Irrational Fear Friday: The Internet

Happy Friday, pals! If I were a more consistent and confident content creator, you would already know that it’s about that time for your favorite anxiety-frought celebration of cosmic cognitive distortion proportion: Irrational Fear Friday!!!! #IFF#IFF#IFF#IFF#IFF

It’s suuuuuuper awesome that I haven’t posted one of these since, well…the first one, but I’m doing my best at juggling my Work-Work balance and I’m just not good at this yet, cut me some slack, Jack! But aside from actually being quite busy and not taking the time to sit down and write out my thinky thoughts, the topic of today’s post is a huge reason why my blogging (and Gramming, and Tweeting, and Snapping, and Facebooking, and Tumbling, and whatever other made-up verb-ings) has not proliferated.

It’s not like I’m too old (no such thing anyway, #AgeismSucks) and don’t understand this magical World Wide Web; my generation literally invented social media. (Seriously…Mark Zuckerberg was born approximately 15 months earlier than, and 20 minutes away from where I was born. Granted I didn’t go to Harvard, but I think Vassar isn’t terrible…)

So, what gives? How come everyone in the world doesn’t seem to have a problem posting their lives publicly for everyone to see with abandon? Scrolling for endless hours, consuming news, entertainment, gossip, tragedy, and the private lives of others?

Because it makes me feel like shit. That’s why.

Yes. I know that people only post the good stuff and that social media is a distorted, over-curated, painfully optimistic view of people’s otherwise messy, complicated, and boring lives. I’m not an idiot. But that doesn’t make it sting any less. That doesn’t give me back the hours I waste pouring over hi-res overhead food photography, timed #ootd selfies, and endless retweets of the same socio-political rants and raves. It doesn’t prevent the Imposter Syndrome. No amount of emotional reinforcement and mindful self-awareness can stop that creeping feeling of inadequacy. All the mommy-blogger inspirational text posts in the world cannot assuage that fear that I am not enough.



And if it wasn’t enough that IRL celebrities are prancing around, inadvertently making me feel like human garbage, now normal everyday people are internet famous for normal everyday things. I literally have NO excuse NOT to be a wildly successful household name, now! Even fat girls who don’t wear make-up can inspire a huge following and win that coveted blue check-mark we all want so badly. I have nowhere to hide anymore…


a “dank meme” by @cabbagecatmemes

And don’t even get me started on the Analysis Paralysis. Do you even know how many podcasts and channels and blogs and thought-influencers there are?! And they are all THE SAME! HOW DO I CHOOSE!? That’s what I thought…you don’t know either. And you probably waste hours scrolling and viewing and reading and listening, right? Where do you get those hours! I barely have time to do laundry! Do you just not sleep!? Or am I so bad at procrastinating that I actually do work while I’m procrastinating other work while normal people dick around on the internet?


Again, like so many of my more recently acquired shortcomings, I think a lot of this is caused by the neuroendocrine shitshow in which I was forced to participate for the majority of 2016. I’m slowly but surely returning to my late ’00s-level internetting. But that was still relatively tentative, fearful internetting.

In case you didn’t know, I inhabit a marginalized body: female, fat, and chronically ill. YUP, I know I have privilege, thanks, and also I’m sorry. But it still sucks in my own, personal, painfully neurotic way. And what is a blog if not personal and painfully neurotic? Anyway, I’m a broken fat chick, and it’s never been good on the Internet for those (let’s be honest, it was never so hot for those in the Outernet either). So naturally, despite my love of performing and the proverbial spotlight, I retreated into my lurking shroud and engaged very rarely with any Internet that stretched beyond my personal circle of actual human beings that I knew in tangible, physical reality.

And how much does that suck?!

(spoiler alert: it’s a lot)

I’m a funny guy! I’m creative, smart, talented…I have SO many reasons not only to enjoy consuming all the internet has to offer, but to actually participate as well.

So blah blah blah here is my journey of self-discovery and blossoming into the empowered, successful, and fulfilled womyn I was meant to be yada yada…

But more on that next time….



Irrational Fear Friday: E.T.

***Warning*** If you are also afraid of E.T., and you haven’t “come to terms with it” yet, I don’t recommend reading on…

To kick off the first official Irrational Fear Friday, I’ve decided to discuss the OG of Irrational Fears, my very first, and most terrifying fear: E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.


Me, circa 2007, expressing how I really feel at Universal Studios, Orlando, FL.


Yup, that’s right. My greatest fear is a friendly and benevolent 80s cinema icon. “But Hillary,” you might say, “E.T. is so cute! And he’s a good guy,” you might continue. “He’s not scary.” Yeah, ok, sure. That wasn’t enough to convince poor young Hillary, who had been unwittingly forced to view the entire film at the tender age of three by a clueless babysitter. “Oh, but saw E.T. when I was like, five, and I was fine…” Oh! Ok, well then I’m sorry, you’re right. Those images burned into my developing brain…that croaking, creaking voice…the recurring nightmares…that’s all nothing, don’t even worry about it!


2008. Another successful exposure.

No. NO, cynical amalgamation of everyone who’s ever laughed at me for the abject terror induced by this lovable, wrinkly little alien! You’re wrong. The fear is REAL. There are DOZENS OF US!

But seriously folks. It became a part of who I was. My fear of E.T. became an endearing personality trait. But it wasn’t so cute for me. I was genuinely and semi-permanently traumatized by the film. I would like to take a serious moment to acknowledge and be grateful for my privilege in that E.T. was the worst trauma of my childhood (other than fat-shaming and bullying, but more on that in a future post). But I still had vivid, viscerally frightening nightmares. In fact, I have woken myself up screaming twice in my life, and both of those times were E.T. nightmares. At 8 years old, I refused to go to my best friend’s house until she hid all of her E.T. stuff in her closet. In middle school, they would show movies on a big screen in the cafeteria during recess if it was raining. One day in 7th grade, it happened. They showed it. I recognized the film almost immediately after it came on. I screamed. Like, not just some cute little “ah!” but a 1950s, B-horror flick scream, and I hid beneath the table. Needless to say, I was mortified. It took a while to live that one down.

Here are some classic movies I refused to watch for a long time because something about them reminded me of E.T.:

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

ETvsYoda This is obviously ridiculous, because this is the greatest Star Wars film ever made (so far). I saw A New Hope at 6, but I didn’t end up seeing Empire until I was maybe 10 or 11.

The Neverending Story (1984)

oracle Are you kidding me with this? The oracle is straight up E.T., but like…a girl? I can’t believe this one got past my parents.

Short Circuit (1986)

ETjohnny5 johnnyfive

Don’t even tell me you don’t see it, too…

Really anything that had a head wider than it was tall, or a long neck, or long, creepy fingers, or any glowing body parts could “trigger” me. I even had a hard time watching Drew Barrymore movies.

Here are all the classic movies I didn’t see until I was in college because my parents thought they would scare me:

  1. Jurassic Park
  2. Terminator and Terminator 2
  3. Jaws
  4. Any of the Alien films

I suffered a crazy gymnastics accident at 8 years old, and when they put the red glowing pulse meter on my finger, the nurse thought it would be comforting to tell me it was like in E.T. Luckily, they had administered valium and I can’t even remember how I reacted. And every fuckin’ time my family went to Disney World, we had to drive past this advertising abomination:


Alright, I admit…this is actually cool AF.

By the time Wall-E came around, thankfully, I had come to terms with E.T. as a cultural phenomenon. I had seen the film several times without crying or running out of the room. I had even seen the 20th anniversary theatrical re-release in 2002. I had ridden the ride at Universal Studios countless times, for some crazy reason. (The first time I was 12, and although I had nightmares the following evening, I managed to get through the ride without launching myself off the flying bicycle or even closing my eyes!) But until I was in college, I would still get nightmares whenever I exposed to E.T. media or paraphernalia.

And a good buddy of mine in college thought it was hilarious to tease me about my E.T. phobia. This was back in the old days, when we still used AIM (AOL Instant Messenger. Google it.) so this guy would IM me saying he found a picture of a cute puppy. I, being a huge sucker for all cute animal pictures, would always click on the link. It would usually be something like this:


When the E.T. sequel trailer parody was posted, this buddy sent me the link under some most likely adorable ruse, but I caught it in time and never watched it. My husband finally had to sit me down and force me to watch it several years later. Sobbing frightfully and trying to close the laptop, he held my hands away and pressed the spacebar. And it was….totally fine. And actually super funny. I would’ve thought the very idea of an entire race of E.T.s invading would be the fear to end all fears, but it really wasn’t bad. I was also beyond the phobia at this point; it had transcended fear and had become this crystallized little core inside my personality; a funny joke from my childhood and adolescence; a harmless children’s character from a brilliant film…and yet, my heart would still catch in my throat when I saw that iconic silhouette in front of the moon. I would still flinch if his image appeared for some reason in my web browser. Although I was no longer truly terrified by this one-time monster, I still harbored a very deep-seated, almost instinctive sense of…cautiousness.

The internet could be a particularly dangerous place for random E.T. sightings, and it was the WORST when that E.T. concept art was released, and again when it made the rounds on the internet a second time a few months later. I mean, whatever, I can look at it. And I won’t get nightmares any more (except for those two screaming ones…those were in adulthood -_- ). The movie is actually really great, Spielberg is one of my idols. And yes, I get that he is kind of cute. But damn, dude. LOOK at this guy!

Why E.T. is Terrifying

Well, thanks a lot, guys. Now I have all of these E.T. pictures saved to my computer. *Sigh* And every time I want to upload an image to my blog, he will appear in my WordPress album. But these are the sacrifices we must make for conquering our fears…and also comedy.

See ya next week for another terrifying installment of Irrational Fear Friday. Thanks for reading, pals!

#IFF: Irrational Fear Friday


Ok. So clearly, I’m not doing a good job blogging/creating content/social mediaing. And why is that, you might ask? “You were so active for a couple…months…” you might add. Fear. The answer is fear. With an anxiety disorder, a lot of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (oh, hey, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) are influenced by fear a.k.a. worry, nervousness, or unease. And many of these fears, spoiler alert, are super irrational. I fear rejection, failure, vulnerability…all of the things that go hand in hand with putting yourself out there and having your voice heard. I want so badly to advocate for the causes that I hold dear. But, like an adorable turtle, I retreat into my shell, afraid of the world (wide web). So, considering this, I really think it would be fun, both from a self-discovery and growth perspective, and awkwardly hilarious entertainment perspective, to explore some of my irrational fears. And what better way to organize the thing and literally force myself to write about it than an easy-to-remember, catchy hashtag! IFF is an acronym that could mean any number of things on the internet: Image Fest Friday, International Flavors & Fragrances, Internet Freedom Foundation…but I’m going to go ahead and appropriate it, and now it’s #IrrationalFearFriday.

That’s right, folks. Every Friday I’ll be discussing another of my irrational fears and how totally and completely ludicrous they are. And hopefully, for anyone else who suffers from anxiety or excessive worry, you’ll realize that you’re not alone! And I mean, who doesn’t suffer from anxiety these days. Jesus. Let’s be honest: some of these will be more ridiculous than others. But I think some will resonate with many folks. Human beings are emotionally fragile creatures. Resilient ones, but fragile nonetheless.

I’ll keep this one short and sweet, since it’s super late (gee, I wonder why I put off posting this until 10pm….): my entire being is dictated by my fears. My fear of taking risks, of the unknown, of imperfection. I know there is so much potential inside of me, so much creative and joyful energy…I just have to break down those fears, just say “fuck it” and take those risks, put myself out there, try new things. Find my bliss…Sure, being afraid of failure is relatively rational. It sucks to fail! But what is irrational about it is that I don’t even try. And thus…I automatically fail. Well, I’m calling myself out on my own bullshit now. It’s time to face the ultimate fear: the fear of everything.

And so we commemorate the inaugural Irrational Fear Friday. But don’t worry, my dear reader, it shan’t be a mope-fest, a time to weep over how our brains are dumb-dumbs for being afraid of such silly shit. Nay, it shall be a time for mirth and hilarity, trust me 😉 After all, the blog’s called Hillary Be Laughin’