There’s something you should know about me: I love spiders. I think they are beautiful and magical and really misunderstood. I think we miss out on a lot of wonder by fearing them. To all of you who are frightened by spiders, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them 😉 (Really though, hang in there with me.)
Hiding and Not Shining
In high school I sat first chair violin in the orchestra. It wasn’t a very good orchestra, so don’t get too impressed. But I was at the helm there for a bit, sort of. The director, Mr. Alexander, thought I had enough skill and leadership and so he chose me. I was so anxious and stressed that someone might find out that I really wasn’t very good and didn’t deserve the honor or responsibility. I was looking over my shoulder all the time. Fear prevented me from truly shining in that space of my gifting and skill. Not to mention the friendships I could’ve had if I hadn’t hid myself away.
One Christmas I got a new violin bow. It came in this wonderful clear plastic cylinder that was capped on each end. It was a perfect way to package a bow, but an even better home for spiders. During the winter in the Pacific Northwest, our 8-legged friends seek shelter in warmer spaces. Our house became a wintering port for a lot of different kinds of spiders.
My new bow cylinder provided a wonderful little science project for me as I started catching them. There were big leggy ones, chunky ones, little black and white hopping ones. Some were so small they could be a punctuation mark in this post. Some of them ate others of them. There were those that webbed themselves in away from the rest, and some of them just moved around unbothered.
My sisters did not appreciate this. They were worried the spiders might get loose. And what if they did? They were loose to begin with before I caught them in their new and temporary home. For my sisters, their fear was a real barrier to the wonderful things taking place in my spider kingdom. At least that’s how I felt, even if it was a tad one-sided.
Just Joking Around
When I was young, there was a person in my family whom I adored. Unfortunately for me, she could get a little rough with the teasing. As a sensitive little peanut, it made me cry. A lot. She couldn’t understand why I would get so upset when she was just joking around. Even though some of her joking went straight to the center of me. Arrows in my heart. I didn’t understand what was so funny about being criticized. She did, in fact have a great sense of humor most of the time. And was puzzled by our laughter turning into an awkward silence on my part.
Room For Everybody
My life is full of opportunities to make room for the people around me, as well as to alienate them. Some days I am ridiculous with effort to make sure no one is offended, no one’s feelings are hurt, everyone is having a good time. Everyone gets included. Other days I find myself running on annoyance with all beings everywhere so anyone prone to hurt feelings or offense, better stay out of my way.
My hope, though, really is for balance. And from balance, to create a space where there is room for everybody. For myself and my weird fascination with spiders as well as those of you who are triggered by them. For those of us with fear and insecurity and those of us with a great sense of humor and wonder.
We are all so different. Every interaction we have, every response, is going to be different because every situation and every person is so different. Balance is a balancing act. A commitment to keep trying even though the weights on the scales are ever-shifting. And attempting to make a safe space for everyone is a moving target, as we are all of us changing from moment to moment.
This is why it’s a good practice for me to open my heart every day. To open my mind every day. Because I find that it’s in the open where there is plenty of space, and plenty of light and fresh air for the reactive, responsive, short-tempered, short-sighted, frightened, misunderstood weirdness of us all.
So, if you’re afraid of spiders, or had your feelings hurt, or hurt someone else, or if you would like to be in a space where you truly get to feel like you, let’s be friends~