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30 Day Blog Challenge — Day Thirteen

April 13, 2015

beautiful_staircase

What Am I Afraid Of

I have two great fears. One is of heights. The other is of downward stairs. I believe the two are related. When I was four or five (maybe even younger as my memories of this event are nil and I rely solely on my mother’s retelling), I fell down a long set of wooden stairs and cracked my skull on the cement step at the end.

The sensation of falling is incredibly scary for me. I get a tingling in the bottom of my feet, a queasiness in my stomach and yes, the panic that I will indeed fall. Going down stairs or even a downward escalator is a harrying experience. I must often brave myself at the top of the stairs before descending. I repeat over and over again in my head that I will not fall. Once I begin the descent, my knees shake, my palms sweat and my breathing becomes hurried.

Similar sensations occur whenever I look down on something from a great height, which is rare for me these days. I will do all in my power NOT to look down. I try not to put myself into those situations.

The following is a poem I wrote many years ago as therapy for my fear of stairs:

Spiraling Down

Downward,
ever spiraling
down
down
These stairs stretch on
forever

My legs quiver as I,
in anxiety-ridden determination,
force myself down
my palms sweat
heart pounding

down down
spiraling
down

I grasp the railing
knuckles white as I
take another step
down

Another landing,
but more stairs to go
bravely moving forward
downward
beads of sweat drip
into my eyes
I press on

down down
spiraling
down

The last step appears
not cement like the one
from so long ago,
the one that cracked
cracked
cracked my skull,
leaving me terrified
of downward
stairs

©2011, Lori Carlson

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5 Comments
  1. I have that fear of heights. I don’t like being on the second level of malls. I can handle bridges. I feel like I will fall. I have a fear of the water too since I can’t swim. I have other fears too,

    • Having a fear of heights is a horrid thing. My worst is downward stairs. My feet tingle and I get a sick feeling in my stomach. My feet feel like lead as I descend. I shake and sweat. Horrid! I only have a few real fears.. sorry that you fear water, but I do understand if you cannot swim.

      • yea I hate fears but everyone has them. It’s only human but they still suck!

  2. Elle permalink

    Excellent expression of trauma in poem Lori. I love how you let your readers in.

    • Thanks Elle… I am a very private person in life, but through my poetry, I bare it all. I appreciate your comments.. thank you 🙂

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