Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I've been thinking a lot about fear landscapes lately. If you've read (or watched) Divergent you will understand the significance of this. If you have not, the main idea is that fear landscapes are made up of your worst fears broken into separate and specific scenarios.

Some of mine were easy to identify:
  • Spiders. This could be extended to include ticks, so maybe arachnids would be a better label. My fear landscape would involve an unimaginable number of these creatures crawling all over me. 
  • Confined spaces. I suffer from a bit of self-diagnosed claustrophobia. This has prevented me from going caving, but otherwise seems fairly irrelevant in my day-to-day life. However, it would not be irrelevant in a fear landscape.
  • Rape. This probably doesn't require any explanation.
Others took further reflection:
  • Mockery. This would take the form of everyone around me, especially my friends, whispering and talking and pointing and generally just making fun of and belittling me.
  • Bridges collapsing. When I am driving and am forced to come to a stop on a bridge I like to calculate the point at which I might have a chance of survival if the bridge were to collapse. Although it's more of an idle curiosity than a fear, it might make for an interesting fear landscape.
  • Being restrained. This is perhaps too closely related to confined spaces/claustrophobia, but I think its own fear landscape could be imagined much differently than tight spaces. I can't stand tight clothing, turtle necks are a big no-no, and pull-over hoodies can be a challenge if I get stuck while trying to get them on or off. I have been known to freak out just a little. 
  • Complete and total darkness. I am not afraid of the dark. I don't need a nightlight. However, absolute darkness tends to overwhelm me. Keep in mind, complete and total darkness is not something most people encounter on a regular basis. There is almost always some sort of light pollution creeping in, even when people think they are in the dark. When I worked in a theater years ago, I would let the door close behind me and walk down the hall to the light panel without using my flashlight. It was kind of fun to feel the rising panic, while knowing exactly how far I had to go and how long it would take for the lights to turn on. It's possible that this is also somehow related to my dislike of tight spaces and being restrained.
And still others are less serious:
  • Clowns. Seriously, what is the appeal? Scary, icky, and creepy.
I've probably over-looked some or am altogether unaware of ones that would crop up on their own. What would your fear landscapes look like?


lanes123 said...

Heights. I remember thinking I was going to die from fear as I was in a car driving up Mt. Washington. Luckily, I wasn't driving, because I think I would have just stopped and abandoned my car.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Interesting! I know absolutely nothing about "landscapes of Fear" as described here, in relationship to the book (?) or movie (?), but I've certainly experienced fear.

a/k/a Nadine said...

I would think heights and snakes would be very common, along with spiders. I'm glad I'm only bothered by one of those three!