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Fearlessly (or not) Turtling Along

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

The huge storms and tornado outbreak of March 2020 got me thinking about tornadoes and how when I am particularly stressed or worried about something I have a tendency to dream about tornadoes. Why? I have no idea. But there I’ll be in my dream watching tornadoes come at me from all directions. Sometimes out of a clear blue sky. Sometimes I’m on the ground down low and sometimes it seems like I’m up high on a hill, but no matter where I am in my dream I can always see them all coming at me no matter which way I look. Dozens of them. Sometimes in my dreams I can get away from them and sometimes I can’t. I usually wake up before one gets to me.

You would think, since my subconscious is apparently freaked right out about tornadoes - or envisions my troubles as tornadoes anyway, that in waking hours I’d be terrified of them. But, being the weird person that I am, there’s not a lot that really and truly scares me like that. Do I want to get caught in a tornado? Heck no. Am I the crazy person who’ll stand outside watching as long as possible if one is maybe coming? Yep. I get that from my dad, I think. I remember one year when I was a kid one came close to us. Mama made us kids get in the bathroom which was on the back wall of our half-underground house and was therefore very safe. Daddy? He stood outside watching. Probably taking pictures. I figure, if it’s my time to go, I’m going to go whether I hide in the bathroom or not. And, let’s face it, our house is on a hill and we have no basement - there’s not really a good place to go hide from one here. Our bathroom even has a window and we no longer have the behemoth cast iron tub. We literally have nowhere safe to go. So when I hear the dreaded words, “tornado watch or warning” I look up my handy Wizard of Oz graphic to remind me which one is which, and watch the sky if it’s daytime. If it’s night time I just go on to bed and say an extra prayer for safety. It would be easy to be scared to death, but it also wouldn’t do me or my kids a bit of good. So I don’t. I would probably make an excellent storm chaser, come to think of it.

I think... I am this way because I was not raised with fear. I mean, I wasn’t told not to be afraid of things, but my parents never gave in to fear mongering or a fear mindset that I remember. Well, except that Mama wouldn’t let me ride my bike down the road after a boy got killed on his bike a few roads over and a little girl got kidnapped. Those are valid fears for a mom to protect her kids against. When I was a kid you hardly ever heard of kids getting kidnapped or disappearing. Now…. well… it’s all the time.

Anyway, I was talking about not being raised with fear. When I was learning how to ride a bike I fell off. A lot. And it hurt. But I wasn’t allowed to give up and be afraid of my bike because I might get hurt. I kept trying until I got it. I very distinctly remember a giant brown recluse spider landing on my head when I was up too late one night reading some suspenseful book. I pulled it off my head (it was as big as my palm was then!), threw it against the wall, and took off down the hall and woke my poor mother up to tell her there was a giant spider in my room. She asked me if I’d killed it and when I told her, no, I threw it against the wall and ran, she told me, “Well, then it’s still in there.” I probably asked if I could sleep in their bed the rest of the night. I don’t remember.

I did have a fairly crippling case of arachnophobia after that for a lot of years. I’d see a spider and freeze. Then one day I decided that was dumb. I am 9000 times bigger than a danged spider. I can step on them and smash them. And the stupid jumping wolf spiders? I suck them up with the vacuum. Or use a broom. The vacuum works better. And then I let it spin them for a few minutes before I turn it off to make sure they’re good and dead. We just weren’t scared of a lot of things in my family when I was growing up. We’re very pragmatic people. Down to earth. Not easily ruffled. We just fearlessly (ok, not entirely fearlessly) turtle along and don’t let much hold us back.

Now, I will admit that I do worry about things, but I’m not as bad about that as I used to be. Sometime in the last few years I decided that worrying was a waste of energy because my worrying doesn’t solve the problem or make it any better. It just makes me worse. I do have anxiety, which I’m also working on and refuse to let beat me. You’re probably thinking that worry and fear are the same thing, but they’re not. Neither are anxiety and worry or anxiety and fear. There are some very nice articles out on the Interwebs that explain the differences. I'll delve into those differences on a later blog post.

My dreams of tornadoes are fewer and further between than they used to be. Lately when I do remember my dreams, they’re really weird and I wake up thinking, “Why in the world did I dream THAT?” I should write them down, but I usually forget them pretty fast after I wake up and I don’t function for a good 30 minutes after my alarm goes off. I literally sit there in the bed, yawning and trying not to disturb the cats who are all warmly snuggled up around my legs. I think I’ve been dreaming about Zumba because I wake up with Zumba music in my head. Now if that would just translate to knowing how to do the dances well! I’m still in baby giraffe mode. But that’s a different topic for another day.

Have a wonderful sleep and do not dream of tornadoes. I don’t advise it. It is unsettling at least. For more ramblings turtle on over and visit us in The OpalTurtle where you never know quite what will pop up.

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