As I am a writer, so am I also a human being.
Belonging to the Homo sapiens species, I am delighted to say that human beings have come a long way, and evolved with much pomp and gusto. Physical appearances have become more refined (uhhh…sort of) while mental capacities have increased (ummm…sure)
But along with becoming more capable, the human mind has also become more complicated. It’s actually gotten a mind of its own. Life’s complexities and absurdities have taken a toll on mankind, or shall we say that mankind has managed to wrap itself in a web of difficulties.
Anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsions, mood swings are just a few of the many problems affecting the human psyche. I’ve grown up struggling with different conditions at different points in my life. And yes, I have managed to deal with them, and tame them so that they no longer control me mindlessly.
Yet along with this, I also developed certain phobias which although unexplained have become an integral part of my personality.
Now what does this have to do with my role as a writer?
Well…the writer in me isn’t spared from bearing the burden of these irrational fears and dislikes. However, no matter how silly or inappropriate they may seem, my phobias have played an integral role in my writing journey. I can even say that I am a more grounded person and writer because of them today.
Let’s take a look at some of my fears!
Now since I’m not a person of the masses (in a very literal sense), I definitely cringe at the thought of being amongst large crowds, or finding myself in places where people are abundantly packed. Taking into consideration this fact, I’ve many times ended up staying at home, or hanging out at places that are quieter and thought invoking.
Has this been the reason behind my being able to collect my thoughts and propel them towards the land of imagination? Have I been able to set the creative juices pumping because of the large periods of internal introspection?
I’d say it has helped me dwell on the necessary, and analyze life and its various parameters. My writings have taken birth from the womb of isolation.
I’m a boring person with a dull outlook towards life. No, I’m not being hard on myself, I’m just being honest. I’m satisfied with who I am, how I look, what I wear, what I eat, and where I live. I’m not looking for excitement, and I’m definitely not looking for new ways to make my life more happening. New things make me uncomfortable, and anything unfamiliar seems like an unnecessary intrusion.
As a writer I’ve found that being comfortable in my own shoes, and not always looking for newness to rejuvenate myself has kept me grounded. It has given me a chance to explore my intrinsic capabilities, and has made me reflect upon a world that exists not around me, but inside my mind. I look for excitement in my writings, and strive to be original when I write.
I know that I never had this phobia as a child, because I loved playing in the snow for hours. This probably developed somewhere in my adulthood, when I correlated my depression with the coldness of winter, short days, gray skies, and that eerie chill that numbs your body and mind.
So winter is a time for me to enter writer hibernation. I wrap myself up, almost to the state of a mummy, seat myself in front of a heater, and leave behind my winter blues while entering the realm of the storyteller.
The warmth of wrapping yourself with your thoughts and ideas is the greatest warmth of all.
Yes, I’m afraid of the dark, and all things that lurk in the darkness. Yes, I’m also a great Stephen King fan.
I absolutely cannot sleep in the dark. I have to sleep with a very large night light on, or I feel that I’m either suffocating, or something in the dark is waiting to get me. This could probably be attributed to my childhood fears, and also a very overactive imagination.
Ever tried sleeping with a bright night light on? It’s actually a surreal experience. You’re in the dark, but the steady illumination keeps you connected to a somewhat active state of mind. I have gotten some of my best ideas while waiting to go to sleep in a dimly lit room.
It’s as if the mind enters a semiconscious state where an abundance of creativity flows.
This is one phobia I certainly didn’t have while I was a kid or teenager.
I’m sure my mother can vouch for that.
But as I entered adulthood, and battled chaos in my life, I developed an obsession for orderliness and cleanliness. It was as if I was trying to put some part of my life in order while everything else was just falling apart.
Germs are the bane of my existence. I cannot count how many times I have pressed buttons in an elevator with anything but my fingers. Elbows work quite nicely. I have held my breath around sick people. I’ve given people the evil eye whenever I’ve been coughed or sneezed upon. There have been numerous times that I’ve bored myself to death in waiting areas instead of picking up a magazine or newspaper to read for the fear of coming in contact with germs.
Ok…how has this helped me as a writer? First of all, it has made me a more disciplined and organized writer. Not only do things around me have to be in order, but also my writing has to be planned and executed in a clean and orderly manner. There is no place for chaos while writing, and haphazard drafts have definitely never seen the dawn of day.
Sharing this tiny list of phobias is also my way of saying that it’s alright to be who you are, and there is no such thing as the ‘perfect person’. Be perfect in a way that makes you feel and act like a better person.
Do you deal with any phobias?
If you do, then you’re simply human, and that’s simply brilliant!
I have, atlast conquered all these fears. A sudden change, which came with the epiphany, ‘how does it matter’. Though I feel less but I am no sad , afraid. Atleast consciously.
That’s a wonderful achievement!