Saturday, May 24, 2008

They call it "Myrmecophobia".

And it was the reason I was sobbing in the middle of the movie theater this afternoon.

I went to go see the newest installment in the Indiana Jones series. It was going fine most of the movie. I was laughing and getting excited and very much enjoying the show. . .

Until about three quarters of the way in. Where there is a scene with millions of ants, all about the size of a Hot Wheels car.

I saw the first one and thought it was a scorpion. But upon closer inspection, and with a better camera view, it became clear that this was certainly a creature (at least in my mind) to be feared.

I thought to myself "Oh... my . . . goodness". As I realized where this was leading. So, I turned around and looked back at my family who were a row behind me because there were about five empty seats in front of them when I came back from the restroom, so I had taken one of those instead of scooting through the seats in front of people to reach the seat I had left.

So there I was, not looking at the screen, and doing fine- until the sound came. The sound of those giant ants swarming. The sound of the characters on the screen freaking out. The sound of someone crying.

Someone is crying? Where? I look at the faces behind me, scanning each one for tears, or a blotchy complexion.

I feel a tear fall on my hand, and I realize that the person crying is me.

I was actually crying. Me.

And right then, I realized how scared of them I actually was. Right there, with my face pressed into the back of my movie theater seat, sobbing and sniffing with my eyes screwed shut, a hand over one ear, and the other clutching onto my mother's hand for dear life, I realized that it wasn't just a matter of "I don't like ants because they're creepy".

I know it sounds weird that I didn't know. But I really didn't.

The scene went on for what seemed like hours, but I was later told that it was really only about eight minutes, until I was finally able to face the screen, and watch the rest of the movie.

This irrational fear and feeling of terror at that scene had forced me to wonder- Why am I so scared?

And after searching my memories for a second, I came upon one that I can point the blame at.

When I was young, probably around 5 or 6, I was playing at a park close to my house with my mother. I had found the neatest pile of sand ever right there among the woodchips. It was huge! I couldn't wait to sink my hands into it. And it was after doing just that when I realized that it wasn't a pile of sand after all, but an antpile. I was covered in ants in a matter of seconds, and I forget what happened after that, but mom says that we were able to hose me down and get all the ants off, but I was covered in antbites.

And that one time back in the early 90's. More than ten years ago, that moment in time was what lead to this fear.

And it was the reason I was sobbing in the middle of the movie theater this afternoon.

They call it "Myrmecophobia".


Dreaming again said...

My phobia is snakes. I don't even like typing the word.

I grew up in the mountains of california. We saw them all the time. They didn't bother me. When I moved away, they started to bother me more and more. The less exposure I had, the more they bothered me.

when my sons were 2 and 4, we went back to my home town, I pointed out all the places we'd killed the little buggers while growing up, some places that we'd come close to being seriously injured. (don't even like using the correct terminology, wow!)

When I came home, I had developed a full blown phobia to them. I can't look at pictures of them, or talk about them. Seeing a real one ... oh boy.

There was one 2 years ago in the foyer of our church. Just a little garden one. About the size of a pencil, maybe 10 inches long. I almost stepped on it and started screaming. I did start to dance and run.

My friends behind me started to laugh like you would not believe.

Thankfully, the guy who grabbed it, saw my reaction as a real fear, and did not decide to tease me with the creature.

Although, in worship team practice, he did spend the rest of the night telling everyone he had no idea I could move like that.

rlbates said...

So sorry Mary, but you write about it so well.

Scott & Jenna said...

Mary, that is awful! Here's our ant story: One day I was working out in the front yard in the flowers. Jared (almost 2) decided to walk over to the flower bed by the tree. I thought he was SOOO cute sitting there digging among the flowers & having a good time. Suddenly, he started screaming! I ran over & discovered that he had inadvertently found a fire ant nest. He had twenty-five bites on his little pudgy arms. It was so sad! I hate ants too!

I guess I won't buy you this movie for Christmas, eh?

Anonymous said...

*hugs* That's the exact way I got in the big screen of the second Harry Potter with the spiders. I was squirming like no other and going crazy. I can tolerate seeing them, I can handle looking at them from behind a glass, but at Girls Camp when there are brown recluses everywhere, I can't handle it. I always have trouble sleeping on the first night, squirming in my sleeping bag, no matter how hot it is, I'm bundled up like a caterpillar. Once they start crawling, the sound of the swarming, it IS terrifying! It's creepy! And so help me, no matter how big or small arachnids get, I don't EVER want them crawling on my skin EVER! *shivers*

Liz said...

Poor baby! You know I've got your back! I'll protect you from all those ants!

Anonymous said...

I have the same fear and I went to see that movie with the SAME reaction. It was terrible!

Want to know the truth! I have had this fear for years and I've known it. As a child I was attacked my fire ants and after that I was so afraid there was a point in my life I wouldn't even walk through the grass. I have learned to deal with it for the most part, but I am still very afraid if they catch me off guard or touch me. I was actually JUST in the bath when I look out the tub and see the BIGGEST ant I've ever seen in my life. I SCREAMED. My roomie came running in and killed it for me, but I couldn't get myself to get out of the tub for another hour. I felt ridiculous! When I FINALLY coaxed myself out of the tub I came and googled "the fear of ants" for a solution. If you have anything for me PLEASE post

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel! I went through the EXACT SAME situation you did!. I found a nice big pile of sand and thought it would be so cool to jump in it, right? haha My parents found me a short while later, and I was covered head to toe with ant bites. To this day (I am 25 now, yes, 25)ants are still my worst fear. If I get even just ONE on me I freak out.

Joyful said...

My parents & my fiance and I all went to see the Indiana Jones movie as well, in the theatre, and I was smack in the middle between my dad and my fiance. The scene in question came on and I was shaking, sobbing and choking. I tried to drive my fingers into my ears to block out the sounds, while keeping my eyes shut. I had my dad and fiance trying to calm me down, but it was too late. I was already in full panic-attack mode. I understand how you felt completely. Especially since I still remember it so clearly.