I don’t know anyone who is fearless. In fact, everyone I’ve met is afraid of something. I am not immune from being afraid. There is one thing that scares me the most. You can call it a phobia.
What Scares Me?
I am afraid of compressed gas. That means camping stoves, gas fireplaces and barbecues. Anything in my mind that has the potential to blow up or shoot a flame toward me, scares me. I feel my stomach tighten, my mouth dry, my emotions stirring to the point of wanting to cry. If it is bad enough, I will get up and leave the area. The funny thing is, I leave my family behind. You’d think I’d want to rush my family to safety, but I don’t because I know that the situation really is safe and it is only related to my past experiences.
How Did My Fears Start?
I can easily trace back my fear of compressed gas to two events in my life. The first was when I was about nine years old. My parents had a wood fireplace and I was laying on the ground in front of it watching television. At one point, I turned to look at the fire and it was at this moment, a spark flew out and landed on my eye. Luckily for me, my eye closed in time. I can remember the pain of the spark on my eyelid as I started the scream as my parents reacted, not knowing exactly where the spark had landed. They were searching my hair for the spark but then I started yelling that it was my eye. One trip to the emergency department later and a prescription for burn ointment, I was eventually fine, but open flame still makes me nervous.
That moves us on to the second event. My parents felt that they needed to get rid of the wood fireplace (perhaps my episode had something to do with it). They had gas fireplaces installed. These were not the kind that were operated by the flick of a light switch. We had to turn the dial to let in the gas and then us the sparking dial to get the flame to go. (Sorry to all you technical folks that are cringing over my description of the operation of a gas fireplace). At 13 or so, I had operated this fireplace several times, but this time it wasn’t sparking. The gas was flowing, I was using the sparker and finally…. flash. Flames and soot shot out toward me. The fireplace was lit but I was shaking.
Now you understand why I have a fear of compressed gas or anything that can shoot flames at me.
Several Years Later…
I have tried over the years to get over my fear. I celebrated last Summer as I lit the camping stove on my own. I couldn’t even do that the year before. I can stay on the patio as my husband lights the barbecue. Maybe one day I’ll be able to light it myself. One step at a time.
Now I have a question for you. Do you have any fears? What scares you? Can you pin down when it started or is it a fear that has always existed? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.