Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Say What You Whale, Cetaphobia is Real.

I'm sure you are dyyying to know. I gave you the little teaser, but with no true explanation. You're baffled. You're suspicious. You're hurt.

Who the hell is scares of whales?

I am, my friends. I am. I have self-diagnosed cetaphobia, or the fear of whales. Let me make something clear: a phobia is not the same as a normal "fear." I'm also afraid of large spiders, sharks, and car accidents. So are you. That's because those things are scary.

Phobias are marked by their irrationality. There are people with phobias of clouds. Of butterflies. Of the color yellow.

Of whales.

There isn't a legitimate reason that I can give you for my fear. You fall from high places, snakes bite you, you suffocate in tight spaces. These are obvious fears that make sense. I understand that you may never fathom my phobia.

Let me get something straight: I'm not in a constant state of panic about whales. I'm not currently afraid a whale will eat me. And I'm not worried a whale will walk into my living room and shoot me. But seeing whales (realistic ones, not cute ones) on tv or in movies nearly always gives me a heart attack. I never suspect it-- they're so damn sneaky!!

Why whales are scary:
The only good reason I can give is their size. Whales are enormous and in my head, they're even bigger. I also get slightly nervous about submarines, but it's not the same. I guess just the fact that whales are massive AND have thoughts is a little nerve wracking. I mean, if a submarine went past you, it's not like it's the sub's fault. But that whale swimming beside you knows you're there and--HOW DO YOU NOT GET SICK THINKING ABOUT A WHALE SWIMMING NEXT TO YOU?! ROBOTS!!

I have a clarification at this point: because my phobia centers around size, I am not afraid of Beluga whales (Hello?! Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea?! What is scary about that?) and I am also not afraid of Killer Whales which, yes. The irony. Ha ha...ha...ha. But Killer Whales are whales in the same way that tomatoes are fruit. You can classify them all you want but are you about to mix them up with cantelopes and strawberries? *shudder*...okay I might have a new phobia now.

I hope you all appreciate how scary this next part is for me. This is up there with Google image searching "large spider" or "herpes"...you know whatever you get is going to be the worst thing ever. But here are the most terrifying whales, in order:

1) Pinocchio.

My theory is that this movie spawned my fear. Specifically, the part where Pinocchio swims past the whale and he opens his eye. HOLY JESUS SAVE ME. You are as big as that whale's eye. AN EYE. AN EYE THAT FOLLOWS YOU. AND IS ANGRY.

2) Finding Nemo.

When Dory starts speaking whale and slowly...slooooowly the whale comes out of the murky shadows toward you. Are you SERIOUS. I was clutching the arms of the movie seat like I was preparing for electric shock therapy. I probably should have had one of those bars to bite down on, too.

3) The Lightning Whale from Prince of Egypt. As already stated here, this whale comes with two terrifying factors: The element of surprise via the lightning and also the element of size comparison via the people walking past it.

4) Fantasia 2000

I have yet to watch this movie, but i remember the ads. Ohhhh do I remember the ads. Whales. Flying. That's all I need to say.

AND THIS COMMERCIAL. This thing ALWAYS sneaks up on me. Last time it was on, I was in a sports bar, where there were enormous screens on every wall. Imagine if "It" was on every wall of a restaurant. This is my situation.

I'm willing to laugh about my fear. I know people find it weird (although I cannot admit in honesty that I think it is. IT'S NOT WEIRD, THEY ARE SCARY.) But I joke about it anyway. Today I bought Adrienne a heart-shaped box of chocolates that says "Whale you be my valentine?" with an adorable whale with big googly eyes. See? I can laugh! I can joke! I can cry quietly when I get home.

EDIT: As I was writing this, Andrea, who is sitting next to me, showed me this video. Congratulations, you now have cetaphobia, too.

45 comments:

Kristin said...

you forgot to mention the intro to incubus' "the warmth." i remember you mentioning your fear of whales, but i didn't realize the gravity of the situation until that song came on in one of the yf van rides! i still think of you every time i hear it.

Anonymous said...

that whale from pinoccio is the scariest freaking thing. along with boys whose heads turn into squealing donkeys. And boys whose noses burst unexpectedly from their heads. The whole movie, really.

why is it that the shepard disney collection includes gems like pinoccio and alice in wonderland, but lacks cinderella and sleeping beauty?

because we're FREAKS, that's why.

freaks with irrational phobias.

Anonymous said...

^^ Hannah

Laura said...

HOLY GOD. I watched the video Andrea showed you on my phone, and my blood pressure stil went up. No joke. That was really scary. I'm with you, Emily. But also, lobsters. *Twitch*

Emily said...

Laura: I almost put a caveat specific to you to NOT WATCH IT because I was worried about the consequences. Terrifying. Terrifying.

Kristin: that song still gives me night tremors.

Hannah: because those movies are for stupid girls who are stupid.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not in a constant state of panic about whales. So what you're saying is that your whale did not leave you, you left it because it liked Neil Diamond."
So now you're saying maybe I didn't leave it because it liked Neil Diamond, but maybe it left me...ow...."
Thank you Dr. Marvin. :)

AND, I totally haven't seen Fantasia 2000 either, so we should probably wanna watch it together....brave our phobias together. Lova.

mom said...

Wait - I thought whales ate krill, and so I was never afraid! Now I've watched that clip and it's all different.

Sarah Lindahl said...

I just read a book called "Ice Hunt" and it was all about a pod of bloodthirsty legged whales that were hunting people. I thought of you.

Emily said...

A) That sounds horrifying

B) Sarah, I love so much about the way that you choose to be.

Miranda said...

I am afraid of whales too! I have to say though, killer whales are not actually whales. They're more closely related to dolphins than they are whales.

Emily said...

YES! Thank you, Miranda! And people think it's SO hilarious that I'm not afraid of them. NOT THE SAME!!

KK said...

Nope, you're definitely not alone. I am 23 years old and I've been scared (SO scared...) of whales since I was 6 or 7, ugh. And most people, including myself, would describe me as a generally rational person. But with whales, it's different. If I see a picture of one, or if one comes on the television, I freak and cover my eyes (if I just close them the image is still there, haha..), or quickly leave the room. People think it's funny, but it's NOT. Like the poster, I can laugh, okay, since most people can't appreciate the horror that these monsters are(!!!), but it's really not funny, lol.. And like others have said, killer whales don't scare me, in fact they are almost cute - it's the baleen whales that are scary... Especially humpbacks. But then again, most ocean-related things scare the crud out of me, including the ocean itself, ships (ocean liners...), subs, etc.. It's gotten better somehow over the years - I used to barely be able to say the word "whale," and I used to automatically think of them whenever in water, or showering, whatever - but the phobia is definitely there still. There have been times when I will watch a movie (like Whalerider, for instance) just to try and desensitize myself. I mean, being SUPER-SCARED but forcing myself not to look away - but those attempts resulted in weeks of nightmares *sigh*. So I just avoid as much as possible now.
And also, I scrolled down this post(I haven't watched the video yet) with my hand over my face, with just enough of a gap between my fingers to read line by line, and not see enough of the images. I'll probably have nightmares anyway, haha. If you can't laugh at yourself, you can't laugh at anyone else!

Alistair said...

Wow!

I really thought I was alone in this, but the way you describe it is exactly how I feel!

I have an addition to the unbelievably scary whale moments in cinema list - The Tom Hanks film Castaway. When He's on the raft and the camera pans back to reveal a giant whale underneath him.... jibblyjibblyjibblyjibbly!

And it's meant to be a comforting moment!

It's really neat to hear I'm not alone in this, I feel the exact same way about belugas and killer whales (though I always use sharks to express my phobia- I would much rather be stranded in the ocean with a Shark than a Blue Whale.)

Yay! Internet!

Emily said...

Alistair, YES! When I wrote this post, I had managed to block that scene from my memory, but I've rewatched that movie since, and it was HORRIFYING!!

Also, Homestar reference for the win.

Anonymous said...

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=6398937338

Emily said...

Already a member, but thanks!

Cetaphobic said...

I have had a big whale phobia since 4th grade. The thing with me is that I would be more scared by still pictures of whales, a little less of video images, and I would guess less still of the real thing -- although I am not sure because I've never seen one in real life. I am okay with dolphins, porpoises, killer whales, but NOT sperm whales and all the baleen whales. The pictures that freak me out the most are underwater pictures of whales and especially the pictures of them suddenly jumping out of the water. I am also get freaked by most pictures of underwater things, the open ocean, ships, icebergs, etc. But whales are the worst.

Tiffany said...

I AM SO GLAD I AM NOT ALONE! I TOO SUFFER FROM CETAPHOBIA! I blame my granny for this fear! When i was little i had to live with my grandma. She had some kinda Whale tape called "Whale Songs" of them making those ugly noises under water. she would always play it when I was in trouble. Cuz it sounded so scary and when she put it on I would quickly behave. Then as I grew up I would have anxiety/panic attacks when i saw whales on tv or movies. When I saw pinocchio for the 1st time I felt like I was gonna die! Its the ugliest feeling ever. But the movie that really caught me off guard is CAST AWAY with Tom Hanks! When I saw that dumb whale eye lookin at him i almost died. Its hard 4 me 2 even talk bout it again. Then last year my family decides we need to all go to sea world! Well every1 went... i stayed in a hotel. Im scared of all whales! My family and friends think its all a joke & would post pics or videos on my myspace or facebook or even play a whale cd. I now deleted all my social network accounts. Now they alil easier on me & try to understand. But i guess not every1 can.

Anita said...

Im scared of whales. ive been scared of them since i was 5. when i see a picture or video of them, i freak out completley. my friends dont understand, they think its a joke when actually its not. my family understand a bit, but really no one can help me to be honest :|. Im so glad that im not the only one whos scared of whales :). but im learning about them in science for my next topic and i told my teacher but all he did was laugh. they dont understand that i am actually scared of them. I just wish i wasnt scared of them, so when the next time i see a picture of them i wouldnt freak out and have a panic attack.

Krystal said...

O dear god im not alone. But i couldnt read the whole blog... As soon as i saw a tip of the picture, i covered the screen and kept scrolling.. so im sure i missed some of your post.. but you know what grinds my gears? 'Well, you are safe as long as youre on land' DUH! It doesnt change the fact that my heart feels like its going to jump out of my chest, palms get clammy and i could cry at the sight of them.

Sky said...

Ohmygod. I have the biggest fear of whales, but just the size. I'm not afraid of little ones, but Killer Whales make me wanna sh** bricks. That video almost gave me a heart attack. Ohmygod. Then again, I also have Thalassophobia, the fear of oceans... I once saw Shamou in Disney World, actually did shit myself. Thanks, mom. Great b-day prez.

Anonymous said...

2-D from the band Gorillaz also has a fear of whales. He was bitten by one in seaworld. (poor guy) But I can understand how terrifying it is to feel so dwarfed.

Anonymous said...

the feeling is mutual..thanks man!

Anonymous said...

"Now, mark. Unerringly impelling this dead, impregnable, uninjurable wall, and this most buoyant thing within; there swims behind it all a mass of tremendous life, only to be adequately estimated as piled wood is- by the cord; and all obedient to one volition, as the smallest insect. So that when I shall hereafter detail to you all the specialities and concentrations of potency everywhere lurking in this expansive monster; when I shall show you some of his more inconsiderable braining feats; I trust you will have renounced all ignorant incredulity, and be ready to abide by this; that though the Sperm Whale stove a passage through the Isthmus of Darien, and mixed the Atlantic with the Pacific, you would not elevate one hair of your eye-brow. For unless you own the whale, you are but a provincial and sentimentalist in Truth. But clear Truth is a thing for salamander giants only to encounter; how small the chances for the provincials then?

Andrea said...

But why, why would you post pictures of them!?! I was so excited to read a blog about someone like me and then puked in my mouth upon seeing the images. Yeeeeeeeeec

Anonymous said...

I've done a google search on this one. part of me appreciates the author of this post as I am afflicted with the same phobia. Everybody thinks its a joke but I still have to run out of the room every time David Attenborough gets his sea Legs. I cant look at images of whales even the ones at the top of this page freaked me out. So the other part of me thinks, if this is a page to help people like me PLEASE REMOVE THE IMAGES OF WHALES!

Emily said...

Haha, aw! You guys! I'm sorry for using photos in this post. The intention was to explain my fear to people without the phobia, to people who aren't afraid of whales and can handle the pictures. When I have time, I'll use links for the pictures instead of embedding them. That way you can view the pictures if you want, but can skip them if not. Again, my apologies. But cetaphobes unite!! There are others like you in the world!

Anonymous said...

I've been terrified of whales for as long as I can remember! I feel the same way about very large things, deep water and high ceiling, so I think they all are connected somehow... I can watch them on cartoons and on tv, as long as you can't tell how big they are (like a picture of a whale and a diver.. No bueno.) I know it's stupid and irrational to fear whales, but I can't help it. It's like when I see a spider; I can't think straight, I start sweating, heart races, and I'll basically have a panic attack if someone doesn't get it away from me.
But I don't feel so bad about it anymore after seeing some of these other posts... None of the pictures bothered me, but the video almost made me cry. (Though it did freak my boyfriend out and now he somewhat understands how I feel, so maaaybe it was worth it.. Maybe)

Anyway, your blog was very entertaining and it made me laugh about my fear. :)

kettx said...

THANK YOU FOR THIS!!! My friends think I'm insane! You summed it up perfectly.
I think the biggest thing for me is that huge ass whales can be under you at any moment in extremely deep water and that is SO. FREAKING. CREEPY. I am also terrified of submarines for the same reason.
Urban Outfitters sells a print of a whale coming up under a ship and it almost made me cry yesterday. I am so glad you people get me.
ps- agreed about belugas and killer whales. My fears only extend to humpbacks, blue whales and sperm whales.

Anonymous said...

Also afraid of whales, large fish, catfish, and any other big creature that lives in the ocean. In fact, the idea of the ocean itself makes me extremely uneasy. I think I may have been an unlucky sailor in a past life.

Nick Coker said...

I sort of have megalophobia, basically a fear of big things (usually in open spaces). This tends to incorporate big whales. It's not an outright fear, just a feeling of unease for the most part. Whale's might be the exception to that though...

Jessie Adamczyk said...

i am going to puke i am going to puke i am going to puke i hate whales and that vieo was awful oh my god vommit.

Jessie Adamczyk said...

I am going to puke i hate whales i hate whales i hate whales that video is awful puke vomit vomit

BeanGirl1983 said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-69X6y2H6_U&sns=sms
I think I may have a heart attack. So scary!

Lauren said...

Oh my goodness, I had to cover the screen for most of those pictures here haha. How about that commercial for 'Big Miracle' with Drew Barrymore which loved to sneak up on American Idol commercial breaks for a couple of months there. Or perhaps the most terrifying movie ever created 'Whale Rider'. *shudder*

Curt said...

Anyone seen the movie "Orca" which is basically the killer whale version of Moby Dick? That movie may be the reason that I am so terrified of whales. And the ocean in general... Glad to know I'm not alone!

Anonymous said...

This is a recent discovery for me =_= cutesy whales, belugas and orcas are totally okay. But giant sperm whales and humpbacks all those funny looking ones freak me out.
I get panicky.
They're friggin moving fossils. They look huge and ancient D:
And the fact that usually you see whales in the nothingness of the ocean freaks me out even more.

Melissa said...

Curt, I have seen that movie, thanks to my father renting it, thinking it was a kids' movie (although, clearly, the title "Orca: The Killer Whale" on the vhs box with the "whale" swimming in blood should have been a clue). A combination of that movie, Monstro the Whale, and a creepy documentary where the narrator says, "Out of the darkness appears the largest animal on Earth: the blue whale." And then the thing comes AT THE CAMERA just swimming straight past the filmmakers like it was NOTHING... Yeah, I'm a little damaged from these things. :P

Anonymous said...

I have always has a phobia of Whales, For as long as I can remember and yet ive never seen one in the flesh, But if they are on tv i have to leave the room! Im 26 years old and in my opinion normally a very rational person! I think its the same with the size, i always imagine them bigger than they are as well. I found your blog by simply trying to find out the truth to my own fear. Im glad to find im not alone!

Bas Bouwman said...

When I was just a kid I have seen Free Willy a lot of times, Orca the Killer Whale and finding nemo, But in the last 2 years (i am 27) my fear has drasticaly increased. I cannot stand the sight of them. In my whole life iI have never ever been afraid of something, but today another person tagged me on Facebook, and yes another HUGE whale. I want to get rid of it, espessisly because I am a movie and game lover, and more movies/games these days contain them. I see I'm not alone with this issue, but i stll cant understand how this could have developed on later age. The examples above have been scrolled over with peeled eyes. I am so afraid, greetings. Bas

Kiragami said...

Finally, I am not alone!!! I've spent so many years wondering if I was the only one afraid or if this was just some childish fear I needed to overcome. Now I know that I am not the only one. It's hard for me since I live in Alaska...there are freaking whales EVERYWHERE!!!!

SimplyMe11605 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SimplyMe11605 said...

ok so i dont even know when my phobia of whales started all i know is i can even see a cartoon with a big whale... whale wars is the worst show on tv.. i hate just passing it on tv.. if im in another room and just hear the blow hole of a whale on like discovery channel i get anxiety.. ive cried at just the sight or sound of one.. when i was younger FREE WILLY was actually a favorite of mine growing up.. those kind of whales dont really affect my mood..(tht much)... my main fear is of the blue whale.. the pictures you posted on this PHOBIA post were horrible...i had an instant anxiety attack.. n some of you actually watched the clip... shyt i scrolled so fat i didnt even see the title to the video.. if there even is a title lol. im glad to know im not the only one out there with this ridiculous phobia.. but its VERY REALL!!!! and i highly doubt theres any conquering a fear of the biggest animal in the world...

Jeremiah Chua said...

I thought i was all alone with one or two persons in the world. I'Ve always had this funny and freaking fear of these marine beasts. Just get to think about their gargantuan sizes!!! Im not b really b sure how it developed, i mean this fear we all share, but apparently a childhood memory aside from a traumatic actual encounter with whales could be trigger why we dread to see them even in pictures. For one i could remember the sight of free willy breaching to the surface, eat that grass my people, that color combination and mass plus all that water and fins and tails and eyes! Oh please recieve my body. Bottomline i think genuinely is their out of human scale immensity, and that anything bigger than a bus is deym quite on its way to being scary. I fear their size in general, then plus factor is their color. Lately been worried cause its progressing to include fear of submarines, ships, and even buses. Weeks ago, i can remember almost going hysterical while walking on an island along a highway because i was surrounded by long tall and dark colored buses. Ir kind of gave me the illusion of walking along with whales by my side.

Anonymous said...

I'm not scared of whales myself, but I will admit that those Disney films really know how to keep kids sleepless at night. Just look at Monstro. I mean, c'mon, a whale with carnivorous, human-like teeth that growls and swallows entire ships whole? What where they thinking?? Oh yeah, let's make a super, scary cartoon whale that will scar young children for life and give them a fear of whales so that they won't misbehave! Goddammit, Disney.