Friday, June 25, 2004

A mid-sized jumping spider has taken up residence in my truck. Historically (and perhaps puzzlingly), I've not been much afraid of jumping spiders. There is the horror element of their jumping, yes, but their build is rather unspiderlike, and they're not . . . how to put it - skittery? They don't dart, rear up, etc. So: I've decided to put this guy to work. As a therapy aid: I will befriend him, become completely inured to him, and in this way I may be able to extend my non-fear to other, skitterier spiders. To this end, I've named him Mel. (Pop psychology holds that "naming" one's fears is helpful, a tenet I've decided to take literally.) It's going well so far. He pops in and out of vents, peering at me, and I sigh indulgently and say "Morning, Mel." I've even tried to pick him up, but he leaps away, saucily, jauntily. That funny Mel! All of these advances are heartening. And I know that I'm a habitual about-facer, capable of startling and abrupt 180s. It's not inconceivable that I could become a spider *lover*, for god's sake, so prone to dramatic reversals am I. Yet a different fear now skulks: what happens if I'm a dazzling success in this, and I become merely as arachnophobic as the average person, as opposed to being half-crippled by it? I'm starting to realize that part of my identity (yes, I realize how absurd and faintly humiliating this is) is bound up in spider-terror. This spider business has become, oh it's so depressing, part of me. Will I even recognize a new, untormented-by-arachnids Jennifer?


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