YOW!!! There’s a HUGE Spider in the Bathroom

by Kathie Arcide of Chosen Perspectives

My husband’s first question is always, “Define ‘HUGE’.” Makes me stop and think but I still fight the “ick” urge, and do that spontaneous Spider Dance. You know the one, where you are trying to get both your feet up off the ground at the same time…just in case the spider’s relatives are already down on the floor…waiting to attack!

After I have calmed down, here’s what I think about:

Hypocrisy sucks.

My biggest challenge since 9/11 is the discovery of how prejudiced I am. ME, the most open minded and unconditionally loving person I know! I aim to be completely colorblind. My calling, my life’s work has been primarily to teach about the gray areas in life, and to help students and clients see how two seemingly opposing “truths” can both exist simultaneously. Pluralism vs. Absolutism is my battle cry! CHOOSE YOUR PERSPECTIVE is my mantra, for Pete’s sake!!! I actively campaign against snap judgments, globalizations, and stereo-typing!! Just ask people who know me. Really.

But here’s what I discovered:

I am vehemently, rabidly prejudiced against prejudiced people.

Uh oh.

I was raised by a mother, who barely escaped from her family’s religion. They were particularly devout due to our direct ancestral link to one of the church’s founders. In her young adult life she left (or maybe she was excommunicated) because of her religion’s extreme prejudices. At the time, they wouldn’t allow Black people or women to become a part of their Priesthood, and to her that was hypocritical. So I did inherit some of my devotion to the fight against bigotry from her.

It was only after 9/11 in my deep exploration of my own dark corners that I discovered how bitterly angry I was at those who harbor intolerance based on broad sweeping categorizations. I mean I hated all the narrow minded, racist people spouting off all their judgments about the terrorists. I hated my Mother’s childhood church for their reaction. I had nothing but distain for them ALL.

This was my first Uh Oh, but I have been exploring the nature of fanaticism ever since.

Who would have guessed that an innocent, well meant gift from my two grandsons would send me much deeper into this examination.

The short version is this. They got Giant Spiny Australian Leaf bugs for their birthdays one year. And I, trying to be unflappable, gushed about them, even held one in spite of my life-long terror of all things crawly. (A tarantula in the bottom of my sleeping bag and a bite from a Black Widow spider are enough to impact a child for life!) But I wanted to be the “cool Gramma” for my grandsons. SO I gushed.

And guess what I got from them on my birthday that year??? Of course! Two huge, I mean, palm of the hand-filling, BUGS of my very own. Hmmm. That’ll teach me.

Fast forward 5 years, a long and interesting saga for another day, and I have now “raised” over 100 of these terrifying creatures. Oh, and by the way, I have fallen deeply in love with them!

I could write a book about these bug guys. Actually girls. And have I ever learned a lot about “parthenogenisis”!

Then, last summer, I made a horrifying discovery about myself. I loved THESE bugs but still vehemently hated all other crawly things.

I gave up killing bugs a long time ago, and became a devout “catch and carry out of the house” devotee. Granted, I had to do the “spider dance” every time, or for the extra big ones, I had to enlist male help!! (See, I am filled with biases!) But last summer, my own favoritism hit me in the face (and the heart) when one day I found myself blithely crunching carpenter ants that had eaten their way into my house.

This sent me into a spiritual crisis that I needed spiritual counselling to get out of. (Thanks Karuna!)

How can I raise, and truly LOVE one bug and be so freaked out, to the point of murder, by ALL the others???

Cock roaches, mosquitoes, spiders, carpenter ants…they are all bugs too!

Lots of people are not freaked out by bugs (meaning insects or arachnids). And of course, a bug smaller than your thumbnail, that can kill you, is worthy of your respect.

But try this test.

It’s a warm sunny day. You are sitting outside in a comfy chair, relaxing, eyes closed, absorbing vitamin D, listening to the soft rustling of wind in the tops of beautiful trees and you feel the slightest touch on your hand. You open your eyes and see this.

Butterfly

For many people this would be an amazing experience, a gift, right?

But this??

Bugs

Not so much!!!

Since apparently, I learn my biggest lessons best from the concrete and mundane, rather than the more dramatic and universal experiences in life, I am now on the lookout for anything that highlights my current challenge; how to look at life with no predetermined conclusions.

Here are some lessons I’m finding….

Caesar Milan (The Dog Whisperer) taught me that not all pit bulls are killers.

Our housemate Shawn, taught me that not all African American men are bitter about history.

My lovely cousin Lori taught me that not all Mormons are single-mindedly out to convert.

My best friend’s father, Tad, taught me that not all fathers will abandon.

Jean Clarke, beloved mentor, is teaching me that not all women must become ugly and bitter as they age. She is still stunningly beautiful, inside and out, at 90.

My husband is teaching me that not all men will cheat or be vicious.

The experience of contributing to this wonderful Blog is teaching me BIG TIME, that not all Blogs are simply social media substituting for real human connections.

Oh, and not all BUGS are icky.

I use these pictures to help smaller kids be less scared of these guys:

monkeys

An outing to visit the Monkeys

Holding court

Teddy, holding court

But Watching

Bug Watching

Friends

Friends

 

KathieKathie Arcide

I am inseparable from my title of Gramma. But I also have important stories to share so I write. I don’t even want the title of Writer. I hate writing but am driven, reluctantly answering the damn CALL to write.

So to be clear, I’m not a Writer. I just write.

Need more clarification? Ask me to sing a song. I sing all the time but am NOT a singer.

One tune from me and you’ll get the distinction right away.  You can find me at https://chosenperspectives.wordpress.com

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Written for Walking With Intention.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more info here: Walking With Intention.  But first, leave a comment and let Kathie know how you feel about what she said, and then be sure and visit her over at Chosen Perspectives when you’re done.

35 Comments

  1. Your post has taught me that sometimes you can feel love in your heart while looking at wild and crazy insects. They’re so beautiful, your little creatures there. I love all those photos where you’ve placed them with your friends. But, you put a lot of deep content in there too, and it so very true that we have to look at and acknowledge where we have prejudice in our lives. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah, still working on my intolerance for intolerance and aiming for understanding more without necessarily embracing someone else’s beliefs. The big window spider on my post is a great example to me of the benefits of learning more before concluding something. She is scary but completely harmless. Araneus diadematus is her name.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Fun post and yet very deep and on point with world events. With all the recent attacks, it seems easy for some to group certain types/nationalities/religions/etc together as dangerous. Though all countries need to fight against terrorism, we also have to avoid sweeping thoughts like you mention, “all bugs are bad.” If we do, we could miss out on all those groups have to offer and we wind up back in similar mindsets that led to genocide or segregation. Hard to define where the lines lay, but as you said, we can’t make predetermined conclusions on entire groups. Great post.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I love your post Kathie. It is thought provoking as well as interesting. I feel blessed that I know both you and your bugs! I look forward to reading the posts you write on your new blog!

    Sreejit, awesome job of sizing the pictures. They are so effective presented in this way!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure, I’d love to hold a bug!!!! And I can’t resist asking you if you want to hold my worms! 🙂

        I am so enjoying supporting you as you start your blogging adventure. I know how fulfilling it can be.

        Like

  4. I can totally relate to the discovery of intolerance for the intolerant because it happened to me a couple of years back. How freeing it was when I was able to let those people go – not minding the title of heretic anymore, but embracing who I was and allowing them the grace to continue on their journey as well, wherever they are on it. I still have BIG trouble with stupid, though… 😉

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Actually, I meant that I found my own intolerance of intolerant people; although I have been on the receiving end … especially now that I have left what most Evangelicals consider to be “orthodoxy”. 🙂

        Like

  5. This was intriguing to read. Finally white people are beginning to look past their prejudice…
    WHAT a RELIEF!
    Yo, keep learning and becoming a better person. Peace be with you!
    And wow, the bugs, I couldn’t IMAGINE having them crawl up my arms… Eeeeehh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, believe me, that whole crawling-on-my-arm thing took some getting used to. Somehow, having my grandsons watching me the first few times gave me a great incentive.
      As for looking past my own prejudice, I didn’t think I had any, of the racial kind, until I found myself living in Natchez, Mississippi in the middle of the Civil Rights movement. Been working to learn more (and make butterfly wings slivers of change ever since).

      Thanks for your comments!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think i can understand that. Witnessing something like the civil rights movements would naturally lead you to reviewing and reflecting over yourself.
        That’s the sign of people who are willing to learn instead of being ignorant. It’s good.
        I hope life gets better for people in general 🙂
        And I hope you taught your grandsons to be just as brave with those insects 🙂

        Like

  6. Oh so you’re the bug person!! I saw these on Karuna’s blog before. So unique! I kept bobbing my head when you described people who assume and generalize about people It’s actually one of my pet peeves. I live in a predominantly French speaking province in Canada. Years ago a colleague said I was cool for an English speaking person. I had to answer to that comment “why because I’m not rich?!” He blushed. I really enjoyed your post. I don’t consider myself a writer or poet either but I love to talk … writing is next best thing 🙂 oh and am also proud to be a Nana

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved this. You’ve taught me that I’m not as unprejudiced as I thought. And that kids might actually like pictures of bugs and teddy bears (but it scares me!!), so I think I’m prejudiced against bugs that look like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fellow blogger Choosingmyperspective led me to your blog and this page after I saw one of your pets in a photo. That’s a very interesting creature, but I think I’m glad we don’t have those here in the U.S. I understand how you can like/love/be okay with one bug but not the other. Spiders never creeped me out, but put me in a room with flying June bugs (childhood traumatic event) and I would either run screaming or kill them all. Gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

    I love the context of this post, the many things you’ve learned from everyone from Cesar Milan (I learned the loving nature of pit bulls years ago) to your husband. We can have so many stereotypes and misinformation in our heads that aren’t true. I guess that’s how bigotry and prejudice is born, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very cool post.
    I knew right off that your mother had been raised Mormon. Interesting how religions will adapt to societal flow and how quick they are to take advantage by embracing a group, but that of itself is a prejudicial comment. Enough said.
    My husband would have reacted EXACTLY the same!!! “Define huge”. LOL
    I am glad you recognized your own prejudice. I see it all the time, people condemning other’s point of view that differs from their own are just as prejudiced. I have noticed that for years. I think I write about that in one of my own blogs somewhere. I lived in the south for some time and was always infuriated by the blanket assumption by people, media and especially Hollywood that southerners are a bunch of bigots. Bigotry is not limited to the south. I see it in California, I saw it in Colorado, the two other places I’ve lived in. It’s everywhere. What I say in my blog is that oftentimes our prejudices stem from personal experiences or slights by a specific group to either oneself or others. This can apply to the rich, the poor, blacks, whites, Hispanic, Asian or any other group.
    I think whats difficult for people to do is see that and although my husband is what I call a liberal conservative, he made me acutely aware of my own blanket statements regarding groups and class. Surprise, surprise. I see myself as open toward people of all color and culture. I’m fascinated by their customs and culture, BUT if someone did me wrong I would make a negative statement regarding their race or background. In the early stages of our relationship, my hubby pointed this out, never letting me get away with it. (btw, I’d dis my own races as well) He’d come back to me with, “why not just say, what they did was bad without including color or race?” He would remind me of his own observation of how open and accepting I am generally to individuals without prejudice. WOW! Great man!! I am so much better now.
    I think everyone does it, if not aloud, to themselves and how important it is to become totally aware and work on not doing it. It is hard to be introspective and see how we fall short. How much better we’d all be if we did so. Great post!
    Amazing that your little guys contributed to that growth. That’s a grandma thing I would have been guilty of doing as well.
    My girls always had a ton of critters of all kinds. They still do. I too, have difficulty killing critters of any kind, But those little guys feasting on my rafters? Well, I haven’t found a viable solution for moving them over to my neighbors? hehe

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ditto. I love how blogging opens so many avenues to learning from one another. I have so many people from around the world, some of which I guess understand English better than I do their languages. Thank goodness for “translator”.

        Like

  10. I am not equally crazy about ALL crawling things. Spiders have a special place and when Garry got bitten by a brown recluse and spent a month on antibiotics and limping as his leg — still scarred, by the way — I knew I was right all along.

    Other things, though, are just icky. I stomp cockroaches and anything that reminds me of them. I do NOT care about preserving their lives. Not even a little bit.

    Yest, I truly loathe racists and have long since lost any attempt to talk to them politely or, for that matter, at all. Garry is actually better at it than me, but he has had a lot of practice.

    I think we should all love everyone. Mostly. But this year, maybe NOT so much.

    Like

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