Oh boy, I really have lost my mind. But have I? I opened the drawer this morning to grab a spoon for my coffee, and when I pulled my hand away, I immediately noticed a dark object stuck to the back of my hand. Half awake, I barely jumped, quickly recognizing the object as a living thing, a cockroach to be exact. I wasn’t much startled by this sight, I just blew on him, allowing him to fall to the floor and scurry away. HA! Some of you are probably horrified by the lack of reaction and couldn’t even fathom the thought of one of these critters being remotely near you, let alone touching your skin. And as I continued to fix my coffee, the thought occurred to me, that my reaction is not typical. Most people despise the cockroach, and I began to wonder why is there so much ugliness, fear, yucky, ill feelings toward these beetle type bugs.

In my personal experience when I don’t know anything about something or someone my first reaction is to be standoffish on engaging with that person or thing because I don’t know how it will respond to me. Do you like me, does it bite, is it safe, will I get my feelings hurt, will my life be in danger, are you smarter than me, do I know what I am doing, and the list goes on! All of these “what ifs” are fear based because I don’t know. The only way to get past that is to explore what you don’t know. Many moons (years) ago, I was faced with taking a dream job I had always wanted. One of the requirements of that job was that I would have to respond to nuisance snake calls which could and would lead to at times me having to remove a snake from someone’s home, garage, or perhaps stuck in a car! At that point in my life I had never handled a snake, and while I found them to be fascinating creatures, I was secretly afraid of them because I didn’t know anything about them except what I saw on TV or read in a book. I didn’t have a choice; I either forced myself to get past that fear, or I didn’t have a job. I needed a job! When I forced myself into and through the unknowing, walking through the fear, rather than around it, I was able to get past that fear, which was just made up in my mind because I simply didn’t know and had never experienced handling a snake. I quickly learned that snakes served a useful purpose and most importantly is that they are more afraid of me than I of them. Now, I am not longer afraid, and I look for opportunities to handle them. I have done a complete 180 on my approach to snakes and ultimately with bugs, cockroaches, bugs, and spiders.

You probably think that I am still crazy, but really if you can think past what society has told you how to react to a cockroach, a bug, spider, and snakes than you too can get past the fear of the unknown. Society portrays them as gross and something to be feared. STOP! Don’t be influenced, form your own opinion. See things in a different light. Think about a test you had to take, whether it be medical or at school. You were in incredible fear because you didn’t know what the test would entail, what would be on it, and what would the results be once complete. You don’t not take the test. You gather courage and walk through it, and once it’s complete, you realize you had nothing to fear despite the results. Things give us fear, but when we walk through them and get to the other side that very thing we were so afraid is no longer a concern. So I know it is a cockroach, how about if we change the name to Ruby Beetle, since they kind of look like a beetle and are rusty red. The next time you see a “Ruby Beetle” don’t scream, or run, or grab a shoe to squish it. Stop and look at it, their rather cool with antennae and skinny scaly legs. They serve a HUGE valuable purpose in life. Take a moment to read this intriguing short article by Live Science. Cockroaches are a food source for other animals, and they play an integral role in the release of nitrogen, which is used by plants. Without cockroaches, the plants would suffer, and plants produce oxygen and without air to breathe humans can’t live. It’s kind of like the presidential election. Every political candidate serves a purpose despite our fear of their leadership. That purpose could be just that they keep the conversation going because without the conversation of life where would humans be?