First of all I want to start off by saying that if you ever meet me in person ask me to tell this story. Apparently I tell it very passionately. Galeophobia or Selachophobia is a fear of sharks and I have it. The story is quite entertaining so sit down, grab your popcorn and prepare to chuckle a few times but also feel my pain because sharks are scary.
My first encounter with a shark was around the age of 7 and 9. Somewhere around there. My dad caught sharks for aquariums. One of my clearest memories is visiting an in between storage place for sharks before they make the big move. Anyway they kept the sharks in a large salt swimming pool. Which obviously made me picture sharks in a swimming pool for years after. You couldn’t get me to relax in a dark pool. Our one pool has a lump at the back of the pool in the deep end. It just appeared over night and when my foot accidentally grazed over the lump I practically learned how to fly and jumped out of the pool with lightening quick reflexes. I scratched my stomach on the pool side. One of the scratches made a scar. It’s my war wound. I wear it like a badge of honor. If anyone asks I got the scar from falling out of a tree or fighting off a tiger. Something erotic or cool and not I nearly peed my pants as I tried to escape a harmless pool. It took me weeks to climb back into the pool and much less enjoy swimming in it. I suffered that summer. Anyway back to the pool of sharp teeth. A man that worked there also lost his arm feeding the said sharks although that could’ve been a story my dad told me to scare me away from the pool. It scared the living shit out of me. Those sharks could’ve swallowed me whole in one bite. Heck I wouldn’t even have filled their stomachs. I would’ve been their snacks. You know like a fruit snack before lunch.
My second encounter with a shark still makes my skin crawl. Around the same age my mother and I went for a boat ride with friends. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon and we went further out than we planned. The boat wasn’t exactly equipped for the deep sea. It’s a rubber boat. Which is basically a little blow up boat that can go down with a nick or scrap of sharp shark teeth. It was all fun and games till a shark circled our boat for who knows how long. We just sat there, terrified to breathe as the shark contemplated its next meal. Luckily it decided to skip human flesh and settle for fish blood and we went home. At this point not only was I terrified of swimming pools and possible sharks in it, swimming in the sea started to become uncomfortable. Believe it or not I had one more shark encounter which is the last straw.
At the age of thirteen my friend and I went for some beach fun. Believe it or not at that time I would still go into the sea without a full blown panic attack. I was okay and actually had fun but I remember the feeling. My instinct told me to get the fuck out and if life taught me anything it was to always listen to that voice. I panicked out of the blue and forced my friend to get out of the water with me. Eventually we went home and once I left the beach I relaxed. This happened on the Saturday if memory serves me correctly. That Monday the news read that a teenager boy was bit by a shark in the very area my friend and I were swimming and guess what. The time was pretty spot on with the time we were playing in the water. After that day I’ve had enough. You couldn’t get me in the water no matter how hard anyone tried. I’m comfortable at knee depth water. I will see it coming and I can still escape it. I’m very nervous and two steps away from a panic attack at hip depth water. This time around I won’t see it coming but I can still get away with my life if luck is on my side. The absolute big no, no is in shoulder depth water in the sea. It’s a full blown panic attack I can’t even try to explain it.
Over the years I’ve had many nightmares to do with sharks. Two are still bright in my memory mostly because it’s funny. I don’t ever want to have that dream again but because this blog isn’t nearly long enough to go up I’m going to tell you all. Trust me, it’s funny and definitely worth the read.
In nightmare number one I was around 15 years old. It started off as a weird dream. I can’t remember the details but I was on a swing in the middle of the night talking to the president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela at the time. You know the scene in the one Harry Potter movie. I think it’s the dark prince one. The scene where Harry and Dudley are in the park before the year starts. They’re having an argument and suddenly dementors showed up. That is basically how the park looked in my dream. The weather was dark and gloomy and the park is definitely one of those you shouldn’t go at night or you will be murdered. Anyway I’m going of track. Back to the nightmare. Nelson Mandela was fresh in my mind because for about two weeks at the time we were learning the Apartheid in history class. I have no idea what we were talking about but the next moment a wolf appeared. Therapists would say the wolf was my step dad from the time but that’s a story for another day and I’m not sure I’m ready to share it. Anyway the wolf lunged to my chest and at that very moment in real life my cat launched onto my chest so everything felt so real. My shirt moved. I felt the weight of the wolf (or cat) and I definitely felt the claws. I woke up with a start completely freaked out and heavily unimpressed with my cat. Now what does this have to do with sharks? I’m getting to that one. A few nights later I have another dream and this time around I was on a yacht. It was a big party and people were jumping off from the top of the boat and swimming around in that area. The scene comes straight from a movie. I have no idea what movie it was but you get the idea. Anyway in this scene I was one of the idiots mocking about in the water when the camera angle changed and the shark music started to play in my head. I could see the shark come up and bite my leg. Another scene from a movie I’m sure. Fuck me did I feel the pressure on my leg. The sharp pain. I felt it. I woke up nearly pissing myself from fright and guess what? My cat jumped from my closet onto my leg at the very same moment the shark bit me. It scared me shitless and I couldn’t fall asleep after that. Stupid cat.
In nightmare number two I was probably 16 or 17. This one was really and I mean really weird. I’m not even sure if I can tell the story correctly because it’s also kind of confusing. So I was on a row boat in the middle of a very dark lake. Surrounded by a orange like mountain on both sides. More like a cliff, it just went straight down and into the water. It was on all sides and I was basically trapped. The only way I could escape was somehow row myself to the edge and rock climb the mountain or cliff to the top. It was the game plan I had in my head after waking up in the row boat. So I tried to row with my hands and suddenly a shark swam up to where my hand was. I had seconds to pull my hand away before it broke the surface. It came straight up in the air and suddenly it shape shifted into a human man. Apparently I knew this man because I squealed from happiness, jump into his arms and kissed him like he was my lover. He quickly pulled away and in that dramatic way like you see in the movies begged me to leave with him immediately. Apparently our love was forbidden and his parents just found out and if I don’t run now I will be killed. Before we could get very far with the stupid tiny row boat his entire family showed up. They stayed in their shark forms but I could understand what they were saying. They were angry and pissed off that he was with me a lowly human and basically said if he doesn’t leave me right now I will be killed. Lover boy begged his family, proclaiming his undying love for me and why my life should be spared. Somehow he won his family over and it looked like everything would be just dandy when there was sudden commotion. Another shark family, the enemies in this dream, was on its way and they hated humans. They won’t hesitate to kill me and lover boy because well he made a human his lover. So everyone jumped into action to protect my life. Lover boy jumped out of the boat, changed into his shark form and pushed my stupid little row boat to the edge so I could climb the cliff and escape. Before we made the cliff the boat was thrown over and I could see a fight between my lover boy and another shark. I swam as hard I could and made the cliff. With adrenaline pumping through my veins I climbed the cliff like some Spiderman to the top. Once at the top I looked down and it was a bloody murder scene. Everyone killed themselves and traumatized me beyond repair. I did the dramatic scream into the sky before I woke up. So even though no shark bit me it still scared me and definitely made me feel all type of weird things. It’s a funny one.
Again I repeat myself; if you ever meet me in person ask me to tell this shark story in person although I haven’t told the story about my two nightmares in awhile. Awwh well. It just happened somehow. Nevertheless I have an agreement with sharks. I stay out of their home and they stay out of my home. So far it’s been working for us but I did have one dream where the sharks started to walk on its fins on land and I woke myself up with a big fat NO.