"OH. MY. GOD. Court, have you looked outside!? It's POURING! Do we need the storm shutters? Did Hurricane season come early? Are we safe? Is it flooding? Do we need a lifeboat? Is the sky ACTUALLY falling on us!?"
While many of my mom's fears are completely irrational, it made me assess my own fears. In life, I can safely say that I have two, insanely paralyzing, intense, want-to-throw-up-whatever-is-in-my-stomach fears. This first lovely category is comprised of CLOWNS. Well, clowns, dolls, puppets...anything that has its face creepily painted or have eyes that look like they can follow you.
I like to pride myself on the fact that I can handle most scary movies and not even flinch. I can watch every Saw movie and not bat an eyelash. I can watch the characters get their heads chopped off, limbs pulled apart, even the dismemberment scenes, unphased. However, the only scene I CAN'T watch is whenever that creepy little puppet comes out to tell the selfish protagonists their fate. I have to cover my eyes and lock my door. To this day I cannot figure out my irrational fear of the pint-size psychos. Maybe it's their sheer stature (or lack thereof) that scares me---you would apprehend a killer that would attack you at eye-level. But would you really anticipate a mini-assassin coming at you? Much like a rabid Oompa-Loompa? (For the record, the Wizard of Oz gave me nightmares).
Can you honestly tell me that a man with a stocking over his face is scarier than this little monster? Both small AND a clown. A double threat in my book.
Maybe this fear stemmed from when I was 2 and my mom dressed me up as the wicked witch of the west. I already looked like a little boy until I was at least 5, so making me look "scary" was not a far stretch. I had green paint all over my face, a black dress and a little witch hat. After my mom had applied all the makeup, I looked in the mirror to take a look at my very first Halloween costume.
...and immediately began hysterically crying. I had actually scared MYSELF. However, there is one similarity (hopefully just one) between me and the terrifying tiny circus performer: we were both VERY SCARY and VERY SMALL. I've tried to put my psychology degree to some kind of use and psychoanalyze that fear, and that's all I came up with. Unless I've repressed a memory where I was assaulted at the Barnum & Bailey circus, that's all I've got.
Enough about the clowns, on to my second fear: public speaking. I cannot think of anything more terrifying than giving a presentation in front of a group of people. (Unless this group of people happened to be clowns, or puppets. I can't even imagine.)
Welcome to my own, personal hell.
Along with the initial fear of speaking in front of a group of people, I also become afflicted with a disease I have coined "The Helium Race Car Effect." When this affliction descends upon me, my heart races, my mouth dries up, and not only do I speak faster than an Auctioneer, I sound as though I could be a close relative of Alvin and the Chipmunks. I try to speak slowly and with purpose, but I end up only thinking of getting to the end of my shpeel, and so I ramble quickly and also at a pitch that could come close to breaking glass.
Much to my dismay, it has come to my attention that the helium race car effect is not limited to speeches, announcements, or presentations alone. No no, this disease has invaded my every day diction. My cousin Ashley will almost pee her pants when I open my mouth and order food in a restaurant or bar, because she catches it every time. While my audience is only the (now confused) waitress and Ash, my voice still gets exponentially higher.