My Biggest Childhood Fear

My biggest childhood fear – falling. My biggest adulthood fear – falling.

But let me tell you how it all began.

When I grew up, we were very poor. As a young girl of three, I went to stay with my grandparents in Pennington. Believe it or not, though I was so small, I have some really happy memories from that time.

Now, you must understand: In those years there was no help for a parent with a blind child. So they had to try their own ways.

While staying with my grandparents, they tried to teach me to walk, which I refused to do, because I refused to let go of the wall. To show me that there is someplace other than the wall, they let me walk pushing a chair in front of me. Unfortunately, on one fine day I took a tumble, and pulled the chair over onto my tiny frame. Apparently, I refused to walk for a year thereafter.

Enough sad and sordid details. Now for some stories of how my fear of falling has coloured my life.

At school I was never a very sporty person at best, but put me into a situation where I have to face my fear, and watch me turn rigid. One of the activities we had to do during physical exercise classes was walk on a narrow bench. No way, I said. But with the teacher’s motivation, step by fearful step, I eventually walked the whole length of the bench. She really made me feel so proud when, after break-time, she announced in front of the whole primary school section how proud she was of me. Unfortunately, I disappointed us both when I was asked to do it again one day. “I can do this,” I thought; “I’ve done it before! Piece of cake) That was until I stood on the edge of the bench. The monster of fear leered at me, choking my throat and shaking my knees like twigs. (By the way, what colour is fear? The jealousy monster is green; the fear I felt when criminals held us up in our home was icy blue, like swimming in a mountain stream, but this fear isn’t quite the same.)

Anyway, another similar story was when during that class, we were asked to climb the obstacle course jungle gym. You climb up, hang on the pole, and let your hands go, dropping onto the soft grass. There were other such freak-me-outs, but I can’t remember them anymore. But the thing is: I did it. I survived the lot and proclaimed my victory to all the friends who cared. So one day me and one of those friends I blabbed to, were in that vicinity and decided to be monkeys. Unfortunately, when I felt the empty space, that fat-faced fear-monster dangled near my ear and laughed maniacally, causing me to hang my head in shame yet again.

One day I’ll kill the brutish beast. I’ll go bravely, and as he sticks out his tongue and opens his mouth, I’m going to murder him, and write his obituary. Wait and see.

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