Writer, Editor, Stand-Up Comedian

Things that go “Dumb!” in the night

Posted: September 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Column | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments »

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my late, great housebat, Chester. (He’s now decaying in a ravine somewhere, I hope. He was taken out. I’ll say no more.) I talked about how scared  I was of this animal zooming towards me, his leathery wings flap-flapping around my head. But bats are not the only thing I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid of spiders. Not just any old spiders, but the big, creepy ones that thrive in our lovely, lush, tropical climate. Guys like this:

from: http://www.antiguamuseums.org/fauna.htm

I also am afraid of roaches, centipedes, scorpions, etc etc ad infinitum. Pretty much any crawly character turns my blood to ice. Even if I know it’s not dangerous.

Snakes are even worse. When I was a little girl filling water by the tank outside–before the halcyon days of indoor plumbing came to my childhood home–I was shocked to screaming by the sight of a harmless grass snake oozing over my toes. I was probably afraid of snakes before that because of the cultural apprehension most western people have about snakes, but this made it worse. Now, I see a snake and I literally start to stammer, shake and sweat. Frogs, less so, but they still give me the heebie jeebies. Big, maco crapauds will make me run screaming in the other direction.

from: http://alpesoiseaux.free.fr/batraciens/crapaud_commun_bufo_bufo.htm

It’s not only things outside in the bush (or boldface bush denizens who visit indoors) that spook me. Some dogs–pitbulls, especially–scare the daylights out of me. And some animals on two legs have a similar effect.

Cocktail parties nearly top the list of non-animal things that frighten me. Strangers in general make my stomach churn. Oddly enough, public speaking gives me the willies, but you’d never know it from the amount of it I actually do.


Top thing that I’m scared of? Being “outed” as dumb, incompetent or a failure. Of course, this biggest fear of all is the most irrational. So what if somebody thinks I’m stupid or untalented? (Big shout out to my homie Raymond Ramcharitar here!) The truth is that I try, harder than many, though no harder than some, to do my best. And whether I fail or not, I have to be satisfied with my best because it’s all I’ve got. In the light of day I am mostly secure in that knowledge. But when the lights go down, insecurity attacks. I can run away from a frog, squish a spider, call a hit on a bat, but there’s no avoiding that ugly voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough.

This story has no happy ending. I wish I could say I talk myself out of it, or that I have a friend whose reassurance makes it all better. Those things happen sometimes but more often than not I just have to work through the fear–“feel the fear and do it anyway,” as the popular book says.

What are you afraid of?

8 Comments on “Things that go “Dumb!” in the night”

  1. 1 Cheryl Wright said at 5:59 pm on September 8th, 2010:

    I’m afraid of all insects and run like hell from frogs and snakes.

    Some two-legged homo sapiens make me cross the street or hasten inside my house and lock the doors.

    I too, entertain those darn fears of failing or being thought of as stupid or incompetent. Some days, I find the strength to cast them off. Other times? Well, let’s just say that other times, they walk with me – a dreaded barnacle on my back.

  2. 2 Nicole Henry said at 6:01 pm on September 8th, 2010:

    Strange enough……..most things that go bump in the night don’t frighten me. I an the chick who picks up the dead rats and mice for my screaming mother( with newspaper of course). However, I have an abject fear of big trucks and I HATE ants!!!!

  3. 3 Name (required) said at 6:25 pm on September 8th, 2010:

    I am scared of all creepy crawlies but if is me or them they going down!
    Many situations scare the crap out of me in ways that words cannot describe but I learnt a long time ago if I am scared the world and its ppl are quite happy to indulge me in them and while I am paralysed my dreams are achieved by someone else. That pisses me off and motivates me to push past the heebie jeebies and let the fear pass through me.
    One of my fav quotes is: being brave does not mean not being scared, it means being scared but doing what has to be done anyway… I live by this

  4. 4 sharon millar said at 8:19 pm on September 8th, 2010:

    What a great post. I wonder if we are all the same person under our skin?
    What happened to the bat??

  5. 5 Global Voices in English » Trinidad & Tobago: Fear Factor said at 9:45 am on September 9th, 2010:

    […] Cocktail Parties? Lisa Allen-Agostini shares her biggest […]

  6. 6 lise said at 12:04 pm on September 9th, 2010:

    Sharon, I put a hit on the bat. That was the big one. One down, one to go.

  7. 7 Mystie said at 9:24 am on September 11th, 2010:

    Lise, that name required post is me btw…lol i was commenting from the bb…so it was a lil uhm labored…:)

  8. 8 lise said at 9:56 am on September 11th, 2010:

    yeah, i realised 🙂

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