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I’ve known many people who have been afraid of some weird stuff. For instance, after encountering a small ladybug on her leg, a lady friend of mine (and I am not making this up) screamed and cursed profusely, sprinted off into a wild direction, all without actually physically removing the bug from her leg.
When I inquired her later on why she freaked out she simply replied, “Because they are gross, duh”. I’m almost positive that if the ladybug had seen her in middle school the day she tried to put on makeup without a mirror it would have said the same thing, after flying away quickly. What could she have possibly been afraid of? That the tiny, inch-wide bug was going to mug her for money? Perhaps it was planning on asking her on a date and was just trying to find the quickest way to get her attention?
Why are some people, mostly women, terrified of little creatures no bigger than their fingernail? My fear of dolls is completely legitimate of course. Growing up, my sister always had a thing for collecting dolls. Whether it was black, white, yellow, or even polka-dotted she had to have them. And I’m not just talking about a little tiny cotton doll. No, these were the real thing. The ones who you could dress up in elaborate nonsensical outfits and whose eyes could open or close depending on which way the doll was angled. Whoever invented these things should be tarred and feathered.
All of the dolls she owned were in her room in various places: on top of bookshelves, under beds, hiding in closets waiting to attack. I did not mind these tiny people at first, I thought of them only as decoration. The hatred would come at a later point. The event that first triggered my bad feelings towards them happened at the age of four. My sister and I’s rooms used to be right next to eachother, with nothing on the doors to distinguish one from the other.
On a late night trip back from the bathroom, I stumbled sleepily into what I thought was my bedroom. I plopped myself into my “bed” and immediately noticed something was not right in my world. By my head were not my usual assortment of stuffed animal tigers and bears. Instead, as I ran my hands along my surroundings, I felt a tiny face near my head. I jumped up and realized I was surrounded by tons of tiny people all over the place.
The memory is a little fuzzy now but at the time I seemed to have thought every doll’s eyes were open and looking straight at me, chanting in some foreign language. The night ended with me sprinting into my mother’s room in tears, fearful for my life. According to my mother the story I relayed to her involved an army of dolls attempting to nail me to a cross on fire but I’m pretty sure that did not happen, though I’m not entirely convinced.
My fear of the little devils only grew worse as the years passed by and similar traumatic events, one involving a birthday card full of pictures of doll heads and a cake turned over in anger, seemed to occur in an increasing rate. It did not help that my sister seemed to enjoy the suffering she was putting me through (probably revenge for all the times I threw up on her My Little Ponies).
Then there was the day where I woke up and decided I had had enough. No longer was I going to live fearful of dolls and their mysterious ways. I think I had recently watched the Rebels take on the Death Star in one of my favorite movies of all time, Star Wars of course, on VHS which got me pretty fired up. I gathered round my closest allies (all my stuffed animals and my two year old next door neighbor Brian) and prepared for war. I armed myself with a plastic sword from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disney World and one of those fake shotguns which made the noise but, sadly, did no damage. I made sure each of my animals had various kitchen cutleries and gave Brian my precious mini-light saber. We were ready to do battle.
After a last minute adjustment of my bicycle helmet and cape, I charged my sister’s room yelling like a Wildman. The dolls were ready for me as they began to crawl out from their various hiding places, brandishing swords and pistols, snarling like beasts. As I saw the number of enemies I was facing rise I also realized my army was no where to be found. I did, however, notice Brian was sitting in the corner inserting the tip of my prized light saber into his nostril. “Darn it Brian, we are fighting a war here!” I screamed as I slashed off the nearest foe’s plastic head.
I was Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, slaying enemies left and right. But the rush kept coming and Brian had decided he had had enough of this and crawled off to go find another one of my possessions to put into his nose. But these hordes were no match for the King of Tag and after 15 minutes of warfare the battle was over, the day was won. I stood proudly among my fallen adversaries with my head up and my chest held high. Then I wandered off to grab a juice box and some goldfish because the fight took a lot out of me.
It was not until later that day my sister discovered most of her doll collection in pieces all over her room and proclaimed she was going to crush me face. But, as I hid inside my toy box, I smiled because I knew that I had saved the world, and she would understand that eventually.