Lessons from Spiders 5: Of Uninvited Guests

Lessons from Spiders 5: Of Uninvited Guests

It’s called a Giant House Spider.  The problem is that I don’t have a giant house, so there was no room for both of us. He had to go.

I had the strange feeling that I was being watched while I dressed for work.  The creeps. But the creeps are nothing new to me, especially when Tourette’s activates my anxiety centre, which it had been consistently doing for two weeks.  So I buttoned my shirt and clipped my belt without succumbing to the urge to look over my shoulder.  Bent over, slipping on my socks, I straightened up and saw a giant brown handprint on the upper staircase wall and simultaneously realized it wasn’t a handprint and that I was being watched.

The me from three years ago would have shrieked in horror.  The me now shook my head and said, “Seriously, man?”

Advocates for catch and release would be horrified by my subsequent actions but as I wiped his guts off the wall, and the book, I felt no remorse.  If I hadn’t slapped him when I did his excessively long legs would have carried him up and over and closer to my bedroom and that was unacceptable.

The nights are colder so the spiders are coming inside.  This is a fact of life here on the West coast and it is accepted with a shrug of resignation for all but the true arachnophobics.  I’m beginning to shrug with the rest of them.  I don’t like it but I’m accepting it.

Last year at this time I was alone for a few days.  Without my knight and spider slayer I had to deal with the back to back invaders with my own armour and without the bravery the past 365 days has afforded me.  On night number one the arachnid interloper was at the bottom of the stairs leading to the bedrooms.  I jumped, tossed a mesh food cover over him then sprayed him with peppermint oil before smashing him with my shoe.  That was a mess and I was shaken.  I slept with the peppermint oil beside the bed.

On night number two the eight legged operative was at the top of the stairs leading to the bedrooms.  A slipper was my weapon of choice and I shuddered but wasn’t shaken.  My friend who I had visited those two nights before returning home to the unwanted guests surmised that the spiders were a metaphor for my former job which was sucking the life out of me. Now that it was over, I was more confident and subsequently less afraid of the spiders.

But arachnids have frequented my dreams and I think the metaphor is larger than a job that sapped my strength. Add that the first night terror I have experienced in the last 20 years featured a spider on my pillow right before consciousness revealed it was a hallucination.   The fact that night terrors typically conjure a spider, snake or person in the room as the brain’s way of dealing with the abject horror the body is feeling for no apparent reason, and my brain chose spider, indicates to me that spiders are deep in my subconscious as an image for fear. 

They are a fitting picture for me of the anxiety associated with Tourette Syndrome.

Creeping.  Crawling.  Seemingly coming from nowhere.  I’m just going about my day and it appears on the wall like a handprint.  It darts into my space unseen then slinks into my line of sight when I am trying to look at something else.  It is unwelcome despite its purpose and most detestable in my bedroom, lurking as I try to sleep.

And it is a fact of my life, as I’m sure it is for many.  I do what I can to keep the doors and windows of my mind shut, minimizing triggers that invite it in.  As I manage Tourette’s and all its legs I begin to shrug with the rest of them.  I don’t like it but I’m accepting it.  

And on those days when anxiety crawls in without warning, instead of shrieking I’m shaking my head and saying, “Seriously, man?” right before I attempt to squish it into oblivion.  

The next step is catch and release.  I don’t know what that looks like but I promise to tell you if I figure it out.

What about you, dear reader?  Have spiders or anxieties slipped into your cozy space?  Do you squash or catch and release? I would love to hear from you.  Comment below.

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2 Replies to “Lessons from Spiders 5: Of Uninvited Guests”

  1. I am the knighted Slayer of all things that Creep and crawl in my own home. I am not particularly bothered by arachnids or any other creatures with legs, wings or body parts (unless they are clown legs or body parts). But after being chosen by my beautiful queen I was dubbed the killer. I respond to the screams of my six year old son and the calls ” babe, HELP… FAST… HURRY” from my Queen herself. And I arm myself with Bounty or Facial Tissue and smite the helpless little beasts. I would catch and release but we have jumping spiders and they’re a little to nimble for me.

    1. Oh those jumping spiders! I remember them well. Like creatures from stop motion animation films, their black hairy bodies not unlike miniature versions of tarantulas. Your Queen is fortunate to have a Knight such as yourself.

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