We didn’t want everyone’s everyday fears, we thought we’d ask our members at Her Campus at Geneseo for their most irrational fears. Here’s what they said.
Whenever I feel even vaguely ill I always fear dying in my sleep. While people die in their sleep all the time, they’re generally much older and afflicted with something more than a cold. Sometimes I even think to myself before I turn the lights out ‘do I look decent enough to have my body found like this? Do I really want that YouTube video to be the last I ever see?’ As a child, I used to be terrified that the world would end in the middle of the night. I thought that maybe an asteroid would hit, or the world would simply explode or something and I’d never get to say goodbye to my friends and family. I suppose I’m just really scared of dying an enigma, or without all my loose ends tied up. I actually lay out a plan every few months for one of my best friends to carry out if I die suddenly. It’s not much, I just tell her the things I’ve always wanted to tell people but haven’t and tell her to pass along the message, and tell her to remind some people that I live them. Is this morbid? Extremely. It just helps me rest assured that people will remember me accurately.
My biggest fear is accidental plagiarism. It’s not just accidentally stealing a line or two. For some reason, I fear copying an entire piece of work without knowledge and getting arrested for it. I know I wouldn’t even get arrested for plagiarism, but there could be lawsuits, etc. In high school, I would use a website called Turnitin and my essay would come back with like 20 percent of it plagiarized; however, all of it was always basic information everyone would know or direct quotes I cited. Still, seeing those numbers always made my stomach sink. Hopefully, this never actually happens to me, especially since I write for so many different mediums.
Escalators. On a more serious note, getting deathly sick from everyday encounters. In middle school, I used to be terrified of catching a deadly disease just from sitting on a chair or just walking about the hallways. I used up antibacterial gels so fast I’d have to buy new ones every week. In addition to this fear, I was petrified that I would randomly be injected with some fatal illness on the street. Whenever I went outside, any time I felt something sharp on my arm I would panic. Eventually, I got diagnosed with anxiety and OCD, and suddenly, all my paranoia made sense.
Growing up, my father instilled upon me a crippling irrational fear of escalators. He used to tell me that if I didn’t step off the escalator in time, I would get sucked underneath the escalator and die and become one with the escalator stairs. For years and years after that, I was always nervous on escalators and would jump far lengths to get off far earlier than one needed to. In fact, one time when I was in high school I had a panic attack on an escalator in a Barnes and Noble.
Escalators, escalators, so many complaints about escalators. I’ve never been so worried about escalators, for me all the fear lies in their demonic cousin the elevator. An elevator is a box with a hungry, automated mouth that people cram themselves into like sardines as ropes pull the box around. The idea of that is pure insanity. What if the ropes all snap? I’ve been told that with modern elevators that could not happen, but consider this: what if it did, though? What if a cartoon villain with a twirly mustache simply cut all of the elevator wires? The fact that we’ve created amusement park rides to simulate the sensation of this happening boggles my mind more than flat earthism. Why, in our infinite hubris, are we content to spit in the face of fate/god/gods/reason? This is not even beginning to touch on all the other, “smaller” things an elevator could do to destroy my life. What if the door closes while my arm or leg is still outside, and I either break or lose that limb entirely? What about if an elevator simply stopped between two floors and I had to rely on my feeble arms lift me out of that coffin on pulleys? When I was in middle school I volunteered to carry the bag and instrument of a girl who had broken her leg to our orchestra class along with my own. Every day we clambered into the most rickety, old elevator possible and simply hoped that luck would keep us aloft. I escaped that trial unscathed but it haunts me still.
I’m afraid of lifting my wrists above my head because I am convinced that a stray arrow will find itself through them, connecting them together while I scream and flail. My past life as a warrior has come back to haunt me.
My super specific irrational fear stems from two compounded experences, both of which have to do with high school biology teachers. One high school biology teacher me and my classmates not to chew gum in her class. Her rationale was that stray formaldahyde (a preservation agent) vapors hang around the lab due to animal dissections. She then told us that someone she knew was chewing gum while in a dissection lab and her gum started to taste like formaldahyde. I don’t know if you’ve ever smelled formaldyde, but if you haven’t, you don’t want to. Moreover, another absolutely batty biology teacher once told us that when you flush the toilet, germs get shot into the air. He claimed that he didn’t leave his toothbrush out on the bathroon counter for this reason. Well, my brain decided that both of these things are not only terrible seperately, but even more terrifying when combined. I am afraid of chewing gum in a bathroom. I think that if I chew gum and then walk into a bathroom that my gum will absorb all of the gross germs from the air and then they will all just be chilling in my mouth. I love to chew gum so this really gets in the way when I start a new peice and then realize that I need to go to the bathroom. I’m not even convinced that either of the “facts” that my teachers shared with me are even true. And yet they still haunt me.
Being afraid of escalators must be more common than we thought. What are your irrational fears?