When I was little I was afraid of storms.
Let me rephrase that. From the age of approximately 7-11, I was terrified of storms. I’m not sure what started the fear, but it stuck around and consumed most of my brain space for those 4ish years.
One afternoon during this season of life, my mom needed to run a few packages into a FedEx store. Instead of hauling myself and my two sisters out of the car just to put us right back in 5 minutes later, she left the car running, locked the doors, and ran in by herself. This was the 90s and Facebook wasn’t invented yet so moms could do things like this without fear of going viral. Looking back, this story would definitely be the kind of stuff mom shamers feed off of.
Anyway. As my mom ran in, a dark cloud starting to make its way across the sky. I, in my current season of constant fear, decided that cloud was definitely going to be THE CLOUD that finally did me in… so I needed to get OUT of the car, go OUTSIDE, and save myself. My logic wasn’t solid.
I unlocked the sliding door of our minivan, slid it open (setting off the car alarm in the process), and went to cross the narrow street between the parking spaces and the storefronts where my mom had gone.
Now before you say “were’t you ever taught to look before crossing the street?”.. please understand. I had been to safety village. I had been to preschool. And kindergarten. And maybe even first grade at this point. I was raised by cautious parents. And YET, I did not look both ways. Instead I darted into the street… and got hit by a mother fluffing car.
I’m not kidding. This is real.
I was lying on the ground, looking at my foot.. which was UNDER THE TIRE OF THE CAR. I think I was more shocked than anything else. I had just been standing up. Now my foot was stuck under a 4 door, silver sedan and an old lady was looking down at me from the drivers seat. I can only imagine she was thinking “well, shit”.
My mom came out, saw what happened, FREAKED THE F OUT, and somehow got me out from under the car. I don’t know what happened to the old lady. I wonder if she still thinks about me. Does she wonder if I walk with a limp now?
If you’re here for a gore-fest where I tell you my foot was broken in every single place, and my skin had been torn off, and I lost 3 toes… SORRY NOT TODAY. Because guess what? I just happened to be rocking some sweet ass 90s jelly sandals that day. You know the ones. Mine were clear (only the OG style for me) with silver flecks in them. And those puppies were not only stylish- they were SHOCK ABSORBENT. Thats right. Those jelly sandals bore enough weight that my foot, which was FULLY UNDER AN ACTUAL LITERAL CAR TIRE, was fine. Scratched up maybe. But fine. My mom probably slapped some neosporin on it a few times a day and we went about our lives. The whole incident was actually kinda of anti-climactic, actually. Maybe I should have milked it more.. maybe I missed an opportunity for a free trip to Disney or something. Whatever the case, life went on and my foot healed and it became an awesome story I can tell at parties now.
As far as the fear of storms goes.. I don’t know when that fear subsided. It was probably once I realized that it was kind of a really stupid fear, since I have literally no control over the weather…. and there is no place I know of that is completely devoid of storms. So, I guess I just, gave it up at some point.
Also, I might have realized that my fear was actually more dangerous than the thing I was afraid of in the first place. By being irrational and running from a perceived threat, I had put myself in more danger than I was in originally.
There’s a life lesson in there. Actually I think there are two.
- We often cause ourselves more problems by trying to avoid something that seems scary… but actually probably isn’t nearly as scary as we are perceiving it to be. Maybe if we ditched those fears, and our ridiculous efforts to avoid them, we could spare ourselves from some grief.
- Trends save lives. Lean into them. They may not last long, but you never know when a jelly sandal, or a cropped graphic tee, or a pair of mom jeans could save your life.