A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Student Life

Why so scared?

It’s 2007. My family is attending the Ottawa County Fair. For seven-year-old me, I was having the time of my life. Until I saw him. The white face paint, the red nose, and worst of all: the red hair.

  I remember trying to avoid eye-contact but my efforts were futile. He singled me out of the crowd and heckled me. “Hey kiddo you got funny-looking shoes there!” the clown shouted. Which made no sense as he was wearing size 18 shoes himself. He went on to shout other insults about my young appearance such as my hairstyle calling it “lame” and “ugly” attempting to get a rise out of me.  

  After that day I grew up with a fear of red hair. However, I know there are others in this world with odd traumatic experiences as a kid that has affected their lives to this day. Here are a few stories from WO students and staff about their traumatic childhood experiences that caused odd phobias later on in life.

Sr. Lily Harman:

 While a fear of heights isn’t uncommon, it’s how Harman gained this fear that earns her a spot on this list. “My fear started in just third grade. My brother always told me that if I got too high on the playground I would just start floating away with no way to get back,” Harman said. “A lot of people think I’m lying about this but just this summer I actually passed out on a roller coaster because I looked over the edge and saw how far up we actually were.” Harman said. Maybe when we were in the third grade, this would sound believable to all of us; however, thinking about that logic now it sounds silly.

Jr. Thomas Emery:

 When we think of common fears, arachnids are high on everybody’s list, right? Well that fear is no different for Emery, but it’s a funny tale on how he got his fear of arachnids. “When I was young, probably in about the sixth or seventh grade, we were having a little Halloween party in one of my classes at school. While everybody else was enjoying their candy and Halloween related games, I was face to face with a plastic spider. Even though I knew it was a fake and completely harmless it sent endless chills up my spine. Ever since that day I’ve had the biggest fear of spiders, and it’s over some stupid plastic toy spider” Emery said. As funny as this story is it may not be so far from others stories and their fears of spiders.

Sr. Brock VanFleeren:

  Cyberphobia. Most of us might not know what cyberphobia is but we can all take a good guess. Unfortunately for Sr. Brock VanFleeren he has a terrible case of cyberphobia or in other words he is afraid of computers. “When I was young, my older sister tricked me into playing this maze where you had to look really close at the screen to make sure you were doing everything right and at the end was a jump scare,” VanFleeren said. “Making the switch to Chromebooks at school was really hard for me because ever since that day I’ve been scared that all computers were going to have random jump scares.” VanFleeren said.

Security Sharon Dewit:

 Like the story before, snakes are one of the most common fears in our world today. However, not everybody is scared of snakes to the same extent Dewitt is. “I was only 12 years old when my brother and his friend had a larger rubber snake that looked very real and cornered me with the snake and was saying the snake would get me until I was crying and screaming. From that day on I have been terrified of snakes.” Dewitt said. It almost seems rude to laugh at this story but it is an odd way to have a fear of something later on in life.

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