This world is a scary place. Terrorism, natural disasters, religious massacres, Crazy ‘okada’ riders, ‘agberos’, armed robbers, these are just some of the fears we have to live with. But being a born and bred ‘Lagosian’ I take it all in stride (well, almost all).
One fear I’ve been unable to conquer though, is of a different, less common kind; I’m scared of big birds, and by big I mean anything larger than a little chick. I’ve lived with this fear since I was a little kid and I used to have nightmares where I was being chased by huge chickens and I would always wake up with my heart pounding.
Needless to say this fear has led me into some very embarrassing situations in my lifetime, I have been laughed at by friends, family and even strangers.
It’s customary in Nigeria during holidays for friends and neighbours to gift each other with live poultry or cattle, and so growing up, Christmas and Easter holidays were quite traumatic for me as chickens and turkeys were continuously being brought to our house. My way of dealing with this was to run into my room and lock the door until my sister came to announce that the offending bird had been killed, and had begun the gradual journey that would terminate in our stomachs(insert evil laugh)
The funny thing is I have never had a problem with eating chicken or turkey, I luuuuv me some fried chicken with jollof rice, and I make a mean chicken sandwich.
I have tried(in my own way) to overcome this fear by committing the occasional act of bravery such as touching a recently killed chicken with its feathers still unplucked, or strolling really close to a gathering of chickens(with a large stick in my hand for protection)
I am fully aware by now how irrational this fear is, but that doesn’t make any less real. Will I ever get over it? i sincerely hope so. This irrational fear, has allowed me to understand the phobias of other people. It’s pretty easy to laugh at how unreasonable some fears seem, but people are really scared of these things and will go through great, and sometimes stupid, lengths to avoid them.
Apparently there is a name for my type of fear: ornithophpbia. Derived from the greek words for birds-ornithos and fear-phobos.
It’s not as common as other animal fears such as fear of snakes and rats, or fear of bugs (insects and spiders), but it is just as valid. Its funny that a lot of people find it weird that I fear chickens, but I’ll pet a dog without hesitation.
I just discovered there’s a specific word for fear of chickens; Alektorophobia.So I guess I suffer from both, alektorophobia and ornithophobia.Not good.
I guess it could be worse though. There was a woman on Oprah once who was scared of ….wait for it…Buttons!! WTF? Ok, ok I’m not mocking her fear, but BUTTONS??? To each his/her demons I guess.
I’ve decided to face my fear, try and overcome it in little doses. There’s an old Alfred Hitchcock movie: ’The Birds’1963 featuring packs of wild birds on a mission to peck everyone’s eyes out. Wow! that shouldn’t be too painful to watch, So I’ve decided that the next step on my path to an ornithophobia free existence(if indeed such a thing exists for me)is to watch this movie, that’s assuming I can sit through the damn thing.
The experience will either scar me permanently, ensuring I become a quivering wreck every time I set my eyes on a bird, or embolden me a new found courage to face my winged demons. Whichever one it is, we’ll find out.
In other news, i’m really craving nutella on toast with bananas.yumyy!cant wait till i get home.