Conquering Phobias

I have a weird phobia …

Globophobia: a fear of balloons.

Now, this isn’t an invitation for you to appear in front of me Pennywise style with a bunch of balloons — that might earn you a punch to the nose.

My problem with balloons is that it makes my anxiety blastoff whenever I see, or imagine, someone blowing one up. This sensation then heightens when I imagine said balloon popping in the individual’s face — as it’s doing right now.

So R.K, were you terrorized by a mini car full of clowns? As fun of an origin story that would be, no I  wasn’t. It all started when I was 14ish. A cousin of mine was having a party and long story short, we blew balloons up and they kept popping around me. I also watched a few popped in my cousins’ faces. [Insert horror stricken scream.] I never thought anything of it until I came across someone blowing a balloon and I almost lost my s**t! A feeling of claustrophobia kicked in. A feeling of dread washed over me. And then it dawned on me: balloons are evil!

A glimpse of an evil balloon.

I avoided balloons at all costs. Unless I had to attend an event that featured them, I usually declined offers to kids’ parties, baby showers, and so forth.

This all changed a few months ago — when I attended a clown festival by accident. I was invited to explore an old comune called Monte San Guisto, when I stumbled across the Clown & Clown Festival. I had no idea what was happening — language barrier. Hundreds of people were in attendance. The place looked festive. Vendors, carousels, art, foods … and clowns. That wasn’t so scary.

Until it began to rain balloons! Balloons were everywhere! Some were in people’s hands and the larger ones were crowd surfing. When I tell you “I wanted to curl up in a ball and die,” I truly wanted to do so. And then the thing I dreaded most started to happen: they began to pop in every direction.

  1. I am from Brooklyn, where loud pops meant run or duck for cover.
  2. I felt trapped in a nightmare.

Unfortunately, this was one of those times when I had no choice but to stick around — I had no access to transportation and a child was with us. Since my Mama didn’t raise a quitter, I faced my phobia. I gritted my teeth, whipped out my phone, stood in a corner and did my best to drown it all out. Finally, we left and I was able to release the breath I had been holding for an eternity.

I am not saying I am cured. However, I am able to ignore my discomfort more than I used to. It’s okay to face our phobias, especially if the encounter might make us stronger, and even more resilient than we already were.

Smile, no balloons are around here!

Spoiler alert: I survived this encounter.


Click here for more photos and videos (balloons included) from the Clown & Clown Festival


6 thoughts on “Conquering Phobias”

  1. I’m not keen on balloons – nasty squeaky, bouncy things. My daughter was terrified of people on stilts when she was little. And people wearing wigs!

    Liked by 1 person

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