Are you fascinated by what frightens you?

I think I’ve asked this question before but for some reason, this topic seems to blow my mind. I’m just so fascinated with how our brains and emotions work – especially in tense situations. I have put in so much effort over the years to learn how to cope with anxiety. It’s really been a lifelong battle and the solutions are often unique to each individual suffering. Anxiety definitely serves a purpose, even though sometimes it seems irrational or at the very least inflated. Does learning about what scares us ease anxiety? Maybe. It’s just so interesting where our minds take us.

I’m terrified of tornadoes. We’re in tornado season right now and from what I see on the news, it’s been a rough one. I live in Middle America so severe weather is unavoidable.

Here in Ohio, tornado season starts in April. To amplify my fear, I had knee surgery on April 2nd and am unable to get to the basement. Well, at least not quickly. My plan when I hear the sirens is to try and get in the bathtub. Luckily, my neighborhood hasn’t had any tornado warnings yet this year. I was happy to have surgery in April so that I would recover by summer, but the ability to get to the basement was always in the back of my mind.

Despite the fear, I am so fascinated with tornadoes! A few years ago, I signed up to take the SkyWarn Storm Spotter training, but I got strep throat and couldn’t go. I was so upset! I haven’t seen it offered locally since.

I think what’s so frightening as well as fascinating about tornadoes is that they are still so unpredictable. Yes, you can see rotation on radar, but we still rely on sightings from the ground, too. When you hear the siren, you could have ten minutes to take cover or thirty seconds. You just don’t know. A lot of the time you’re lucky – tornado warnings are lifted and nothing happened, but at the same time, one minute your house can be standing and the next minute everything you know can be gone. You just never know. Tornadoes happen every year and there’s no escape. You never know when it’s your turn to feel Mother Nature’s wrath. I love living in the Midwest but you can’t help but feel vulnerable. 

No one can predict the future, so I guess this applies to a lot of things in life. (Yes, this is my struggle with anxiety.) 

I’m just curious, are you fascinated with things that frighten you?

Last year on April 5th, I wrote a poem about tornadoes. It’s been a while since our area was hit by a big one, and we’re due. The news had been warning us about severe weather for a few days. Everyone was saying this was going to be bad. I was at the office and around lunchtime, everyone just left. We all went home to hunker down for what was supposed to be a very stormy afternoon.

Nothing happened. There was a collective sigh of relief. But here’s the poem:


Twisted Storm


Unavoidable risk
of uncertain danger –
there’s nowhere to run
but do your best to hide.
My life dangles in time.
The forecast tells us
to prepare for something
you truly can’t prepare for.
An afternoon of mental chaos
and impending disaster –
the day was unsettling
from the start.
Wake up to seventy degrees
on the fifth day of April –
for once the warmth
is unwelcome.
Fear comes
from an unforgiving sky.
Scattered brain.
Scattered home.
What will the world
look like tomorrow?
Dreams broken.
Goodbyes unspoken.
Until next time –
please pass over me.


So, is everyone outside of America (or the Midwest and South) wondering why I live here now? The truth is I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I grew up here and storms are just a part of life. I just think it’s so interesting that I’m fascinated by something I’ve been scared of my whole life. I get excited every time it storms – both good and bad excitement. I kind of love storms in a way. The nervous energy can be such a rush! I can’t exactly explain why I feel this way. Have you ever experienced something like that?


  1. Katydid says

    My oldest saw The Mummy on DVD in the early 2000s despite being told NOT to, and then was afraid to go to sleep for a long time. In our suburban American neighborhood, the chance of actually meeting an avenging mummy is nil. At least you are frightened by something that can actually happen to you!

  2. Lakitha Tolbert says

    Yeah, I get it. For me its spiders. I have a deep and abiding fear of certain sized spiders in particular. I’ve discovered that some sizes (tarantulas and those tiny jumping ones) don’t produce the same level of anxiety. In fact, I think those little jumping ones are kinda cute, and there’s a cartoon about one of them on Max that I really enjoyed watching, and had no problems with anxiety. For me, my fascination is an attempt to control my fear, for when I encounter spiders in real life, and there have been a number of spider movies released in the last few years.

    The newest couple of films is a movie called Infested, (which really tried my self control because this movie haunted me for several days), and another movie called Sting, which I was slightly better at watching without freaking out, and I credit that to researching the subject for several months, otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to watch either of these films at all. I don’t really think of this as trying to cure my arachnophobia. I think of it more like emotional management.

    I’ve even managed to actually enjoy a couple of films I’ve watched multiple times, like Eight Legged Freaks, and another one called Big A$$ Spider. I still cannot watch Arachnophobia though, which was my Mom’s favorite spider film. Apparently, that movie is just far too much for me. She managed to persuade me to sit down and watch it with her only once.

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