I am down with the flu and I really thought I would give today’s blog a miss since I am not feeling so good. My face is all puffy, nose running and eyes itchy.
But then again, since I am stuck in bed, I thought this will be a good time to do some writing, in between sneezes and long naps, of course.
Anyway, I just got upset by an image I saw on a webpage I opened a few minutes ago. I was busy filling in a survey and at the end of the survey, this page decided to reward me for my time with an image of a CHAMELEON. My worst fear, the one thing I am bat-shit scared of. I nearly threw my laptop on the floor. That company is officially on my pages-I hate-list (just made one today).
This is not the first time I have seen images of chameleons and reacted in this irrational way. One time, my former boss decided to pull a prank on me because she could not believe I was really that scared of chameleons. It is something I have never hidden since I was about nine years old. Everyone I meet knows that I have a crippling fear of the creature. So, when I told my boss in a random conversation, she could not believe it and thought to check just how scared I was “this innocent creature” (her words, not mine). So she pulled what I still think was a cruel prank, sending me an email with an image of a chameleon. I opened it and froze immediately, could not move at first just staring at it and started having a panic attack seconds after. She got her proof because I was so shaken that I had to go home for the rest of the day.
Why am I so scared of chameleons? When I was around 9 years old I saw a chameleon shed off its skin and eat it with its long tongue. The image of that horrific scene stuck to my mind and is the source of most nightmares I had as a child. I stood there watching in horror because I was frozen to the spot. Since then, I associate chameleons with that crippling fear I had watching that one chameleon shed skin and eat it. It looked so scary, just writing this I am replaying it again.
Everyone I tell that my phobia is chameleons, they think I am jooking and always test me. I hate it so much because that is the one fear I just have never been able to shake off. I remember when I used to go to school if I come across one on the way, my mum knew I would just turn back to go home. I know I should probably get over it, but I really don’t know how to. I took my hands off the wheel for a few seconds while driving one day when I was at home because there it was, crossing the road ever so slowly. I knew I was safe in the car, but it didn’t stop me from screaming and averting my eyes from seeing it. Luckily, I was driving on a dust road, slowly and there were no other cars.
I remember when I was young, one of my main prayers to God was for him to remove chameleons from the world or I was going to die (I truly believed it at the time). Until I was around 12 years I realised that was not fair. They are also God’s creatures and they deserve to be here too. I still believe God compromised and gave me a gift to sense when chameleons are near so that I can change direction. Even if they camouflage themselves, I can sense their presence. For that reason, I can never visit Madagascar because I heard it is home to the biggest and widest variety of chameleon species. I have vowed never to go there. My home country, Zimbabwe also has lots of them, but I try not to be outdoors too much in the season when they are most visible. I love places like Cape Town and Eastern Cape in South Africa and Hong Kong where I can confidently say I have never come across one.
I know it sounds crazy and weird, but that is my phobia. I have another weird phobia but that is a story for another day. Does anyone know what the fear of chameleons is called? Is it a thing? Tried googling it and I just got another page full of the dreaded creatures. Today is just not my day…