Confessions of a technophobe

Okay, so lately I’ve been struggling a lot with the need to conform to today’s technological standards. Maybe it’s because after several years of not having a facebook, I recently reactivated mine, or due to the notion that gadgets in general just seem to be ever present and over the top. Regardless of the reason,  I can’t seem to accept that human beings are really meant to be living like this: through their phones and detached from actual life. I long for the days where people will put down their phones and engage in good old fashion face to face communication, turn off their reality television and immerse themselves in a good book.

Imagine this setting: a classroom in  the 60’s, an educational film about life in the future. Images of camera clad traffic lights and humans obsessing over little screens dance before the children’s eyes. Then comes the knowledge of online profiles that detail all intimacies of human life, from relationships to milestones and previous employment, not to mention the hundreds of pictures posted for all eyes to judge. Nothing seems sacred anymore. I’m sure these children of the past would be terrified, yet in the present generation, we seem blind to the detriments of this new way of life. We find comfort in the instantaneous satisfaction instead of fully gauging the beauty of the bigger picture.

Conversation stands to be one of my favorite aspects of human connection. I love sharing knowledge and ideas. I love the look in someone’s eyes when I get through to them and I love the feeling of my perception widening as one gets through to me. It seems that all of these excess mediums are getting in the way of one of the most simple and fullfilling pleasures of existence: in person human connection. Sure, through social media and the internet we seem  to have the world at our fingertips, but do we really? Or is it just a means to escape from our actual natural enviornment, to shift conciousness and enter a fantastical cyber reality?

I’m  torn between keeping up with the times and being true to what I feel is right. I’m aware of the positives of technological advancement. I’m even taking advantage of it right now by posting this blog and advertising it on facebook. Sometimes though, I question just where the line should be drawn. Does anyone else feel this way? If you do I’d love to hear about it. If you don’t I’d love to hear why. Maybe I should be looking at it from a different angle and not harping so much on the way things were. yet I can’t seem to accept this less personable way of life. Time sheds light on all things, maybe one day we will find a more delicate balance between life through a computer screen and the one spent without the distraction, fully engaged in the present moment. I can only hope so…

What I’ve learned from spiders

I used to be deathly afraid of spiders. And by deathly, I don’t mean scared they would actually harm me, but that the lives of the people around me would be in danger if an arachnid came into my field of vision. You see, it all started back in the days of Seashore Day Camp during a local canoeing expedition. I looked forward to the trip for weeks only to frantically freak out the instant the trip leader informed us of the possibility of tree spiders dropping into our canoes. The only rule we really had to follow was to stay inside the small boat at all times. So what did I do when I heard about these treacherous tree spiders, but jumped out of my canoe and flailed in the water until counselours held me down kicking and screaming for the duration of our trip. Afterwards, my fear of spiders turned into an even more specific fear of “spiders on my canoe”.

This ultra specified fear was surfaced again on a family cruise to Canada. There we were, kayaking through a majestic glaciar in Novascotia, and there I was freaking out about spiders in my kayak, trying repeatedly to jump off and into the icy blue beneath me. The trip leader  begged me to comprehend that spiders didn’t live on open ocean water, but a deep rooted vision kept me from trusting him. He threatened that if I didn’t calm down, everyone would have to turn back, so I somewhat pulled myself together.

Now at this point in this narrative I probably sound a little bit crazy, but let me tell you that this super specific fear of spiders invading my canoe did indeed come to a forceful fruition. My tragic fate struck me at a natural spring during my freshman year of college. My friend Tara and I decided to take a rejuvenating canoeing trip at the beautiful Waikewa Springs. The sun was bright and my hopes were high, I wasn’t even thinking about spiders. After we had already purchased the canoe, made distance from the shore and were surrounded by alligators, the realization that my worst fear could happen at any moment took complete control of me. I caused a huge scene pleading to Tara to let me jump in. I was thrashing so much that I ended up steering us right into a tree, which just so happened to be infested with spiders. Twenty of them poured onto our canoe and the fear that had plagued me for my entire childhood stood there mocking me. Tara put on her best Florida country gal and wrestled those suckers out of there. When she thought it was finally over and asked me to grab my back pack so we could switch seats. I told her I had a feeling there were more spiders underneath and when she lifted it up five more crawled off and scattered around the bottom. Once she scooped those out we went back in and decided to hike instead. People kept coming up to me and saying “hey are you the girl who was freaking out about the spiders on the canoe?”  I hated admitting that I was.

Okay, so anyway the point of this whole ridiculous story is that now at the age of 22, I am no longer scared of spiders. I know some people would have an especially hard time believing this but it’s really true. I started exposing myself to my fear and staring at the creatures every time I came in contact with them. Eventually, they began to look like every other being on the planet I’m not afraid of, and all the fear and anxiety melted away.

I’m actually staring at one right now and I thank him or her for inspiring me to write this post. If I can appreciate a spider, there is nothing I can’t do. We can overcome any obstacles in our path. Fear is just a test of persistence. Now go stare at some spiders!