Ever since I was a small child I have had a shark phobia. No, I am not just scared of sharks- I have a full on irrational fear of sharks. It extends all the way from the beach to my house and even into the depths of my covers. As a small child growing up in the middle of Texas I dreamt of sharks swimming right down through my ceiling and chomping me in half. It is madness. The other day I even went so far as to describe sharks as "land hunters." What? If that isn't completely bonkers I don't know what is.
After living in Hawaii for several years I gradually got over my selachophobia (much to the dismay of my parents who witnessed stress migraines caused by the neighborhood pool). I even went on a shark dive a few years ago. However, I still have rules. I can't swim alone. I have to be closer to shore than someone else (hopefully the shark will eat them first) I can't go far from the shore. I can't swim in cloudy water...etc. Lately, my fear has been rearing it's ugly head once again. It doesn't help that I watch a couple of shark attack videos on youtube everyday. At first I told myself I only watched them to educate myself, then I started to rationalize that I just thought they were interesting. Lies. I have a deep dark obsession with water beasts and I can't stop thinking about how it would feel to get my leg chomped on.
So today after taking a warm shower and throwing myself facedown on my bed I decided to write those pesky sharks a letter. This is an old relationship tactic I use when I need to say something to someone but can't find a way to get it out. So here it goes
I have been very afraid of you (and your friend orca whale) for most of my life. Swimming in pools, lakes, rivers and more importantly, oceans, has never been very easy for me. I know you don't think you are being mean when you bite people and stuff but no one likes it. Everyone is getting really frustrated with it. (and by everyone I really just mean me). I'm not trying to be condescending or anything but I don't think it would hurt you to think of others once in a while. I think of you everyday. I go out of my way to do nice things for you, like pick up garbage on the beach and boycott oil spilling gas companies. So please, do me a solid and don't bite me (or my husband). It will really be appreciated. And please know that I don't have any hard feelings against you. I just want to keep my hands and feet. Hey, maybe I will see you around. (Hopefully I am in a cage or you are behind glass). Until then, just think about it.
P.S. I'm still scared shitless.
Image credit: Christina Vantzou