The fear that binds us
It started last December after a field trip with her Brownies troop. At the hospital they visited, she got trapped in the elevator with a few other girls and one troop leader. Stuck 20-30 minutes, some of the second-graders got hysterical.
They were freed, but her fear lingers. It is so strong, it swallows her thoughts and actions. It is so deep, it feels like it could grip her for a lifetime. At 8 years old, her eyes are open to danger.
Now she anticipates before each trip, asking: "Do we have to take an elevator?" "Are there stairs?" "Can we not go?" She considers not doing things because an elevator or escalator is involved. At the movies last week, she gripped my hand in absolute terror as we took the escalator up two flights to our theater.
A couple of weeks ago, she said she didn't want to join Brownies this year. I took it in stride because she 's busy with tae kwon do and tennis. But then I put it together and I asked: "Are you giving up Brownies because of the elevator incident?" She answered me in tears: "Yes, they said we would go back to the hospital again this year."
No way, I thought to myself. No way did I miss this character-changing event. No way did I fail to realize the depths to which she has internalized this fear. As an adult, I realize the fears and oddities I have, though I can't fully explain where they came from. Is this destined to be one of hers?
-- Amy Hollyfield