Everyone has a phobia of something whether it is the dark, the water or the thunder and it is normal because we are human after all. We are not perfect and having something to fear is typical. However, I am ashamed of telling someone my phobia and whenever I find myself in a situation with my biggest nightmare, I try to conceal it. Like how it goes in Disney’s Frozen: “Conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know”, I bet you were singing this part.
Anyways, I try not to show my fear but deeply inside I want to crawl into a corner and stay far away from it. Maybe it is the sweat droplets forming on my forehead or my hands clutching tightly to a handle till my knuckles turn white or my nervous eyes wavering; I don’t know what but they always see through my mask and realize I´m afraid. I hate it. I really hate it when they know my weakness because that is when they scoff and glare at me.
This is why I want to let it all out in this post.
To all the people who think I´m afraid of animals especially dogs, I´m not disgusted by your dog because it is not. I simply am afraid of animals, there is not any reason. I don’t think I have to have a reason for my fear. In fact I love big cats but it is not in my hands that I´m having this constant mini heart attacks. I really try to fight against my fear and try not to go away from my spot even though I´m sweating a bucks and my heart is racing crazily.
Today, I had another encounter with a dog. Well, this time I couldn’t hold myself back to clear up the misunderstanding.
My mother and I went into a café and after ordering coffee I saw a dog with its owner behind me. I panicked and tried not to show it and wait on my spot calmly. This time again the owner who was a lady in her 50ies saw me panicking and said that I didn’t have to be concerned because her dog was clean. I was baffled because I wasn´t expecting her to realize my fear. I ignored her but my mother kept on saying I should tell her that I have a phobia and it is not because I think her dog is dirty.
And I did, I am really happy that I did.
The lady and I were engaged in a long conversation. To clear up the misunderstanding I told in front of the cashier and other people that I was afraid of all sorts of animals even birds, rabbits and horses. That response amused the cashier and she was giving me a smile, I didn´t know whether to feel relieved or ashamed. It was embarrassing confessing like that but it was no use because apparently the lady wouldn´t understand why I would be afraid of dogs. To her they were like her children and she loved them with all her heart but for me they were my biggest nightmare. As I saw that this conversation was going nowhere I told her it was okay if she couldn’t understand why I was fearing dogs and wished her a good afternoon.
I didn’t know if clearing up the misunderstanding was successful or not. At the end, we were two people with different thoughts and likes. At least I tried to express my feelings and I hoped I was tiny bit successful.
Or so I thought…
I guess the lady had thought about our conversation and something bothered her because before she left the café, she turned back and reached our table. The first thing that came out of her mouth was, if I was eating meat. Yes, she asked me if I was a meat lover. I was baffled not expecting that sort of question; it had nothing to do with what we talked about earlier. I was a little lost for a moment and replied with an unsure yes. That is what she wanted me to reply because the next thing she said was: “When you are disgusted by animals then why do you eat meat?”
The thing that bothered her and made her turn back to our table was because of this. If I said that I wasn´t a little bit annoyed it would be a lie. Honestly, inside I was getting annoyed by her attitude but tried not to show it and be respectful. I looked at her as if I heard her question wrong or something but she was looking at me with a glint in her eyes. As though she was saying “Gotcha”.
I breathed out a breath to calm myself and tried to explain myself again. Saying that I never told her that I find animals disgusting. I am simply afraid of them and disgust and fear are two different things. We looked at each other for a while neither saying a thing but this time I think I cleared up the misunderstanding because the lady smiled at me and nodded in apprehension. I smiled back and told her I was happy she understood me. We wished each other a good day and parted ways with lighthearted hearts.
After this event I thought about it and came to the conclusion that the real problem lies within me. Instead of just sitting far away or avoiding the dogs in public maybe I should try to explain myself and ask for consideration. Without me realizing I could be showing disgust instead of fear and that is why people don´t understand me and generalize us in a category.
From this small occasion I learned a lesson for myself. The first step to clear up a misunderstanding is for one party to explain themselves; maybe this is how we could solve a lot of problems in our life and get along with each other.