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August 22, 2012

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Let me introduce you to Charlotte

Madigan made…  baby steps towards overcoming a fear.



Today I’m veering off topic for a minute to chat a little bit about ‘me’.

But, stay with me on this because in a weird way, it actually has to do with a craft project I just finished. I want to talk about a phobia I have that many of you could have, too.

People that know me in real life can probably tell you right away what I’m most afraid of. Spiders.

‘Afraid’ does not begin to describe this fear. Petrified is more like it.


I am so afraid of spiders that just the thought of them sends severe shivers down my spine. Whenever I see a picture of the eight-legged beasts, my heart beats faster and I quickly cover my eyes to avoid the scary image.  Part of me hates Halloween because you can not avoid all of the fake, plastic arachnids that crawl the shelves in the seasonal aisles. Yes, I am terribly afraid of plastic toys.

And if a little spider has the pleasure of being even 10 feet from me in real life? He’d see me run so fast in the other direction screaming for help. (Even if he was barely bigger than the end of an eraser.)

I had severe arachnophobia until earlier this summer. But some of that fear has dissipated a little.

What changed? Well, it all started this past spring when I hung my Hawaiian lei wreath on the front door.


I came home one day and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the wreath. There was this huge (in my mind!) spider web covering the center area of the wreath.

But I was not shaking and scared when I saw the web. I think it was because the spider web was centered perfectly in the wreath. I was struck by the beauty of it. But, part of me knew that where there was a web… there was an owner that was not too far away.

I could not see the insect, so I opened the door and quickly ran inside. Then, from the inside of the glass door, I spotted the eight-legged creature tucked under the back of the wreath.

How could I kill this bug that created something so beautiful? I couldn’t. Plus, this was a little spider (no bigger than a dime in diameter). And maybe it would eat some nasty pests? So, I left the web up for a few days and hoped the creature would move on.


But the issue was that she did not move! Every morning I checked and every morning a web was there. She was still there, too, hiding under a fake flower petal for shelter.


Yes, I started to refer to the insect as a female. Somehow, that made her seem less intimidating. And after a few more days, I decided that she needed a name. Something happy and friendly. “Charlotte” seemed apropos.


Since the wreath was hanging on our glass storm door, I was able to stand inside the door and safely get close to Charlotte with a protective barrier between us. I studied her through the glass.

And you know what? In a weird, delicate sort of way, I kind of thought she was pretty. It is hard to tell in these photos, but Charlotte was a copper brown color and when she spread out, she had these thin, graceful legs. 

Who knew that someone like me would ever describe a spider in that way? Perhaps it was because she was nothing like the big, hairy beasts I often imagined spiders to be.

Charlotte made her home on our front door for awhile. Part of me wanted to take down the wreath and put up something for the Fourth of July. But Charlotte did not want to leave and I decided not to disturb her. Some nights, she’d move her web a little and spun it on the edges of the wreath. But I loved it when she would weave it right in the center.

Then one day, after about 2 weeks of Charlotte protecting our door… she was gone. And part of me actually missed the spider. <----  I still can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.


Now, does this mean that I am over this phobia? No way. Not by any means! But I am making baby steps.

I do NOT plan to welcome spiders into my home with open arms and I still don’t think I can stand looking at pictures of big, hairy tarantulas on TV. My heart skipped a beat when I saw those big, black, eight-legged plastic decorations at the dollar store this past week. Yes, Halloween toys still made me uncomfortable.

BUT – I am now a bit more tolerant of little spiders when I encounter them. If I happen to see a tiny, wee little spider, I try to remain calm, give him or her respectful distance. I just imagine that they are one of Charlotte’s cousins and not trying to bite me. Baby steps, mmkay?


And what on earth does this story have to do with a craft project?

Well, I have ALWAYS been so afraid of spiders that even spider webs bothered me. This fear always limited my choices when decorating for Halloween. But, thanks to Charlotte, I have a new appreciation for the beauty of spider webs.  I attempted to make a fall craft project that involves webs. My version is not as pretty as the real thing, but stay tuned.


Want a sneak peek at what I used to make the project? Check out this video to see what crafts supplies I recently received in the mail:



Any guesses about what I made? Come back tomorrow…. I can’t wait to show you it.