Clean up in Aisle 3.

Apologies for the two week halt on posts.. it happens.

I have considered writing a blog-a-day. Then I realised the daily immortalizing of my often non-eventful, non adventures may bore some readers to tears, so weekly-slash-fortnightly is as good as I can do right now.

Today, friends, I’d like to talk about fear.

Not the existential kind, or the try-to-feel-better-about-it-with-quote kind, but the phobia-run-away-lord-help-me-it’s-happening kind.

Most of you that have had the incredible good luck of knowing me (#hahaha) will probably know I am terrified of vomit. You’ll know because instead of conforming to social norms like asking what you do for a living, or what your favourite movie is, I will probably tell you (not that you asked) that I am emetaphobic. Yes, there is a word for what is wrong with me. I may even ask you when your last sick day was, and what your symptoms were.

If you still want to get to know me after that, then we might have a chance. If you haven’t recently vomited that is.

I have no idea why I am scared of throwing up, or why I will likely go white and run away fast if you say you are feeling super nauseous. I’ve tried to analyse it. I’ve asked around, I’ve even been to a clinical psychologist who taught me mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy.

I quit when he mentioned exposure therapy. No thank you Mr fancy degree, I will not be throwing up in a garbage bin alongside you, but good try. Fill your boots.

My earliest memory of vomit-fear involved a kid on one of those long seat forms that they squish 12 squirmy kids on at primary school. One minute we were all eating our lunch as chillaxed little 5 year olds, the next there was a salami infused puddle on the ground in front of him. I took this as my cue to nam the f*ck out of there to the trees where we were banned from playing. To hell with stranger danger, I was not going to hang around to and wait for whatever happens after someone rejects their processed meat products in such a violent matter. (Is it death maybe? It seems like it would be death).

*weird side note.. I have never had a problem with salami. How Curious*

My trajectory of fear pretty much escalated from there. If someone coughed in a manner I deemed ‘too gaggy’ I’d be gone. If someone asked to leave the room because they felt sick, I stop-dropped-and-rolled. It was intrinsic. I became quite the escape artist.


I can count on one hand the amount of times I have been sick myself. Make that half a hand. And no thumbs. Needless to say this fear kept me away from most teenage parties. And merry-go-rounds. Probably for the best. I hear they removed merry-go-rounds from many playgrounds. They said it was “for safety” but I know what they really meant.

I have gotten better over the years, likely due to the fact I have 3 children, and they are predictably walking vomit portals when they are small.

I can now travel by plane without interrogating the passengers either side of me about whether they get airsick. I can generally watch people throw up in movies, and I can stand in the other room yelling “you all good?” if one of my teenagers has had too many tequilas has a stomach bug. So really, I’m probably fine. Kind of.

Things I still cannot deal with:

  1. People posting on Facebook that they’ve been up all night with their children who have filled their bed with puke. (Why the F*CK do I need to know that? Sleep outside where it’s safe people, come on!) If you write that as your status, I will avoid you for the next 2-3 months, until your whole family, including the cat, is cleared.
  2.  People who stand on the side of the road with their hands on their knees. Even if they are in lycra, and just catching their breath, it still looks like a Friday night on the piss pose to me. Avoid.
  3. 21st birthdays, bus trips (or traveling vomit cans as I like to call them), or that milk chugging thing they do at youth group events.
  4. The gastro ward at the hospital. I’ll send a card.
  5. Chicken or rice leftovers. That’s just common sense, right?
  6. Small children in malls that announce they ‘don’t feel good’. Get the hell out of my way Timmy, I’m coming through.


And while we are on the subject of sick children in shops.. I don’t understand why people take the stomach-bug-infested out shopping. I mean, I get it if it’s an emergency and there is no-one else that can look after them, but ‘he hasn’t thrown up in 12 minutes so let’s go to Kmart’ doesn’t really fly with me. I once worked in a toy store and a mother came in with an obviously unwell child who proceeded to create a LITERAL ‘clean up in aisle 3’. This then caused a chain reaction of ‘sympathy vomit’ staff who were then running for the toilet. I, on the other hand, was bolting out the trade entrance to burst into tears. NO-ONE needs Lego that badly.

Okay, so maybe I’m not quite as chill about it as I thought I was. But I am working on it. I’ve watched Fear Factor without the pillows over my face. I mean, that’s got to count for something. And pretty much I won’t burn the house down when there is a stomach bug happening (A: they don’t happen in our house because I forbid it and B: Even if they did I obviously wouldn’t be standing close enough to the house to light the match).

So that’s my fear.

Irrational? Sure.

Annoying? Definitely.

Overcome-able? Maybe.

But avoidable for as long as I can possibly manage because denial is real and I am not about to bond with a garbage can?  You betcha.







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