Thursday, March 6, 2014

Yes, I'm Afraid of That

Last weekend, I did some baking! (Which reminds me: I've created a new page for the food I've been cooking, so if you're interested in that, stop by--I've been updating pretty consistently.  If you see something you'd like a recipe for, let me know!)

Anyway, I made pizza and garlic knots from scratch.  They were delicious, but that's not really the point.  Then what is the point? I imagine you're asking-- how does baking tie into a post that seems to be about phobias/fears.  Well, one word: Yeast.  I had to make the dough for the pizza and the garlic knots, and in order to do that, I had to use yeast.

Which I kind of have a slight fear/phobia of.  Even now, just thinking about it, my heart is racing a little quicker, and I'm getting a little nervous, and there's a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach, and my breathing has changed.  For some reason, I'm slightly afraid of yeast.  It just... creeps me out.  The way it makes things rise, that it would get HUGE if you put a lot of yeast in.... that the longer you let it sit, the more it expands.  Okay, I actually feel nauseated now, since I'm so creeped out. Seriously.

Needless to say, I conquered my aversion to and fear of yeast in the pursuit of delicious pizza and garlic knots.  Mission accomplished. Though, based on my reaction just now to simply the thought of yeast, I don't think 'conquered' is the right word--more like... set aside.  I called a truce with yeast for one night, and I'm glad I did.

This fear was new for me, though.  I've done some baking (mostly cupcakes and things like that, though), so yeast hasn't really been a consideration.  Until it was--and it was then that I realized just how creeped out I am by yeast.  I mean, I think I was always vaguely aware of it, but this just caused it to rise to the top of my consciousness (pun intended).

So, this got me thinking-- am I the only person out there with a fear of yeast?  I googled the term in several ways (including 'yeastphobia' and 'yeastophobia'), and pretty much all the results had to do with a baker's fear of yeast since it can be difficult, but none had to do with the actual fear of yeast.  

I then happened upon a thread on a message board talking about different fears.  On it, someone left a comment talking about mistaking fears for phobias, etc.  Which led me to google that, and it turns out there are varying opinions about what makes something a fear and what makes it a phobia.

Some people say a phobia is something that interrupts your daily life-- for instance, you may be afraid of dogs... but people with a phobia of dogs will avoid going to the park because there might be a dog there.  Or, you may be afraid of spiders, but people with phobias of spiders will not enter a room in which they even think a spider may reside. Which kind of makes sense. lists the definition of fear as: a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights. 

And it lists the definition of phobia as: a persistent irrational fear of a specific objectactivity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. 

However, it also lists phobia as a synonym for fear.  

Bottom line: There are people that insist that fears are intensely different from phobias, but one of the most helpful things I found was this small article (Read it here), but basically, it describes a phobia as a fear that is exaggerated or of something where the threat is non-existent.

So, is my crazy fear of yeast a phobia?  I'm not sure-- I did end up using the yeast.  But the threat is certainly non-existent.

This yeast phobia/fear isn't my only odd fear.  While many people can say they have arachnophobia, agoraphobia, coulrophobia, and many, many others (see some of them here). My phobias (I'm going with phobias, I guess), are much less common. 

Google returned no one else that expressed an actual fear of yeast. 

Another phobia I've had for a long time is paper shreddings.  They freak me out, and make me experience elevated heart rate, quick/shallow breathing, and make me nauseated.  Yes, shreddings... run some paper through a shredder and you have created one of my worst fears.  Not the shredder, the shreddings.

Of course, a google search returns no fellow paper-shredding haters.  There's plenty of people afraid of shredders, but not so for the actual shreddings. 

Anytime I relay this particular fear, people need clarification.  The issuance of such clarification is followed by a very strange look, and almost inevitably an expression of the desire to throw some paper shreddings on me and see how I react.  I always respond with a polite laugh, but pardon me if I don't actually think your desire to torture me is funny.

(For the record, you'd need a large amount of paper shreddings to actually make me panic... though a small bag full would definitely get my blood pumping).

But, really, what is it with that?  Whenever someone tells me they're terrified of spiders or clowns (a fear that is arguably as ridiculous as mine), my first reaction isn't to express desire at putting them in a room with a bunch of spiders or clowns.  So, why is your reaction to do the same to me with my totally weird and out of the box fear okay? Answer: it's not.  But people will continue to do it anyway.

That's odd fear number 2 (though, really, it's #1, since I realized it existed for me sometime before my Sophomore year in high school).

Again, there's not a name for my fear, though the closest thing I've found is Papyrophobia, which is a fear of paper.  I don't technically have a fear of paper-- but, I do have a fear of paper in a certain state.

Another thing I'm afraid of is the pool snake-- you know that thing that cleans pools automatically?  The thing that has a memory and will stop working properly if you coil it up (it'll only go in circles). Yeah, that creepy thing terrifies me.

This, I believe, is probably closely related to my intense fear of robots.  That's right, robots.  Roomba (that creepy robotic vacuum thing), furbies, you name it, I hate it.  If robots ever become a 'thing,' I will totally be that one person who doesn't have a robot.  I'll be that one person chopping her own vegetables and driving her own car. I'm not sure that this phobia has a name, but I do believe it might be able to be classified under the sweeping umbrella of technophobia.  I do not care how much I hate vacuuming, a Roomba will never be in my house.

And, finally, we have the fear of seaweed (no, it's not funny to throw it at me at the beach, nor is it funny to express a desire to do so) or algae.  These fears do not have a technical name that I can find, but might be classified under 'phytophobia,' though I'm not scared of all plants-- just seaweed, algae, and plants that grow on/over things, that coil around trellises, etc.  Oh, and I also find it intensely creepy that a plant will find light.  Like if you put a sprout in a shoe box, and create a maze, and then cut a hole in the top, the little green sprout will eventually be poking out of the hole, and will have grown through the maze, finding the small light from the hole you cut. You tell me that's not creepy. Some people would probably see this as metaphoric--and poignant and powerful.  Not I.  It's just plain creepy as far as I'm concerned. So, yeah, actually maybe just phytophobia would cover it.

So, while there's not a strict answer about what makes a phobia different from a fear, I'm going to call mine phobias, since the things I am afraid of pose no actual or real threat... ever.  And, because my reaction to these things is disproportionate to the thing itself.  I definitely have "persistent irrational fears of specific objects that lead to a compelling desire to avoid them," so despite some nay-sayers out there, I'm going with Phobia.  

So, here is my current phobia list (with names I've made up):

1. Yeastphobia.
2. Papershreddingphobia
3. Technophobia (more specifically, Robotophobia)
4. Phytophobia.

I know I can't be the only one with weird/unusual/not mainstream phobias out there! Is there anything weird you're scared of?  Or just a phobia, in general?  It doesn't have to be weird, but it'd make me feel a little less crazy.  Emphasis on 'little.'

In other news: A new book review has [finally] been posted!


  1. Hahah! SO glad you've gotten over your yeast phobia - at least a little bit! Keep up the good work! :)

    1. Thanks, Christy! Thanks for the lovely recipes-- I'm really enjoying trying them! :D

  2. I do not think that I have ever been afraid of anything that has crippled me or that I would call it a phobia... but I am definitely afraid of yeast {infections}.

    My fears are more potential real life scares that I have zero control over.
    I am deathly afraid of getting pregnant and not knowing that my child was developmentally disabled until it was too late.
    I am terrified of an outbreak of some disease and the world going into shambles.
    I am super afraid of spiders crawling on me when I sleep, so I put tea tree oil on various parts of my body before bed to keep them away.
    I am very much afraid of having diarrhea in someone's house and the toilet breaking... that just gave me the sweats.
    I am very much afraid of having a baby and having to get an episiotomy.
    Lastly, I am very much afraid of having to loose teeth or a nail/toenail.

    1. Hmmmm interesting, Nikol. These are all pretty valid fears though, nothing too weird. But they are oddly specific. Ooh, I feel you on the child thing, and also losing teeth. Oy. I always have dreams about my teeth falling out, and I HATE them so much.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your fears with me! I hope none of these things happen. Especially #4, when you're at my house. ;) No, but really, none of them. <3

  3. Have you ever seen Battlestar Galactica? Your fear of robots is totally justified!