As a young child I was terrified by any sort of flying insect that could possibly sting me. If I saw a wasp or a bee or a hornet buzzing within 10 feet of my personal bubble, I would fly into a flailing terror, shrieking and running amok. My parents would roll their eyes and yet again, admonish me and tell me to just calm down already. I was stung once in the armpit and I vaguely recall screaming like a banshee and doing my best unintentional imitation of a lunatic on acid thrashing in a mosh pit.
These insects terrified me. They evoked a deep sense of panic I could never control.
Once, when I was a teenager, my mom and I were out in the backyard on a hot summer’s day. I was laying on a blanket, tanning. I was on my stomach and had my bikini top untied to tan my back sans lines. I was reading my book as my mom talked to our neighbour, when something buzzed around my head. I flicked my hair back and YOU GUYS…. whatever it was became trapped under my ponytail! I could hear it AND FEEL IT frantically buzzing around and right then and there, my panic knew no modesty. I jumped up screaming, waving my arms and running in mad circles, while my bikini top stayed on the blanket and my horrified neighbour did his best to look the other way. My mom was hysterics, laughing at my idiotic antics.
I tried to stay calm. I really did. My now-husband-then-boyfriend and I were visiting his parents one day. He knew all-too-well about my paranoia of all manner of buzzy/stingy/stripey insects by then. As I drove down the long sloping driveway to his parents’ house, a wasp flew in the car and obviously made it his personal vendetta to fuck with my head and hovered around the steering wheel, where my hands gripped in terror. Dan said calmly to me: “Stop the car. Don’t panic. Just open the door and get out.”
And so I did. I stopped the car. I opened the door. I got out of the car, relieved at avoiding being terrorized anymore. And there went my car, still in drive, down the driveway with Dan in the passenger seat, madly trying to get his legs over the console to the brake pedal before my little Ford Tempo smashed into the barn.
That’s when I knew I had a problem.
I have gotten remarkably better over the last couple of decades. I am now at the point where I can honestly say they don’t bother me. I’ve been to bee farms, I’ve knocked down wasp nests. I’ve been stung multiple times. Maybe it was motherhood. Maybe it was the realization that even if I’m stung, it isn’t that bad. Maybe the knowledge that these little critters are so very important to our ecosystems. Whatever it was, I’m definitely over my inane fear of insects. In fact, I’ve learned that I love bugs.
Except for millipedes. But let’s face…. Those assholes are just horrifying.