Unexpected Kindness

I am literally sitting in our little town’s only local coffeeshop surrounded by retirees talking about how nice the weather is…I will come back to that…

Song Dedication: Spiderwebs by No Doubt

Specifically these lyrics:

You’re intruding on what’s mine and
You’re taking up my time
Don’t have the courage inside me
To tell you please let me be

It’s been a year since I left my classroom teaching position due to the sudden onset of daily migraines plaguing my life.  At first I was just too depressed to do anything other than stop everything.  No joke, I kinda stopped living; went into crisis mode and shut right down.  Living in fear of the next migraine strike.  After a week or so of this, I began to come up with a plan.  That plan had a goal, which was to get me back to work ASAP…because at the time this was my purpose; my definition for living. I compiled a laundry list of to-do’s and got to work (when I wasn’t in the throws of another migraine).

This initial list covered things like health practitioners supporting me with mostly the physical aspects of my health issues.  Reading (audiobooks mostly because the migraines were messing with my cognitive ability to process) books about migraines and miracle cures. Resting a lot (turns out I was beyond exhausted). Walking daily (because my regular running routine seemed to also trigger migraines).  Finding and trying out various pain relief approaches (since the Tylenol and Ibuprofen rounds were climbing in consumption and triggering rebound headaches).

Over time the get-er-done list has morphed and changed and so has the goal.  The goal now is only to live a fulfilled life of presence and gratitude, how my traditional sense of having a career and being socially acceptable and worthy is no longer a factor.  I have been able to incorporate a number of therapies that some, initially, I didn’t think I needed to waste time on and others I was unaware of (I think this is called ignorance).

Through Integrative Body Psychotherapy, Quantum Biofeedback, Yoga, Carroll Testing for food intolerance and weekly visits to my ND for micro-current pain treatments, NUCCA Chiropractic, Somatics, Meditation and Chronic Pain Assessment and Support, I have been able to not just decrease my chronic migraines, no we, have been able to stop them from happening completely (now 3 months and counting)…I don’t like the word “cure” because it sounds like magic.  No magic here.  Just a practical acceptance that my body had had enough of my bullshit and wanted me to pay attention, so we could have the life my soul intended.  But no where on that list did I say anything about saving spiders.  Because that seems really random and disconnected, as well as ludicrous.

You see I didn’t just hate spiders I was blood-curdling terrified of them.  I couldn’t even think about the 6 too many eyes, or the fucking flesh penetrating fangs or the freakishly long legs moving at an unpredictable cadence, let alone how fast those fuckers can cover ground in relation to their body size.  Ghosts and ghouls are one thing, apparitions at best.  But spiders, that shit is real.

The movie Arachnophobia, released in the summer of 1990, sealed the deal on that 10-year-old’s fear, along with the urban myth that humans actually swallow something like 8 spiders in our sleep every year. Horrifying shit. This all impacted my quality of life for decades.  Just thinking of a spider crawling on my shoe gave me the heebeegeebees.  If I saw a spider suddenly appear within what I thought was my personal space bubble, I would panic thinking it had just jumped off my shoulder, using me as their personal mode of transport.  Rude, space invading spiders.

At home, if there was no other human to assist me, I would either stomp on the spider coming at me from across the floor, activating every leg muscle and probably recruiting a glute, to come down with such force that there was zero chance of survival.  But if the spider was large and looked as if it might make a crunchy noise between my shoe and floor, I would take an irrational fist full of kleenex to drape over the monster, hopefully bamboozling it into confusion; freezing it with no escape route until my husband came home to “deal with it”.  That never really worked…it probably appreciated the cozy tuck-in, had a nap and then snuck into the sock drawer once I left the room, leaving a pile of tissue in the middle of the floor I would never use for fear of arachnid contamination.

Even in the classroom, spiders would have the balls to stroll into the room while I was in the middle of teaching.  Upon which, I would stop and sort of freeze, being mindful of my teacher role; realizing my neuroticism would be inappropriate with an audience of impressionable youth.  I would quickly find out who my favourite students were; the ones who could lovingly and swiftly pick up the creature and humanely remove it back to nature (and hopefully shortly into the beak of a passing crow…do crows even eat spiders…ugh, gross…not important, sorry). And just joking, I don’t have favourite students…just like your parents don’t have a favourite child…

Here now, is the unexpected part…I have saved two spiders this week so far and one last week in the presence of my son-where I chased the spider almost outside by herding it with a tissue (sort of like a reverse matador technique) successfully moving it from my bedroom across the hallway, into the laundry room and just before it could have walked straight out the door unscathed, it instead climbed down the vent at the last minute.  My son loved every minute of this action-packed scene of me squeamishly trying to talk the spider into leaving peacefully. Following me, laughing hysterically at his Mother.  I think that spider was clouded by my past spider interactions, sensing my distaste for them and maybe recognizing me as the murderer of a family member or dear friend.  I don’t blame that spider.  That removal didn’t go all that well, but I have to say I am unexpectedly getting better at it.

The first spider this week I simply avoided stepping tripping on, no shit, he was that big.  Like palm of my hand big.  Standing in the garage, waiting to make safe passage toward the corner I imagine, he stopped as we pulled the car into it’s (the car not the spider…but he was freakishly big) parking spot.  I realized if I didn’t encourage it to move I would probably step on it bringing groceries into the house.  I then used a nearby piece of paper and my calm spider whispering voice to coax it out of the way.  It scampered off and I think I heard it’s footsteps…did I mention how big he was?

The spider this morning was on my wall next to the bed.  In the past, this would have seriously pissed me off, but today I noted her presence and again, using a tissue (spider-wrangling tool of choice) I got it into the empty bowl sitting on the bedside table (wait, why was there an empty bowl by your bedside…don’t fucking worry about that, ok?  Cheezies maybe…but that’s really none of your business).  In she went and I asked her nicely to stay there so I could put her outside, putting the tissue over her to bamboozle her into thinking she was trapped.  I got her to the garage and tipped the bowl saying, “there you go spider, have a good day.”  She crawled out and maybe said thank-you?  She was pretty tiny so I’m not 100% on that.

Now the moral of this story could be some life changing affirmation about wrangling your fears and building courage, having the ability to overcome and do no harm for the betterment of the collective consciousness or it could also be that we have a shit ton of spiders now convalescing in our garage, welcome to the Hotel California guys! But I would like to actually connect it to what everyone is talking about these days…the GD fabulous weather!

If you’ve been wondering why it’s been so sunny and warm this late into the fall of Northern BC…it’s because I haven’t been stomping the shit out of spiders.  So, you’re welcome everyone for this beautiful weather.


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