Fear comes in many shapes and sizes, most notably in the eight-legged variety.
I attribute the last how-ever-many-years of screeching when discovering one of such creatures to an infamous moment when I was little and excitedly on my way to a swimming pool in my grandparent’s backyard. In my delight I failed to noticed there was something across the path and ran right into a giant spider’s web and a giant spider.
It was not a good day.
If there is one place spiders love, it is the bathtub. Or the folds of the shower curtain. Or on the edge of the bathmat. Or just hanging out in the corner by the bathroom fan.
Over the last 6 months, my views on spiders have been changing. Previously, I would find a spider hanging out in the tub – scream – and then go get someone to remove it from the tub (or this world). A few months ago I started to remove them gently myself, with a long, long, long stick, and put them outside. Then the other day, I found one in the shower curtain fold, and I just let it be.
It might still be there. I don’t know.
There is a spider in each of the windows in my living room. I say hi to them when I open the curtains. For a while there was one of those chipper little jumping ones hanging around the plants in my room. There’s one outside the front door. There’s one guarding the kitchen window.
The point is, I’m starting to see spiders as fellow companions, friends on the journey. If you have a feeling of shock overtaking you right now, that is fair. This is weird for me too. It’s like somewhere along the line I became so afraid of something I couldn’t predict, understand, or control – who had a lot of eyes and legs.
And fear is like that. Hiding on the ceiling. In the bathtub. Right behind where I think it might be. On the edge of things. Hanging in the corner.
I am (and have been) afraid of A LOT of things. But I don’t want to be afraid of spiders anymore. I don’t want to be afraid to co-exist with something that’s different, hidden, unknown, surprising, and always there somewhere. I want to open the curtains and say good morning.
I want to learn from the strength and gentleness of spider, master of creativity and weaver of webs.