Irrational Fears

“I had an inheritance from my father,

It was the moon and the sun.

And though I roam all over the world,

The spending of it’s never done.”

― Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls


One’s nature, character, fears, interests are all stunningly bewildering.

An uncanny fear befuddles me; water horrifies me.

I have never had a traumatic experience in the water. I know how to swim.

To be more specific, I dread drowning. It is the worst and most torturous way to go (to me).

I always found this strange. I couldn’t pull the sting, follow it, and find the stem of this irrational fear.

My grandmother passed away when I was young. But occasionally, some of her stories resurface in my conscious collection of random thoughts.

Her brother drowned in a river, they never found his body. He was washed away by aggressive thrashes of wild water. Vanished. Left my then-young grandmother in mourning with no prospect of closure.

Fears get passed down to us through DNA, or so I have heard. Then maybe there’s the answer. My grandmother moved on, got married, and had children, but her lingering terror of deep rivers was gifted to me.

Maybe that’s why looking at the ocean and being on the beach engulfs me with serenity.

In a way, I feel like I am connected to her. She is not with us, but a very real part of her still lives in me.

Yes, it is uneasy to have irrational fears that you don’t understand. On the other hand, it is astonishing that the very feelings that she had, are embedded in me. Without me even trying. I only inhibit an independent part of her, that stands on its own, and lives in my mind, my body, and my heart every day.

It’s not just blood and flesh, it’s an intangible feeling. It’s private to me, no one can see it or touch it.

I can exclusively see the world through her eyes for just a second. As if, she is looking at the world and tugging at my heart.

Isn’t the human body and mind amazing?

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  1. That’s a really interesting concept – the transfer of fears. My grandmother was terrified of moths and I will admit they always startle me

    1. That’s so interesting Deb, so I’m not the only one with irrational fears.

      1. Course not – we all do irrational

  2. I never knew any of my grandparents well enough to know if I inherited any of their fears. I do know that I inherited some of my strange and quirky ways from both of my parents, though.

    1. Ha! Yes, the similarities to my parents is just too many to count. I find them in myself sometimes cool and other times a bit annoying.

  3. Another great post. Coincidently I’m just in the middle of writing the complete opposite of this (about my love of the sea) but I have however inherited a fear of flying, something that, as a small child, I was never scared of but after watching my dads fear of flying over the years, somehow I have now adopted too without any choice in the matter! I find it interesting how these thoughts can be transferred

    1. Ah, I am looking forward to reading that post.

      It is indeed interesting that you weren’t scared of flying to start, but then adopted it from your dad. The human mind is full of mysteries!

  4. I believe in genetic memory, in fact it is a theme in my book.

    1. That’s so cool, I am starting to believe in it too.

  5. […] about how water raises a turmoil inside me, and how I conjecture that inheritance has roots in my grandmother. What other fears did my ancestors feed into my […]

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