A Lonely Fear

December 13, 2007
Everyone is afraid of one thing or another. That one thing may be a healthy fear, and it may not be. Whether it is a fear of heights, a fear of spiders, or even the fear of cotton balls, somebody somewhere has a fear of something. Well, my fear is borderline paranoia. I have a fear of being left alone, anywhere alone. I can’t even stay home by myself for more than ten minutes. And it’s all because of an event that happened twelve years ago.

My older sisters were dancers, and I danced with the younger level children, but I wasn’t old enough to compete (you had to be at least six). But being the supportive sister that I am, plus the fact that my parents forced me, I was at every single dance competition that they competed in. It was the same routine over and over again: We would arrive at the location of the competition at the crack of dawn, and then my parents and I would go sit down and I would always sit a row ahead of them. And we would sit there for hours and hours, take a lunch break, and resume sitting for more hours and hours. Finally, after the “sitting game”, which is what my dad always called it, we would all check into a hotel and do the exact same routine for the entire weekend. I really did not have a problem with it, after all, I was four years old. I actually enjoyed sitting a row ahead of my parents, because then I could pretend that I was pre-teen. Of course, that was until that devastating day happened.

It was another competition, the usual. No problem. I chose to sit a row ahead of my parents as always, but I was actually very tired this competition. I had spent the night with my best friend the night before, and I hadn’t had my nap for that day yet. So I fell asleep in the chair and thought nothing of it, except the fact that now my secret of not being a pre-teen was obvious. I’m not really sure when I woke up, all I know is that it was significantly darker and the judges were about to take a lunch break. I looked behind me, but much to my surprise, my parents were no where in sight. I concluded that they had simply gone to a vending machine to get me some sort of candy; after about twenty minutes, I realized this wasn’t the case. So I stood up and ran out of the room and down the hallway screaming and running like the Furies were after me. I had this sick feeling in my stomach, and my legs felt like jelly. Next thing I knew, I face planted right into the plump belly of a police officer. I don’t remember what he was like, because I was too busy crying hysterically. I do remember though that he made an announcement over the whole vicinity announcing my name, age, gender, and my appearance. About two minutes later my mom and dad came running down the hall yelling my name and crying. Apparently they thought that I had left the room earlier because they couldn’t see me in my chair (I must have been slumped over). I was so relieved that my parents hadn’t forgotten me, yet it was still one the scariest moments of my life.

Being left alone scares me so much. It’s just the feeling of not knowing where someone is and not knowing what to do if something happens or goes wrong. When I woke up that day to find my parents gone, the first thing that popped into my head was that I was officially an orphan who’s parents had left her. Even though that’s not the case, that thought still sinks in every time I’m left alone. I hope one day to conquer that fear, and I am actively working on it. It’s funny how a childhood experience could have such a major influence in my life.

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