I got stung by a bee today on my foot. It wasn’t the bee’s fault – it just got caught up in my flip flop. I felt awful for the bee. I should have had boots on but maybe I would have squished it anyway but I would have avoided the sting.
As I was jumping around freaking out about the sting – and calling to my sons and husband for some help – I began to cry.
I was scared. I’ve alway been afraid of bee stings. I have a fear that I will get allergy to the sting. I don’t have one I’m just afraid I will become allergic.
I was so afraid of bees as a kid I would put myself in perilous situations just to flee from them. Once I nearly made our bus driver crash as I ran up the aisle of the bus screaming BC a bee was buzzing somewhere in the back. The driver slammed on the brakes of the bus and I went down flying head first into the seat. She was steamed at me. She didn’t care that I hit my head. She just yelled at me to sit down. So I did trying to hide my tears and my shame.
I remember getting out of the bus and holding a little terrarium that I had made in art. We used layers of colored sand and placed a little succulent inside and put a top on. I was so excited about that terrarium and when I got off the bus I was finally able to compose myself BC I was away from the bee and the embarrassment. I began to take inventory of the damage to myself and my belongings. My head throbbed but I was ok. I held up the terrarium and all the insides lay in ruin. The layers of sand were mostly blended together and the little succulent was unrooted from the sand.
The tears began again. I cried a lot when I was a kid. I think some people became immune to my tears. But not my mom. I took myself and my broken artwork into the house and tried to explain in choked words to my mother what happened. I can’t recall exactly what she did but I know she cured the tears that fell and the terrarium was fixed enough so the little plant was rerooted. I remember that terrarium sitting with all its imperfection in our kitchen. My mother hated to see me sad.
These days I’m not so scared of bees that I run from them. I even will catch them if they get into the house so I can free them into the wild. If I find a bee in the house it’s their lucky day.
We did have some of those bees that burrow into the siding of the house and somehow they began making their way inside. They didn’t meet as kind an end. They were nasty and they came in by the dozens. It took an exterminator and my husband a number of attempts to get rid of them. We still have blobs of spray foam bulging from holes in the siding of the house. We haven’t had a swarm in two years. I hope they don’t return- they deliver a nasty sting. I don’t know what the purpose of those bees are but I know they aren’t good like honeybees.
Speaking of stings – the one I got yesterday hurt! I began crying out of fear and pain and as I sat wimpering on my porch waiting for my kids to grab some ice and baking soda I wondered if today was the day I’d be allergic to bees and have to be rushed away to the hospital. It would be bad timing BC my husband had to take one son to an encampment that was over an hour away. If I had to go to the hospital I would ruin that.
It turns out that my sting didn’t even swell much. Maybe she didn’t get much venom in as I pulled my foot up fast when I felt the bite. I saw her in the grass and felt badly for her. My fear of bees has grown into a respect of nature ( unless nature is living in the walls if my home).
But I wonder where those tears come from. Well the tears I think I get. They are from frustration and fear. The frustration BC I haven’t been able to catch a break lately. I am dealing with chronic nerve pain from the cancer surgery and though it’s been two and a half years since surgery I am still dealing with this issue. It’s been worse in the cancer aftermath than the actual treatments were. My life quality of late has been less than subpar and I know those tears wait on the edge to come. All it takes is a little bee sting and a dose of frustration and fear and the dam breaks.
It’s funny or odd how an old fear can take hold of us and wash over us in an instant. I knew in my brain I was most likely not allergic to bees but the fear was seperate from the rational thought. I just had to let it wash over me. It would pass in time.
I was a fearful kid – every week I had a new fear. Fear of germs , fear of touching boys ( my parents must have loved that -but it definitely was gone by the time I hit puberty), fear of ticks. So many fears.
Some of the fear followed me into adulthood and I developed a pretty major anxiety disorder in my 30s that I try hard to stomp on as best as I can. Some new fears arose that I learned had a fancy name called phobias. The phobias that remain aren’t life altering. I don’t eat shellfish BC I’m scarred of allergic reactions. Though I ate shellfish to the gills (pun intended) when I lived in Boston. But one day somewhere back in my 30s -maybe- I just cut off the shellfish eating out of fear. It’s not a big deal and I actually don’t miss not eating it except once in a while I’ll see my hubby eating shrimp or a crab cake and want a bite. Hubby always is willing to share and I am sure often wonders why I have this fear. But he loves me warts and all.
I am warty. But we all are aren’t we? Or is that a delusion I convince myself of? It’s taken years for me to love myself for the whole person that I am. And some days I fail at that.
As I sat on that porch with my husband who was trying to comfort me as my mom did so many years ago – he made me feel safe. I knew I was being a little silly but I found the tears cleansing and maybe I just needed that cry. For an instant the child in me took over- the one who had so many fears. She may have been fearful but she was a good girl and had a loving heart. She still does.
After a bit I told my husband he could get back to the million things that he was working on. I picked myself up and went inside to wash my face off and put on some socks and boots.
I saw my kids who had seen me crying and had tended to me as I sat on the porch and I wondered had I been comforting enough to them when they got stung? I probably tried not to show my fear to them when they were the ones hurt. I never wanted my kids to be fearful the way I was. I knew that the fear can hold you back and can stigmatize a kid. But was I too stoic with them? Did I make them feel safe? I hope I have.
Even now as teens they act like they don’t need me but they do. I’m the tough one – the strong one. I get stuff done. But over the last couple years they’ve seen me at my worst – on my knees asking for Gods mercy. Do they think less of me?
I hope not. I hope they see a human. One that stands tall for them but one that can fail and one that can cry in the face of fear. We are all a combination of feelings. We have to let them out and embrace each one because that is the essence of who we are and we need to love ourselves.
As I saw each teen in the aftermath of the bee incident I said “I just get scared that I’m allergic to bees for some reason. I know it’s silly”. Each one in there own way said they knew and it was ok. Each one said they hated bee stings too. Each one asked me if I was ok. Some sweetness from often seemingly uncaring teens. It’s in there.
I went back to the chicken area to finish what I was doing before I got stung. The sting was still a bit painful but I had myself fairly convinced that I would be ok. I turned to see my husband looking at me.
” I’m just making sure you are ok.”
“I’m ok I think. I just hope I’m not allergic. ”
” If you were allergic you’d know by now”
“I know it’s silly to be scared like that.”
“It’s how you feel and that’s ok.”
He gets me and he loves me. My kids try to get me but they love me as only a teen can love. That’s comfort, love,and safety all rolled up into the messy thing called family.
And I’m ok. I’ll wear boots next time. Sorry bees.