Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Day I Overcame My Phobia

Did you know that arsonophobia is the fear of fire?

And did you know that I suffered from this phobia for sixteen years of my life?

You didn't? Well, let me tell you all about it.

I am not sure why, but right up until a few months ago I had never, in my entire life, lit a match before. I know! Crazy, right? I have always been scared of fire. I hate putting logs into our fireplace, I hate dealing with fire. It just freaks me out. And I have always drawn the line at lighting matches.

My siblings thought I was weird. We have a gas element, and it's getting a bit old, and you often always have to light it with a match. Whenever I decided to do some cooking I had to always get someone else to light the element for me. You can believe me when I tell you that my lovely siblings would often politely inform that I needed to get over my fear and just light the matches myself!

There I was, a sixteen year old, old enough to get over this silly fear of mine.... but I couldn't. I tried lighting matches. Oh yes, I tried. But I couldn't. There was something in me that wouldn't let me strike hard enough to produce a flame.

I didn't know how I was going to get over my phobia. I didn't know whether I would have to go through my entire life refusing to light matches. All I knew was that I was scared stiff of the little wooden sticks with red bits on the ends.

And then one day, it all changed.

My family were out for the day. I don't remember where they went; I just know that I had something else on later that day which meant I couldn't go with them. I was home alone. Which I was fine with. Until it came to lunchtime... and I decided to make myself curried eggs for lunch.

It wasn't until I had boiled the jug and sliced up the onion and got out a pot and everything that I remembered. I was scared of matches. Yeah. There was no one around to light the element for me.

By that time, I was in the mood for curried eggs. There was no way a small matter like arsonophobia was going to stop me eating my eggs for lunch! I opened the cream coloured cupboard and took down the little red box that sat on the highest shelf. Every other time I'd done this swept through my mind. Each time I had chickened out. But this time, there was nobody else around. There was just me... and the matches. And my fear.

Facing your fear is a funny thing. I had maintained for sixteen years that nothing would ever make me strike a match. And here I was, about to do just that. I felt terribly courageous.

I held the match up to the side of the box.

Then, with all the courage I had in me, I struck the match.

I struck for myself. For the sixteen years I had feared this very moment. For all the times when I'd chickened out before the big moment. For my love of curried eggs.

And all of a sudden, a flame leapt into life, on the end of the little stick in my fingers.

That was a big moment for me. I was so excited. I couldn't help just staring at the match in my hand, with the flame flickering on the end. I was proud of myself. Proud of what I had accomplished.

And that's the story. I can now happily report that I have lit many, many matches since then. Matches hold no fear for me. I am still a little afraid of fire, but isn't that normal? And at least I can light matches now. :)

Do you have a weird phobia? Or even a normal phobia? (If phobias can be considered normal, lol!) :)
post signature
P.S. I'm excited because this is my 450th post! Yeeeaaah!


  1. We had a stove like that for a long time and to light it we used a 'long reach gas lighter' (or whatever they're called) that had run out of gas but still sparked.
    Did I have an irrational fear? Due to a misunderstanding when I was about 4 I was paranoid of photos and that stuck for a while even after the misunderstanding was cleared. I don't mind photos now but still prefer being a the other end of the camera.
    Also my fear or lets say respect for spinning objects has greatly diminished since I started wood-turning.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Tobias!
      Paranoid of photos? That doesn't sound too unusual. A lot of people don't like having photos taken of them! It's funny how we're always so critical of how we look in photos, isn't it.
      How long have you been wood-turning for? That's so cool!

    2. How long have I been turning for? About 3 1/2 years ago I made one spinning top on a friend's lathe, 4 months later I got my own lathe and have been turning ever since.

  2. I never really was afraid of matches...but I have never used one before! I was a little freaked out that I had to put a log on our woodstove the other day...I shoved it in. ;) hahaa Good for you!

    1. Haven't you?! That makes me feel a wee bit better :) Thank you!

  3. I have telephonophobia. That's a term I made up, but calling it telephobia would mean fear of distances. And it's not that.

    1. Telephonophobia. I'm assuming that would be the fear of talking on the telephone?

    2. ah, um....I have that one!

    3. Me too, depending on who the person is I'm talking to :P Some people I like talking to, others not quite so much. :P

    4. I guess I could say I kinda have that one... only kinda. :P

    5. Perhaps we all do to a certain extent!


Join the conversation!