Fear Is Valid by D.W.

This, is a moth. I, have mottephobia. Which is the fear of moths. I’ve had it since I was a child. My mom once paid me 10$ to stand outside on my front porch with moths for 5 minutes. I didn’t make it, and while I was outside, I latched onto the sweater my mom was wearing the whole time.

I had a question for myself, why am I scared of something that cannot hurt me? A phobia is defined as “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.” Which I for sure have. I even looked up if there was any rational reason to be afraid of moths. They are in fact completely harmless, and the only time they can even slightly be dangerous is if they are ingested. I came to the conclusion that my fear is much more biological than I would think. I’ve noticed my fear of moths connects to their fur, and their patterns. The more fuzzy or patterned they are, the more dizzy I feel, the more nauseous I feel, etc. So I found that this is an evolutionary trait that has been in humans for a long time.

The patterns on the moth’s back, to humans, are a sign of poison or something dangerous to ingest. It’s all about the patterns. People can see these and their subconscious makes sure after years of evolution, they don’t go near them, for if they are ingested, most would kill the human. The patterns tell the human brain that they should be avoided because of poison or disease. Think about it, evolutionary traits are passed down. The humans who ate these colorful animals would die, while the others who refused survived, thus passing on the trait of fear towards these animals, and their patterns.

But as fascinating as that is, I’m curious about why people are so terrified of things that can’t hurt you? Why do I become a shaking, crying mess when I even hear the word moth. That certainly has no evolutionary worth. According to Mayo Clinic, “Specific phobias are an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of objects or situations that pose little real danger but provoke anxiety and avoidance.” This fascinated me, especially since phobias have no sense of real danger. Mayo clinic has 4 ways to help treat phobias if they are particularly debilitating. One: Exposure Therapy. Exposure therapy is essentially a slow switch in the mind making the patient lose their anxiety towards their phobia. For me, that would be exactly what my mom did. She made me go outside and just sit with moths, trying to help me feel more use to being around them. It is the most popular and the most recommended treatment for phobias.The second psychological therapy you could use is cognitive behavioral therapy. This strategy is much less trying to cure the phobia but instead learning to cope with the fear. This therapy goes much deeper in that it tries to keep your emotions in check instead of letting them run rampant and control you, and making sure you keep a better awareness with your body.

Medication is also a option, but it is rare. Medication is mostly used for people with overwhelming anxiety and phobias that occur in daily life, such as Dendrophobia, the fear of trees, or Papyrophobia, the fear of paper. These phobias usually come along with other serious mental conditions. People who do have more severe phobias will take either beta blockers or sedatives. Beta blockers change the chemical components of your brain, slowing the components of adrenaline, like fast heart rate or shaking. Beta blockers are similar to sedatives except sedatives are much stronger and could easily become addictive to patients.

But again, I am still left with why do I have a fear of moths, when there is no rationality of it. There is no real danger, yet my panic is sent into overdrive.

According to Katherina K Hauner from Scientific American, genetics contribute to someone’s phobia by about 25-65 percent of the time. Other times it is environmental, or something heard or seen from childhood that was traumatic.

Everyone has a fear, whether it is rational or not. Andrew Wing, my father, for example is deathly afraid of elevators. He says, “I just don’t trust them.” This is at least some what reasonable, but then ask Phet Laboutsa, who says his fear when young was grapefruit. He elaborates, “I was six and cried when I saw one.” He says his fear was rooted in the fact he was very allergic to them, but growing up has since lost his fear.

These oddities maybe can be explained if you go into depth of the study of the brain- neuroscience. Esther Inglis Arkel has studied the odd behavior of phobics. “There is a strictly biological component to phobias.” She says, “When worrisome stimuli get into the brain, there are two ways they can go; to the amygdala and to the sensory cortex. The sensory cortex is a calm, rational part of the brain. It casts around the rest of the brain for more information and looks at general knowledge”. “The amygdala, on the other hand, is the part of the brain that gets an unpleasant stimulus and screams, “What are you doing? Run, stupid!” When people say that phobias aren’t rational, they’re right. The amygdala is not there to be rational. It’s there to get results. And it does, often in the form of a panic attack.” But yet again, studying the human mind always leads to more questions than answers. Why does some triggers go to the sensory cortex and some to the amygdala? Scientists are just as confused as you are. Many say that the three causes are genetics, trauma, or all around stress and anxiety. Or it could even be a combination of all three.

Fear is such an open subject, and the human mind is a puzzle many have yet to even begin to understand. It is not perfect of course, and maybe phobias is one of those imperfections, but in the end, we deal with the cards we are dealt with, and whether you are scared of clowns or months, your fear isn’t imaginary.

299 Club by D.M.

I start the day by throwing my leg over over my most prized possession. As it begins to heat up I can feel my heart beat faster and faster. The temperature is about 60 degrees but feels freezing with the wind chill. Luckily I am in full gear and the wind isn’t slicing right through me. As the tires start to warm I feel connected with the machine. I dip and dive into corners at incredible speeds. Underneath me I can feel the 600 cubic centimeter inline 4 rumbling. It is begging me to give it more.

As I approach Cherryvale, the real fun starts to begin. I hug my knees close to the tank and rip through the gears. I hit 100 in seemingly no time at all. As I lean into the suggested 35 mph turn area at about 70 mph. I feel as free as ever. I grab the clutch and downshift coming into the turn. As I hit the apex of the turn I am on full throttle, letting the small, yet powerful Japanese engine go to work. Climbing through the gears, I throw my body inches from the ground. My goal is to reach 299.

     As of recently I have been very into motorcycles. I think that they are fascinating machines that harness incredible amounts of power. The story above is something that I have not yet done but something that I wish to do in the future. While extremely fun, motorcycles can be death traps if they are used the wrong way, or even the right way. Unlike a car there is nothing to protect you when you crash. It is just you the bike and the road. Which I believe is part of the thrill of riding. It is truly addicting.

Motorcycle riding isn’t just a way of transportation, it’s a hobby, a way of life. People ride because they feel alive while doing. The near death experiences make them appreciate life even more. According to Jesse Kiser of rideapart.com his close calls when riding have pushed him to become an even better rider and put his skills to the test. Unlike driving a car, a motorcycle requires you to be completely focused on every aspect of the road. Dirt and potholes on the road become obstacles for a motorcycle. Small animals pose great dangers. Almost any obstruction on the road poses a great hazard for a motorcyclist. These hazards cause you to become one with your bike. Your bike is an extension of your body. You are the machine. For some people this is scary. But motorcycles should not be feared. The danger on them is very present but fear is an illusion.

Despite the bad rap that motorcycles have they are not inherently dangerous. Yes, of course, riding motorcycles poses more risk than riding in a car. However the likelihood of getting in a collision on a motorcycle is much smaller than that of getting in one in a car. Motorcycles are smaller and more maneuverable than their counterparts. According to reference.com the average car weighs around 4,100 pounds while the average motorcycle weighs around 600 pounds. This goes to show that motorcycles can fit in areas that cars can’t. When stuck in a tough situation motorcycles can power out of the situation and have multiple escape routes.

Blind spots. There are none on a motorcycle. You can see the entire road. People in cars call motorcyclist dangerous, however, in cars you can’t see everything. There are blind spots. I interviewed one of my lifelong friends that has been riding motorcycles for a long time. “Despite not being protected by a metal shell on a motorcycle, I feel safer on one. I can see the entire road.” He also mentioned that “Motorcycles aren’t to be feared. They are powerful machines that harness a lot of fun in the engine. When I get on the road I don’t ride scared, I ride like my life depends on it.” And that is what you have to do on a motorcycle. You have to ride differently than the way you do when you are in a car. The surroundings of a car can protect but they also cause blind spots that simply aren’t there when operating a motorcycle. The chances of getting in an accident in a car are much larger than getting in an accident on a motorcycle.

Despite the smaller chance of getting in an accident, if a motorcyclist is involved in an accident it has a very high potential of being fatal. Don’t be confused however, this does not mean one should fear riding it should only make them realize that there are dangers when on a bike. Because they are so light compared to cars, when a motorcycle is involved in a crash it is thrashed around quite a bit. When this happens the rider can be thrown off their bike with nothing to protect them except their gear. Gear is one of the most important parts of riding. A helmet, jacket, gloves, and other various protective equipment can turn a fatal accident into one with minimal injury. When ridden properly and with all the necessary gear the danger of motorcycles decreases ten fold.

Later in my life I upgrade. I realize there is more to motorcycles than what I have had in the past. 600 isn’t enough to satisfy the soul. Something lighter, faster, and more powerful is in need. I need a liter. My joy for riding is through the roof. I have new gear, I have taught myself the safety of riding. Tough and dangerous situations have confronted me but I haven’t ridden scared. I know my capabilities and I am ready for the liter. The dealership is near my apartment in San Diego. I have a friend drive me to the BMW shop. There it is. The top of the game. The s1000rr. Weighing in at 489 lbs and 189 horsepower under the seat, this bike is an animal. As I scope the bike it shines in the window. The metallic black curves and the red accents go together like bread and butter. Realizing I can’t wait any longer I ask for a test ride. They get me set up with the keys and I throw on my gear. I am lead outside with the bike and they open the doors to the open California road. I start the engine. It screams. I pull out onto the street and waste no time. Approaching redline at almost every shift I realize the true power a liter bike has. I roll down the coastal highway at incredible speeds. As I weave in and out of traffic I spot wide open highway up ahead. Now on a bike that can hit 299 I have to take my chance. I drop a gear and clench the throttle. I have never experienced something so powerful yet smooth in my life. I climb up past 150 with plenty of bike left to go I push even harder. I am now fully crouched behind the tinted windscreen. 200. I just reach fifth gear and I am still chugging. 250. I can’t stop. 280. Nope not yet. I see the speedometer slowly count up from 290. It’s going to happen I’m going to hit 299. My dream is becoming a reality. I lean in closer for the final push. 299 km/h. I have joined the club and have only touched the true limits of the incredibly, addicting, and soul satisfying capabilities of what motorcycles can do.

Wander by B.G.

 

I journey to the woods

Near the stroke of midnight

As I walk through darkness

I notice the lack of moonlight

The looming fear of the unknown reaches for my heart

Taunts and dances around my mind like a young child at play

My gut seems to climb faster than any mountain man ever has

The echoing sound of crunching gravel clouds my thoughts

Darkness

I ask myself

Why do i fear the darkness

It’s not the darkness itself

No

It’s the fear of the unknown

The fear of what the shadows conceal

It’s what lies unseen

A mystery

Man’s ultimate rivel

It’s the fear of the unknown

The hinderer of humankind

It reaches out

Taps me gently

Just enough to latch on

Closing in around me

Grasping me

Freezing me in time

As I feel darkness root into me

I stop to turn back on my journey

But from inside me a faint voice strains to say

“Fear is weak”

A mere man can battle it

To combat I go

with strong heart and a steady head

I strike fear

It falls

the emotion of cowards

Lays dead in its grave

Fear

Conquered