A Phobia In The Making

October 12, 2007

My boyfriend loves to fish. It’s his favorite activity – one that is also therapeutic and calming for him. When we started dating and I found this out I only hesitated for a minute, because I really don’t like the smell, taste, or feel of fish. A few times when I was a camp counselor I had to take some fish off the hook for my campers, and it wasn’t pleasant. But I knew that fishing was an important part of Boyfriend David’s life, and I’m always up for new things, so I told him from the beginning that I wanted him to teach me. When he got a boat and started spending more and more time fishing with his dad, I knew for sure that this was an activity that I wanted to share with him.

The first time we went was at the lake by his aunt and uncle’s house where we fished for bass and catfish. This was fine with me because the bait we used was artificial lures and cut up raw chicken meat, which I could handle.

Yesterday we decided to drive down to the pier for the evening and fish for some trout and redfish. Saltwater fishing is what David really loves. It was a perfect day, and we were intent on enjoying ourselves. I was also intent on becoming a real fisherwoman. I knew that we were going to be using live shrimp as bait, and I wanted to face up to that fact. I didn’t want David to have to bait my hook forever. I had my mind set on doing it myself.

Now let me tell you what I think about shrimp really quick. First of all, I refuse to eat them because I don’t like the idea of putting an entire organism in my mouth. Secondly, they have those EYES. That just BULGE out of the side of their head. And those creepy crawly legs. And they’re TRANSLUCENT. I get the shivers just thinking about it.

I’ve never been the kind of girl to be really afraid of insects or snakes or anything like that. Granted, I don’t like roaches much, but I can get close enough to kill one which is something a lot of girls won’t do. I pride myself on being able to overcome fear and do what I put my mind to. And I was GOING to bait my own hook.

I let David show me how on the first one, and then it was a long time before I got a bite, but finally my turn came. I was scared, yet determined. I knew the shrimp couldn’t actually DO anything to me, so I stuck my hand in the water. But the second I felt those shrimp thrashing and their little legs against my fingers, my heart began to pound and I felt an overwhelming, irrational fear. Three times I thrust my hand in the bucket trying to grasp a shrimp, each time more desperate than the last. After the third attempt, feeling like I had been thoroughly beaten, I gave up and with my whole body shaking said to David, “I just can’t.” And then what did I do? I cried.

Not because of the shrimp per se, but because I felt so out of control and…silly to not be able to overcome a stupid little fear. I didn’t understand why it was so hard for me. For awhile I was kind of depressed and didn’t want to see another shrimp, but I knew that I really needed to try again. So right before we left and after about five minutes of coaxing from David, I crouched down, held tight to his leg, and put my hand back in the bucket. I somehow brought out this tiny, dead shrimplet–then immediately gave it to David. I know it’s not much, but it was a serious victory for me.

And I thought it was going to be the fish that were the problem.

Posted in: personal, me

Comments on A Phobia In The Making

  1. 1

    From Erica:

    I’m so proud! Hey, if you’re around you should stop by for a massage next weekend! I’m not sure whether I’ll make it to the game and festivities…it depends on my schedule that day….but….if you are free head on over! (382-2998)

  2. 2

    From Megan:

    a) Peter refuses to eat shrimp for that exact same reason!
    b) This reminds me of that Gilmore Girls when Lorelai pretends to know how to fish so she could go on a date with that Alex guy. And Luke teaches her how to fish with the kiddie pool and the trout.
    c) I have no life.

  3. 3

    From Jen:

    I remember the first time I baited a hook with a worm. I about threw up, and no matter how hard I try not to I always wind up feeling sorry for the stupid worm. I still can’t get a fish off of the hook.

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