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30 Day Blog Challenge — Day Thirteen

April 13, 2015


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

ever spiraling
These stairs stretch on

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

down down

I grasp the railing
knuckles white as I
take another step

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

down down

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

©2011, Lori Carlson

  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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