The itsy bitsy spider torments me every day

September 29, 2023 — by Natalie Chua
Graphic by Natalie Chua
Whenever I encounter a spider in my bathroom, I can’t help but cower in fear.
If I don’t even share my bathroom with my sister, why would I share it with a spider?

If someone asked me to describe a spider, I would not be able to explain it in full detail. That’s because I’ve trauma-blocked any memories having to do with them. Since I vehemently refuse to look at any spiders, think about them or even exist in their vicinity, every time I see one, my reaction is to flee and make my parents deal with it instead. 

My strategy was challenged once, however, when my dad did not want to kill the gigantic spider on my bathroom floor because he was too tired. Forced to weigh my grim options, I reluctantly attempted to take matters into my own hands.

I approached the ugly eight-legged behemoth slowly, praying that it wouldn’t suddenly jump in my direction. Lifting my house slippers, I flung them viciously at my target as soon as I was close enough. Though my slippers had been compromised, I believed I had succeeded since the spider was not moving. 

Thinking I would leave the carcass for my dad to pick up in the morning, I left the danger zone to brush my teeth. However, when I went to check on it again several minutes later, it was gone! After such a horrific realization, I refused to use the restroom for a week, fearing that the spider might show up and hunt me down.

 My arachnophobia is so prevalent that I refuse to even glance at pictures of spiders. When they appear on my For You page on Instagram or TikTok, my fingers have never moved faster to swipe to the next video or refresh the page.

Maybe their creepiness comes from their disturbing crawling movement. Their thick and hairy legs move like those hideous crawling demons from horror movies. Maybe it’s the way that their dark, rounded bodies mar my pristine white walls. Perhaps it’s the zoomed-up pictures of their numerous unfriendly eyes, glaring at me hyper-realistically from covers of National Geographic magazines. I just can’t pin it down… maybe it’s all of the above. 

It’s not only me who experiences this fear — seven of my friends have also faced traumatic encounters with spiders. In fact, six percent of the population worldwide would not dare come close to these devilish creatures — whoever said they’re too small to be scary is completely wrong. 

When I confided in one of my friends about my arachnophobia, hoping to be understood, she instead thought it would be hilarious to use my phone to take pictures of spiders that she searched up. After she told me about her evil prank, hoping to get a kick out of me, I immediately contacted my other friend and drove 10 minutes to her house so she could delete the pictures from both my camera roll and trash album.

Unfortunately, I will never be able to fully confront my fear. Though I have tried to face it by examining spiders close up, I always end up running away, begging my parents to kill them for me or blindly flinging my slippers at them. Moving to Australia will never be on the table for me, since spiders over there have bodies as big as a human face and legs as long as two ICE sparkling water containers. To ensure the preservation of my sanity, I’ve decided my future boyfriend is required to be able to snipe any spiders on sight.

Tags: spider, trauma
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