Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Childhood trauma

Sometime in high school, I remember the joking phrase "I was traumatized by (fill in the blank) as a small child" popping up and becoming common. You know, something funny like "I don't do homework because I was traumatized by a textbook as a small child." Sure, we were kidding, but it's really very true that things like that do happen. I actually have two of those in my life. The first one is dogs. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not big on dogs. Now all you dog people, don't go getting your knickers in a twist. Dogs are fine, and once I get used to them, I'm usually okay. I am much better with small dogs than big ones. Why? Well, I was literally traumatized by a large dog when I was a child. I'm not sure how old I really was. 7 or 8, I think. We were visiting my cousins in Illinois, and they let in their dog Blitz (short for Blitzen, though blitzkrieg may have been more appropriate). At that age, I was not very big, and Blitz seemed HUGE! In truth, he was almost as tall as me, a massive black lab, IIRC. And he was soooooo excited by the new people in the house. I found him very scary, but he really didn't bother me much, so I was fine the rest of the day. Sometime in the middle of the night, I had to get up and go to the bathroom. The bathroom was directly across the hall from JJ's bedroom where I was sleeping, so no problem. I open the door, I take two steps out into the pitch black hallway, and then it happens. Blitz was guarding the hallway, sitting just outside the bathroom door, but in the darkness, I didn't see him. He must not have remembered me, and he barked, right in my ear. And I screamed bloody murder. You would have thought that The Hound of the Baskervilles was attacking me. It woke up the *entire* house, and I was just terrified of him from that point on. Since then, large and/or excited dogs still strike fear into me. Once I get used to them, I'm okay, and little dogs are fine! LOL But it's still there, niggling around in the back of my mind, and I am never fully comfortable around large dogs, particularly black ones.

I was reminded of my other childhood trauma on my way into work this morning. I passed a billboard for the circus. I don't do circuses. Why? No, I was not traumatized by clown as a small child. In fact, the reality is much worse. We were at the circus, where a woman was suspended above the center ring by her hair, and she did various tricks mainly involving spinning [geek] angular momentum at work [/geek]. There was no net, but she was secured into this little hat thing, so no problem. Until I watched her fall to the ground from what seemed like 100 feet up (probably only 30-40, but still). She didn't die, but I think she broke her back. I don't know her name or what ever became of her, and I do still have fond memories of Gunther Gable Williams and his white tigers, but I will never again go to the circus. I still associate it with that memory, and just the thought of it starts that fluttery nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. But the ultimate irony? I love Cirque du Soleil. Which is nothing but a bunch of acrobats doing stunts. Granted, they're usually wired or have nets, and that's not to say that it's still not dangerous, but I can watch them with no problems. How that is different than being at Ringling Brothers, I'm not sure, but as far as I am concerned, they are *vastly* different. Funny how the mind works, isn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment

My apologies for not allowing comments from Anonymous users. I was getting way too much spam. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!