The Recluse

PC: Ravenari/Deviant Art 

Boo Radley. Harper Lee. Spiders. I have a reclusive nature that can only be explained as arachnid tendencies. I prefer to observe rather than engage initially. I have a lot to say so I weave it into my weblog. I craft, careful to catch beautiful little gifts that I can liquefy and drink to sustain myself. In spider years I will only live to be two. If one spider year is thirty-five human years, then I'm almost halfway through the average human life expectancy. Spiders like writers, see everything that lands near them as potential material to be spun into a new re-creation. At best, they tolerate others, but really they just want to hang out in the shadows. They are non-threatening until threatened. They are quiet and sensitive to vibrations around them. I crawl and I hide and I practice "catching things and eating their insides" (Blink-182). 

What am I even talking about? Well it's kind of a long story. For a long time I was once completely arachnophobic. Arachnophobic to the point of complete and utter terror at even seeing images of spiders. I can tell you exactly at what point that happened. I was at my dad's house for the weekend, eight years old watching the movie "Arachnophobia" at night. I had seen the movie before without any exceptional reaction several times before. But for some reason, I recall the scene towards the end when a whole army of full grown spiders are crawling upon every surface of a house - that moment just locked something up in my brain.

After that I got the creepy crawlies thinking about anything with eight skinny legs, even something that resembled a spider - flies, millipedes, tangled lengths of thread. And after that it seemed like I attracted the creatures that petrified me. I can recall in detail every time I encountered a spider that was way too close to comfort or that I had to kill because it required so much courage. Twice in my life I have found a spider lowering itself on its thread so close to my face that it was blurry in my line of vision since it was just a few inches away. Both times I tossed my chair back. Once it happened at work and I jumped over my desk in a panic/embarrassing display to all my coworkers. That was last year.

I would become shaky and panicky after I saw one. Any little sensation reminded me that it could be an arachnid crawling on me and my hands would automatically jerk towards batting off phantom spiders crawling over me. I would run my hands from the top of my head down to make sure when my hair moved it was just my hair moving and not a spider crawling in there. I used to routinely bang my car doors and move things around like the mat and the visor and roll my windows up and down before I drove off to work every day since I had found a spider in my car twice before and I was scared I was going to freak out and run myself off the road if another one surprised me. So yeah, my fear was truly a phobia. I'm telling you something went wrong in my brain and began to believe they were the ultimate threat.

I began trying meditation a year ago. I sucked at it for a very long time. Until a few months ago. My words will never be able to convey the magic I felt the first time I was able to actually, really, for real meditate after seven months of trying. In February of this year, I learned to get over my deep, intense arachnophobia. Seriously I used to be wrecked inside whenever I found a spider in my house. It took all the guts I had to kill it and only because I knew I couldn't let it live if I ever wanted to shut my eyes at home again. But you see, a spider is my spirit animal. Saying it out loud makes it feel so odd, but when I think of her, it feels like a little bit of magic. I get her and she is trying to tell me to use all eight of my (metaphorical) legs to create. So to decipher why a spider is my animal guide, I had to look up and learn about spiders. I'm not especially technical but I found out how to set my browser to search whilst masking any images on the page. That's how badly I didn't want to see images of spiders. I read the entire Wikipedia article and learned that most of them have hydraulic legs, in a majority of species the females are larger and stronger than the males, and many of them have evolved with a specialized intelligence of their environment that keeps them alive. They mostly liquify their food whether before ingestion or while digesting. 

I mean what brilliance in nature caused them to create webs to catch their food? Really they are kind of beautiful creatures (maybe not physically) but their place in nature is really kind of graceful. I think it freaks me out that we can't really see their faces, but they live with awareness of the environment around them. So I've come to learn to respect what the spider represents. No, I don't want to find one on me, but my phobia is not anywhere near as irrational as it used to be. 

I get them now and once I started to pay attention I understood how analyzing the real spider transforms into a kind of symbolism that I can relate to. Again, my words can never really explain how this thread in my psyche came unravelled but now that I have it, can I weave it into something?

This isn't the best writing by any means. But I know now what I need to do. And it's as terrifying to me as spiders once were. I need to use my little spinnerets and start writing. It's awful, it really is. To self-reveal without my frail little jokes is just like shedding my exoskeleton like some spiders do and realizing I have no protection. I am not psychicly prepared for this, but into the ice water I go.