Eaten by wolves
Yesterday I made Bun Bun a little sticker chart to help her stop responding to every sibling conflict with blood curdling screams. At the top is the sentence Are You Being Eaten by Wolves? and then some further instructions. We’ve talked about the fact that screaming is for emergencies, and that examples of emergencies include fire, bad injuries (blood is coming out, is the criterion there), or being eaten by wolves. But it’s not like I don’t sympathize.
In a little bit I’ll go into the classroom to perform my Professor Bunny act for the 10th year in a row. I think about how I felt the first time I faced that giant room full of students, just a few months out of my PhD program. Extremely. Anxious.
In class we discuss the tapering down of sympathetic nervous system response to threats that aren’t actually threats, if you experience them repeatedly. Like, for a socially phobic person, stepping out there and looking at all those faces feels like it will result in death, but the probability is pretty low. So if you do it over and over, your brain will learn that it’s going to be okay. In ten years, I haven’t died yet. So while my heart still pounds, I can now pretend it’s excitement and not terror.
So yeah, I won’t be eaten by wolves, probably. But I will still be glad when this week is over.