The ability of fear to control me is a bit of a sore spot at the moment.
As mentioned before, I like to consider myself reasonably independent. I live alone, and, while I'm cautious, I'm generally free from the catastrophic fears that apparently plague women residing by themselves (e.g., every sound is a burglar), other than the eight-legged kind. I work with criminals and the mentally ill without massive catastrophizing. My neuroses and ruminations tend to stick to the fairly everyday realm.
However, it is funny how quickly that all can change-- especially ironically when in my last week of living alone.
I was out late tonight at an end of semester potluck on campus (a bunch of clinical psychology students and profs watching and overanalyzing "In Treatment" = awesome). On the bus ride home, a classmate and I were seated near the back of the bus, chatting about something mundane in the realm of course selection. Suddenly, from the front of the bus, a man turns around, and starts frantically shushing me. I meet his eyes, confused, as there are a number of other people yammering away. The eyes staring back at me are angry, and profanities start coming from his mouth, indecipherable, but definitively directed at me. As he turns back to face the front window, several other bus riders meet my eye, looking as confused and concerned as I am. I am too frightened to get off the bus and begin my 5 block walk home without him leaving first. Oddly, he gets off at my stop, and I stay on for two extra stops, preferring a longer walk to another chance encounter with this fellow with an inexplicable disdain for me.
As I paced home, eyes open to every dash of movement, forcing my guy to remain on the phone with me and listen to my breath until I made it through my front doorway, it occurred to me how much power was in than less than a minute interaction. I'd gone from feeling confident to afraid in the period of a moment. And I find that, and the fact that I'm still feeling more chilled than normal in my own home, absolutely infuriating.