WARNING: This post contains strong visual images.
I used to be scared of toilet flushes on airplanes.
I bet you can mirror yourself into this as they flush EXTREMELY strong and loud. I once read about this woman who remained seated while flushing and her intestine had been partially sucked out (I warned you at the beginning of this post…). There was an happy ending though as the ambulance came promptly and the doctors eventually managed to insert it back. Despite I have been left utterly concerned and horrified by this story, I could also not be amazed by the progress of chirurgy and medicine we witness today – just picture me sighing slightly, tight up in a velvet corset dress inside my carriage, shattering across the dark fumes of a colonial London.
Well, together with their toilets, I used to be scared of airplanes in general. Not for the sake of it, but of flying of course. I should not say it too loud, but both of these fears are gone by now. I actually had to reassure a fully grown adult lady recently (on her 40s to make a polite guess) trying to make her overcome her fear of flying. It is about frequency, I told her. The evidence I brought is my experience, as the more I flew, especially alone, the less I was scared – it might have been surving on some really big turbulences over the Atlantic: however, it did not seem that she was fully convinced. Fair enough, you have to experience it on your skin to believe it.
Some time later, I happened to be in a haunted house – don’t be silly, one of those where you are asked to pay 20 euros at the entrance by a wannabe actor referring to you in a doubtful British accent. Together with me and my boyfriend, they entered these parents with their three daughters, the youngest being 3 and the oldest 8 spproximately. The two oldest siblings could do anything but screaming and crying, absolutely horrified by the whole live performances and installations inside the house, piercing their parents’ skins and ripping their clothes in grisps of desperation. The little daughter instead seemed absolutely fine, a soft expression of confusion transpassing from her eyes, as if she had just woke up. I have to admit that I had been quite impressed by some elements of the tour myself, let’s make the example of the one meter and a half magma/dinosaur figure popping out and screaming from a curtain in a pitch dark corridor, or the chamber in where remarkably realistic mutilied female bodies covered in blood were hung; tbh, I had been completely terrified by the whole experience, to put it bluntly. On the other side, (or my other half, ah) my boyfriend proved me once again to be the bravest human being to be living on this planet, as he lead the group in the utter dark while I kept myself attached to his back for the whole time, my eyes shut closed, and the family just behind me, moving tight together.
As me and my boyfriend were kindly refusing the pictures showing him wrapped by very familiar female arms, I found myself asking how could have things NOT have changed from when I was a kid myself. I have been used to go to amusement parks since young, and I kind of know that I am much more at peril when on a airplane 11000 meters from ground level rather than on a plastic 30 meters square building inhabited by actors. But what makes some fears disappear over time rather than others then? How could I grow out from my fear of flying and not from fake haunted houses? I know there are countless, heavily debated scientific dissertations on these matters that I definitely do not dare to put myself into – I am also writing from my phone on a train, imagine me chatting with a friend rather than embracing psychological questions. Moreover, while observing those photographs at the haunted house shop, I found my own answer: I never had to go alone in a haunted house – and wait, why on earth would anybody do that? – as I do with planes, but most importantly, I do have in this moment of my life someone willing to face any of the darkest corridors, dinosaur or badly paid actor for me, with me, and to be honest, this gives me all the excuses to just surrender in his lovely, beloved, protective arms.