shat tiny salamander eggs everywhere. At a sexual story telling evenings earlier this year one of the judges was dressed as a clown. I had to look away from his face as I told him about my coulrophobia. I instead looked down. At his crotch. Which was covered by a light switch. Really, not making this up. Though I can’t resist implying that the switch was probably there to indicated when people turned him on. Dumb. It was probably there to indicate that he identified as a switch sexually. Anyway, clowns. Creepy.
I guess it’s fair to say I’m afraid of being alone. Not in some needy relationship kind of thing, but as an extroverted introvert, I start to crave human interaction once I tire of my own company (takes quite a while, as the narcissist thing ensures). Where the fear stems from is the notion that I could be enough of an asshole to people that they’d no longer want me around. The idea that I’d say enough things that’d rub people the wrong way and they’d simply stop answering messages. I fear burning bridges, putting out unanswered olive branches until my arm droops from exhaustion. I’m terrified by the concept that people wouldn’t want me in my life. Inevitably this extends into my romantic relationships, manifesting in my deep seated habit of cutting things off with people before they realise there’s very little of worth at my core and dropping me like a tonne of clichés. It’s a form of counterattack. If I get rid of people before they can see that they won out by ridding themselves of me, I can fool myself into thinking I won the exchange. It’s idiotic, but inevitably the path I end up taking almost every time.
I guess most of all I fear being ineffectual. This isn’t an economic thing, rather if I’m not seen as contributing to the world around me at all, then why would I exist? I’m not talking massive world scale events, but I want to know that I can make people happy, that I can contribute to a situation that’s improved by my involvement. I want to know that my presence has a ripple effect of some variety. Can I change things? Will my words affect others at all? Make them consider things differently? Will my actions draw tears? Laughs? Smiles? If I can interact with someone and make their day, that makes me feel useful. If I can end a relationship and leave someone better than I found them, that in itself justifies the relationship. I guess it’s no different than this human compulsion to leave a legacy, to know that you graced the world with your presence and left a lasting impression. The opposite seems too much to bear, that I’d no longer be capable of influencing matters within my orbit. I fear the day when my life becomes obsolete. Isn’t that the fear of growing old? Fear of irrelevance? That the world has passed you by? Bleak.
At least when I age I’ll be able to console myself with the regrowth of lost limbs. Thanks CAMH and salamander DNA!