My Not-So Irrational Fear

I’m quiet. Not shy exactly, but quiet. I’m not one to make my presence known in a room, or to socialize at parties. It’s something that I’ve struggled with since pre-school. It’s not that I can’t talk to people; I just can’t put myself out there to talk to people. Because of this, I find that I often get lost in the crowd, my opinions are overlooked, and I end up always on the outside. It’s not a place I enjoy, but it’s a rut that I seem to be stuck in. What I fear most is being drowned by my introversion and of being lost in a sea of voices with nothing to say. I’ve found that this fear has manifested itself in a very…unusual way.

I have an irrational fear of losing my hands. The first time I realized this was when I was about 11 and watching Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King.

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I’m not usually a squeamish person, but when I saw Frodo’s bloodied finger (or lack there-of), it left quite an impression on my young self. From then on, the fear for my own hands and fingers has stuck in the back of my mind. It’s why I have a problem with the end of Jane Eyre for the sole reason that Mr. Rochester’s loses his hand. It’s why the most disturbing part for me in Edward Scissorhands is not when he kills a man, but when he shreds his would-be hands. It’s why every mention of Dumbledore’s charred hand in The Half Blood Prince made me far more uncomfortable than J.K. Rowling probably intended.

Rather than a fear however, I think it’s more of an underlying source of discomfort. Unless reminded of it, I really don’t notice at all. I don’t go around crippled with fear that my digits are in danger. There is just that thought of “What if?” that causes me to bristle with discomfort whenever I near a paper cutter or a large knife. It’s the tingling feeling I get when near power tools.

So how exactly does losing my hands relate to struggling with shyness? – especially since it doesn’t seem to be based in anything but pop-culture references? To help clarify the disparity between these two things, it would help to know that one of the most important things in my life is music, especially my piano playing. It allows me, in a way that I can never feel comfortable to express in words, to let out my emotions, my irritations, my joys, or my sadness. It is something that I take great pride in and could never bear to lose. But losing my hands relates to more than just losing the ability to play the piano. Music and piano is such an essential part of me that losing my hands is like losing my identity.

As I said before, I am quiet. I’m not a particularly talkative person, and I often get overlooked in social situations and I feel that my voice and identity is lost. Where my voice fails, piano and my music step in and express what I need to say. What I fear most of all is losing my voice, and losing what makes me unique and different. My music and creativity is my voice where my timidity prevents it otherwise, and it is something that I could never bear to lose.

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