Snakes are a defining moment in my life that taught me the feeling of terror. I did not know the feeling of terror until snakes came into my life. I do not understand why snakes can move so fast without any legs. Why do snakes always find me?
For the record, I live in Ontario Canada where we have “friendly” snakes. None of the snakes here can harm you. My experiences as a child left me feeling otherwise.
When I was a kid two separate equally terrifying snake events forever change my life and the way I define the feeling of terror.
The first event took place at our family cottage. I was swimming in the water minding my own business, catching a tan, floating around on my air mattress. I was living the dream life. All of a sudden out of nowhere I see this little head pop up out of the water and lock eyes with me like what are you doing here? In the blink of an eye, it’s gone. I was left thinking what did I just see? I am not religious but I started praying please be a friendly turtle. Instantly the panic of the unknown set in. I quickly without thinking jump into the water. The same water that the unknown beast was in. What the heck am I doing? I swear my brain shuts down in moments of terror. I started to swim towards the shore when I see this water beast coming right for me. Does it look like a snake in the water? I had no idea we had water snakes this was all new to my kid brain. I reached the shore first like I was speed swimming like I was going for the gold in the Olympics. I thought victory was mine! Surely it’s in the water and will stay there right? Like fish? Do water snakes stay in the water? You cant go from water and onto land? W R O N G! That snake came at me faster than anything I have ever seen, I thought I was going to die. I took off running faster than my legs could keep up. I ran up the hill, up the stairs to the cottage, and in through the sliding glass door. I was inside. I was safe. I looked out the glass door and there was the sad killer snake, who in reality was friendly and couldn’t actually hurt me. The same one who in my head almost ended my life at a young age. I was safe inside the cottage doubled over and unable to catch my breath. My grandpa asked what happened? I wasn’t able to reenact my brush with death. Water/land snake beast zero. Sascha one. Lesson learned snakes survive anywhere. Always be on the lookout.
The second event was while I was visiting my Oma’s (grandma’s) house. I am not sure why I decided to go under the front deck but this is the spot I chose that day to have my tea party with my best doll friend Polly. I had just got the tea party set up when guess who comes slithering around the corner of the house? A snake! Now I am sure it was a regular-sized snake but in my childhood memory, it got bigger every time I told the story. It quickly became the size of a rare mammoth-sized anaconda from the amazon. I was beyond terrified. I jumped up to scream for help surely my elderly grandmother would save me. When I jumped up I threw my doll. Poor Polly doll was left to fend for herself. In the moment of jumping up to scream for help, I forgot how tall I was. As a child, I grew very tall very quickly I had giant-like features. I smashed my head so hard I must have knocked myself out. I do not remember hearing a scream come out. My plan to scream didn’t go quite as I had planned it.
When I awoke there were so many snakes slithering all over me. It is a feeling to this day some thirty years later that I still cannot shake. They were across my face, in my hair, wrapped around my legs, going across my body. I couldn’t even count how many had joined the original snake. Turns out the first snake invited all of its friends. Yes, I lived to tell this story but I never forgot that day. I later learned this spot was a snake pit. When I see a snake I can immediately feel them all over me. The slithering across the face feeling never fades. I have pushed all my family and friends in front of me to ward off tiny, harmless, friendly Canadian snakes.
I however refuse to live my life being scared. I faced my fear and held one of those giant beautiful boa constrictor snakes. Now, this should have been scary because I am positive if this snake didn’t want to be friendly it could have killed me. Can snakes smell fear? I trusted that the handler brought the nicest snake. I just kept breathing and reminding myself I am safe.
Snakes have a special way of always finding me. I am less scared now but still get that feeling of being uncomfortable in the presence of a friendly snake. I see them on the ground but feel them slithering across me.
Do you have a fear from childhood that you faced as an adult? Does anyone else share my snake uncomfortableness?