Archive for the ‘scary’ Tag


Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

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Today’s twist was to write in a different style (not different voice) than my usual style. I can’t muster the energy to try that. Instead, I’ll attempt to make my post about fear less heavy and ominous than the topic portends. 
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I’m sure that my cavalier use of the term ‘phobic’ will irritate any clinicians who might see this, because it’s likely an imprecise application of the term. But its broader vernacular usage is what I’m going for: the general condition of having at least one irrational fear. By that definition, I surely am phobic. I definitely have at least one irrational fear. 
Indeed, I have several. Dogs, falling from heights, tight spaces, spiders, public humiliation, and clowns top the list. 
I’m aware that these fears are not based in reality in most circumstances. I know that if I am cautious, dogs, spiders, tight spaces and high places don’t present a present danger to my safety. And occasions that present real risk for true public humiliation are, thankfully, rare. Intellectually, I get it and can bring some degree of control when confronting these fears. 
But that last one…not so much. 
Clowns are just not susceptible to rationalization and reasoned consideration. Sorry to the millions of performing artists in this genre, but I have no ability to appreciate your art and am incapable of refraining from lumping you all into the category of Hell’s Minions To Be Avoided At All Costs. 
Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. Naming my irrationality diminishes none of its impacts on my psyche. That it has a shmancy. Latin-rooted, scientific label only bolsters my conviction that there is really something to dread about the creepy, gaudy-makeup-wearing, potentially murderous, demon spawn. After all, no one would go to the trouble of naming a thing that wasn’t real, right? Right? Yes. 

My fear of clowns started when I was very young, about 3 or 4, I think. I remember going to the circus with my family. It was a common prize for good grades in our school district. Tickets were included in the report card envelope. I’m sure that my older siblings had earned the treat and my mom decided to take me with them to see the show. The animals were fascinating, the trapeze and tightrope acts thrilling, and the spectacle of it all just enthralling. That is, until the clowns came out. 

From the first one in the ring, riding a ridiculously small tricycle and wearing alarmingly clashing, over-sized clothes and truly horrific makeup, I was frantic. Because I didn’t fully comprehend that it was a costume and makeup, my young brain could not make sense of the vision that clown, all of the clowns, represented. They seemed to me nothing at all like the clowns I had seen on TV. There was was nothing comical, to me, in their appearance. Rather, they seemed to be these other-worldly entities with horribly exaggerated faces and strange hair on bizarrely huge heads. The plastic, unreal clothing, shoes and accessories just made the impression worse and harder for my brain to reconcile these things with what I understood people to be. 

Clamoring onto my mother’s lap, clinging to her with a death-grip and screeching at the top of my piercing voice, I made it clear to everyone in that tent, likely to everyone in that town, that I was not a fan of these clowns. 

I don’t remember all that happened after that, but I remember my mother moving faster that day than ever in my life to get me out of there. 

From that moment, clowns have been on my “no thank you” list. We had a paper mâché clown piñata as part of our Christmas decorations for my entire childhood. Not once did I play with it, ask to put it out with the other things, or beg to have the candy out of it. I hated that thing so much. I would turn it (using my feet, are you crazy!? I’d never touch it!) to face the wall every chance I got. It drove my mom nuts! 

Someone gave me a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist dummy doll for Christmas one year. It had a clown-like face and freaked me out so badly! But I was older by this point and expected to say thank you and take care of it as a prized gift. I stuffed the thing in a pillowcase and threw it as far into the cupboard above my closet as I could get it. Every year when my mom did spring cleaning, she’d drag that evil thing down and ask why he was up there all alone in the dark. She’d straighten his jacket and place him carefully on my bed with the other stuffed toys and tell me to treat him nice. Heck no! Before the day was out he was back in solitary. There was no way on earth that I was sleeping with that demon killer on the loose!

Every clown-based horror flick is, I’m convinced, a true-crime documentary. I just know that one of these days science will prove a causal link between childhood clown-exposure and all manner of dementia and psychopathy. 
Nope, to me, there is every reason to loathe and despise clowns and exactly zero reasons to like them or, heaven forbid, invite them (as guests or decoration) into your home. 
Ok, now I have to go schedule some electroshock therapy or something, to get rid of this epic case of the creeps that writing this post has given me. Sheesh!

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