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Rubrica from Italy: Face your fears

By Elisabetta Somaglia


Fears are not only normal but are necessary. They are useful to protect us in several situations and also to save our lives.


Just think about fire. What would happen if we weren’t afraid of fire? We would burn with serious consequences.

And now think about the fear of height! What would happen if we weren’t afraid of height? We would fall off a cliff without thinking about the devastating or deadly effects.

Now we say that… WE OFTEN HAVE TOO MANY FEARS.

I don’t know about other parts of the world but in Italy, for instance, most people don't like insects, especially arachnids and we are so afraid of them we run away as if they were tigers. And notice that we have spiders a few millimeters long here!

I’m a coward too. I realize I'm a little crazy, but when I see a red spider, for instance, a millimeter long, maybe less, I call my husband to help me. And I shout, “It is really very big this time, come quickly!”. Because, of course, he doesn’t trust me about the dimension of the beast. And notice that I don’t want him to kill it. So I make my husband take a glass and a piece of paper, catch it, and put it out of the house.

Then we are afraid of mice! Oh yeah! I love mice, but many many men and women would become a sort of Bolt if they saw a mouse. And… even if the animal is a very little white mouse. My father and my mother-in-law are so afraid that they can’t see a stuffed mouse, I swear!

Someone is afraid of hens. Now have you ever seen a hen biting a human? Have you ever seen a horror movie titled “The hen”? Noooo. I’ve seen “Jaws”, which in Italy was released under the title “The shark”, but NEVER a thriller or horror movie with hens. Can you imagine many giant advertising posters scattered all over the city with the picture of the hen’s wide-open beak?


The worst fear is really the fear of what differs from us, different from something we are used to. These are the worst and more dangerous fears: the fear of a chador, the fear of black skin, the fear of a turban, the fear of a different way of praying, the fear of a homosexual. These cases are many, sometimes they end with a smile and in others, they change into pure racism, the worst human behavior that leads to war, hatred, increasing distances from peoples, ignorance, and reduction of empathy towards anyone.

So, let’s continue with our fears of height, of spiders, of mice, of hens, NO PROBLEM, BUT please let’s erase prejudices toward what differs from our concept of normality because it is often enough more knowledge to understand that there is really nothing to be afraid, but there is a lot to learn from who is only apparently different from us. Only deep social problems create wars and violence, not the way of praying, dressing, eating, or loving.

Whoever you are, in whatever way you pray, whatever is the color of your skin or the dress you wear, and whoever you love, I love you!


From Italy all my love to everyone,

Elisabetta



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