Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to know about the land of bees. All I knew as a child was that generation after generation, my family cared for bees—they were beekeepers. I actually recall getting stung by a bee right by my eye; my face swelled up so big that I looked like a character straight out of a horror film. At that moment, I was petrified to look at myself in the mirror because I believed that my face would stay that way forever.
Thanks to that painful experience, I’ve spent my entire life years fearing bees simply because once ago, I got hurt by one. Now whether I was living with Apiphobia: a natural fear of bees, or not, I think that’s what we all do. We experience a sense of pain and a sense of discomfort, which then leads to confusion that develops into fear. Fear that hunt us everywhere we go.
See, there are three different types of bees; there is the queen, the workers, and the drones. The queen can live up to five years being taken care of by the workers. The only job that the queen has is to lay eggs and enjoy the protection of other bees. The workers on the other hand only live forty plus days literally working themselves to death. Did you know that it takes an average of 768 bees and a visit to over 2 million flowers to produce just one pound of honey–just one. Last but not least, the drone’s task is to help the queen reproduce, after which the queen immediately suffocates the drone to death. One can only question whether the drones themselves live in constant fear aware of their disastrous destination.
It was an early spring morning when I found myself enjoying a cup of tea in my dad’s backyard, when something I feared my entire life decided to land on the tip of my nose. At first, the buzzing sound reinforced my inner fear, but then it was the weight of the bee, something so foreign to my nose, that bothered me. I began to try to remove the bee from my nose when suddenly, it stung me. After some painful time, the pain began to dissolve and as I looked to the ground, there laid that dead bee– that dead bee that had once stung me. What once felt so heavy on the tip of my nose now lay there, weightless and lifeless.
You see, when bees sting you they die. Bees literally lose their entire insides when they become afraid of you. I must have sat there for over an hour just looking at that dead bee. I knew that it was just one in a colony of about 60,000 that lived in my dad’s backyard, but that one particular bee, it died fearing me.
The point is that all bees perform different roles in order to ensure the smooth running of the entire colony. From the second that the eggs hatch, the bees just seem to know their duties; they seem to understand their own purpose. I realized that I have spent my entire life searching for something that this dead bee knew from the beginning. What once created a buzzing sound that annoyed me, more importantly that reinforced a childish fear that lived within me for so many years, is now dead, I killed it. Further, I realized that the only thing that stands between a buzzing sound and a dead bee lying on the floor was time. That in time all fears fade away, they too, will find a way to escape you.
So what is it about fear specifically that gets our adrenaline running faster than time itself? Could it be because we actually enjoy having no control over our own emotions? What if we feared nothing and faced absolutely everything with our gut and courage? Would we then be satisfied with our given time, would we walk with heads up high and feel completely safe to conquer the world? Or, would we feel lonely and dissatisfied because facing whatever it may be came with such a sense of safety and easiness?
Let’s think about it, if the ancient men who lived in caves thousands of years before us spent their entire life fearing the wild beasts, would they all die out in their caves? Or did they strategically plan a way to escape and build a life for themselves while facing all that was out of their control?Suddenly, I couldn’t help but wonder, could it be that trying to escape our inner fear instead of facing it head on goes against our very nature?
Personally, I have accepted fear as a huge part of my life, perhaps to some degree, we all have. During the process, I have learned that it is in those moments when our hearts are pounding, and our palms are sweating that there is a part of us that might actually enjoy the feeling of having no control over all of the possibilities of the unknown. Fear is such an unpleasant concept, yet so raw because it leaves us feeling so vulnerable, and so helpless. Yet, somehow when I see a bee, there is brief moment in which I begin to wonder; will you sting me? Will you lose your life for me? Maybe fear reminds us of that first childish feeling we might have experienced when we took our first breath of fresh air, or when we first opened up our eyes and saw the beauty we have entered: a world filled with love and pain. And although, truthfully, most of us cannot escape fear because it’s innate, I have learned not to kill everything I touch because I fear it. I have learned to take a deep breath and enjoy the buzzing sound for what it is– a passing bee trying to fulfil his purpose while fearing me just as much as I fear him.