Posts Tagged With: The Culture Monk

Day 496: Fun with Phobias (Part III*)

Several months ago, I wrote two posts about phobias (here and here), which I defined like so:

…  personal, inexplicable, exaggerated, and illogical fears I’m feeling …. in the present.

When I thought of “Fun with Phobias” in February, I knew it was a personal blogging goldmine (or “cash cow,” as people say in the marketing biz). That is, this was a topic I could use repeatedly, getting new value from it with minimal effort.

And yet, while I returned to that blogging golden cow the very next day, I have not used it since.

In the therapy biz, here’s a question people often ask:

Why now?

That is, why am I returning to this topic, on this particular day, after a hiatus of many months? As usual, I have a multi-part answer:

  • A friend recently used the word “fearless” to describe me. I took issue with that label, and we discussed how I (and he, too) actually do this:


  • I have lots of seemingly unrelated photos I want to show you, and — since I am capable of feeling fear about almost everything — this topic should provide an easy way to introduce whatever-the-hell pictures I want.
  • It’s Mother’s Day, and Mom-o-phobia is something some people may have felt or experienced, at least for moments (although I’m not experiencing that now, in any way).

While I could, at this point, indulge in some Intro-Blog-o-Phobia (the fear of writing a not-good-enough beginning for a post) … instead, let’s proceed to phobias with photos.


1.  Miss-o-Phobia.

The fear of missing things — including people, experiences, and objects (in the past, present, and future).

For example, I saw this penguin, a week or so ago:


Then, a few days ago, I took another picture at the same location, to show how a tree there had blossomed:


And, while I noticed changes to the tree … what did I totally miss?  Changes to the penguin.


These days, I might also experience Miss-o-Phobia about:

  • Co-workers.
  • The groups and individuals I do psychotherapy with (when my health is better).
  • My mother.
  • My father.
  • Anything or anybody not in my immediate vicinity, at the present moment.


2.  Ticket-o-Phobia.

Two meanings: (a) the fear of forgetting, losing, or otherwise not-having-on-hand a necessary ticket (for a trip or an event) and (b) the fear of getting a parking ticket.


Note: The latter manifestation of this phobia is often co-morbid* with Quarterlessness-o-phobia, the fear of not having the correct change.


3.  New-o-phobia.

The fear of experiencing something or somebody never encountered before.

I experienced this feeling yesterday, on my way to meet somebody new:


Wait! Who is that?

Guesses, anybody?

Time’s up!

That’s The Culture Monk, a blogger I admire, a/k/a Kenneth Justice.  Kenneth has been taking his show on the road, with his “Drinking in the Culture Tour,” and I went to see him at a coffee house in Cambridge, MA.

It was great to hang with Kenneth for an hour, and talk about many things, including the past, present, and future of blogging and (not surprisingly) fear (eeeek!).

I told Kenneth, when I met him, that he wasn’t as intimidating as I had feared.  Instead, he was instantly easy to talk to (which I also knew, on some level, from reading his blog).

As usual, my fears of the new — once I faced them — were unfounded.

And, as I was reminding myself on my way to meet him, Kenneth was NOT new to me. I have been meeting up with him, here in the blog-o-sphere, for quite a while.

Whenever you encounter something new, familiarity is also there somewhere (although you might miss it).

Speaking of that, those who are familiar with ME may have noticed, in that last photo, somebody else I admire: Jackie Chan*** (in the lower left).

Yes, Jackie Chan was NOT new to me yesterday and … neither was The Culture Monk.

So, maybe the old saying is true:

There is nothing new under the sun.

Which gives me a GREAT excuse to end this post with some other photos, recently taken under the sun.

In order of appearance:







Happy Mother’s Day!

Thanks to everything and everybody who helped me write this post, including fears, Susan Jeffers, parents, work, Kenneth Justice, Jackie Chan, the sun, the Dalai Lama,  and … you!

* The number in the post title is a roman numeral meaning “3,” although I could easily have written 110 previous posts about this topic.

** “Co-morbid” in the therapy biz means “occurring at the same time.” Despite the way it looks, it has nothing to do with death. (Eeeek!)

*** I’ve blogged about Jackie Chan before: here, here, here, and here.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism, quiz | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 370: Reasons why snail mail freaks me out

Almost 200 days ago, I wrote a post called Why I’m Anxious Today (E-mail, anybody?)

Since I wrote that post, I’ve made a change.

(cue drum roll):

I’ve performed a hyphen-ectomy on the word “e-mail.”  That is, I now write it like this: “email.” This may be a small, irrelevant change to you, but that’s an example of something I like to tell people: “Every change, no matter how little, counts.”

Admittedly, that’s not a GREAT example, plus it’s a digression away from my title, today, which is NOT about email, but rather about …

(cue drum roll):

Snail Mail.

I confess: Both email (with or without the hyphen) AND snail mail make me anxious.

Today, I shall expound on the anxiety-provoking qualities of snail mail for me, these days.*

Reasons Why Snail Mail Freaks Me Out

Reason #1:  There’s way too much of it.

This applies to both email and snail mail. As a matter of fact, I just checked that earlier post about email, and #1 was the exact same phrase with the exact same punctuation!  What are the chances of that?

I guess the amount of snail mail which arrives and accumulates around here is REALLY** making me nervous, because I’m trying to distract you (and myself) with (1) rhetorical questions about coincidences and (2) inviting you and me to go into the past.

Okay, so back to The Here and Now …. that is, the amount of snail mail there is in my life, today.

I would take a picture of the amount of mail there is, in my immediate vicinity, as I write this post, but … I have some shame about that. So I won’t! You’ll just have to imagine how much mail there is — opened AND unopened.

Okay! Now, I assume that the amount of mail you are picturing right now has to do with … your own feelings, thoughts, and experiences about Snail Mail.

Actually, you know what?  Forget your experiences. I am going to reverse myself, right now, and CONFRONT MY SHAME about the messiness of snail mail in my life. In other words, I shall take a photo, right here at Blogging Central.  Hold on ….



Here’s something interesting about that photo:  Blogging Central has looked much neater in previous posts, like here, about a month ago:



And in case anybody reading this post is thinking — regarding that first photo — “Gee, Ann. That doesn’t look like THAT much mail!” … let me show you another photo, from the Here (actually, upstairs from where I blog) and Now:



Hold on, there’s more:


One more:


Okay, here’s my dilemma, at this point in my post.

I’ve started a list, about reasons why snail mail freaks me out, and I don’t want to add another entry to that list. I think this might be enough. Which leaves me with a list …. of one. But, hey!  It’s my blog post!  I can do what I want!

So what is my major point, in this List-of-One post, today?

What do you think?

(pause, giving you space to think about what this post means to you….)

Now, I’ll tell you what I think: I think this post is about shame regarding my organizing my external environment, including how — when I try to get better about something —  it often looks and feels worse (at least for a while).

I am letting go of shame, though, in general, and as I try to get better organized about snail mail.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s helping, right now, with snail mail organization  …..

Throwing more away.

(New) Rules About Throwing Mail Away

I shall throw mail away if:

  1. It came before a certain date AND
  2. It’s not important.

What gets in the way of that?

Judging what’s important.

That can be challenging, for lots of reasons, including the fact that so much snail mail has a strong opinion about its own importance. For example:



Guess what?  I just threw those away.

Thanks to people who are organized about mail, those who are not, and …  I guess that includes everybody.  Wait!  I also want to thank you, especially, for visiting today.


* I say “these days”, because snail mail has changed, over the years, Including what we call it. Before email, snail mail was just “the mail” (in case you don’t remember that).

** Ka-ching!  I now owe more residuals to The Culture Monk, who uses REALLY in his title, every day.***

*** At least, for now.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

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