It's been another year living with my severe arachnophobia, and unfortunately I have not yet encountered a radioactive spider that could turn me into Spider-Girl, ending my fear of becoming one myself. It's a scary time of year, although it always seems to be that way for people with my condition. In the summer you can't go outside because they're all over the place, and in the winter you can't go inside because they're all over the place. When spring cleaning comes around, all you need to do is move a piece of furniture to realize they're all over the place. And let's not forget autumn; just when you think it's too cold for them outside and too warm for them to be back inside, there are fake spider decorations all over the place.

It's time to look for a realistic alternative, and fast, because I am officially unsafe in school. After an in-class incident with a spider, I realized that they are now personally fucking with my education.

I would rather them think I had the shits like any other college kid than the awful truth that I was terrified of a half-inch creature. I was in one of the newer classrooms at school, which had a very interesting high ceiling, contrary to the very high uninterested me gazing at it. It was a semi-circular room, with big windows showing the Pine Barrens in the background. I admit that someone in such a condition should have never even applied to a college in the middle of the woods. My only advantage here would be if the Jersey Devil was on my side, eating all the spiders, in exchange for the occasional student sacrifice of my choice. Instead, these spiders are getting a free education, interrupting my own, and it's justified because they eat all the "bad bugs."

On this particular day, my first reaction to seeing a spider on the ceiling was to bolt out of the room and never return, but it was the beginning of class so I knew I should try to stick around. I watched this spider's every inch, as it traveled down from the ceiling, into the sea of students, only to make its way back up to the ceiling before landing on someone. It repeated this many times, each time moving to a slightly different place than before. It was as if it was waiting for the right shoulder to land on. Once it got about 20 feet away (20 feet too close) I bolted out of the room. I knew my classmates wondered why I did this and probably came to the conclusion that I had the shits. Now that I think about it, I would rather them think I had the shits like any other college kid. Let them believe I pulled an all-nighter studying, drinking coffee, and procrastinating on Facebook, rather than the awful truth that I was terrified of a half-inch creature.

I've been doing a lot of research lately on how to get rid of this phobia. I have no interest at all in trying exposure therapy, because I could not deliberately put myself in a place where I knew there was going to be a spider. I would die if someone ever put me on one of those talk shows, although I'd look fairly normal sitting between the girl who is scared of pickles and the guy who can't stop eating fabric softener. There is also virtual therapy, which works like exposure therapy but you're only visually exposed to it, and not in person. I know this won't work though because I already have to avoid movies that I enjoy like Harry Potter 2 and Jumanji. I've even thought about starting a website for people like me to look up all the films with spider scenes so they can avoid them, much like the dudes in Knocked Up list every movie with nudity. The only problem is that I would probably die of fear halfway through the list's completion.

During my research, these help websites keep telling me to "accept that while spiders might be bad, no spiders are a lot worse." No spiders are a lot worse? I'm pretty sure that in a world of no spiders, I am fearless and undefeatable. A world where I can get back to the finer things in life, like climbing trees or into small cabinets and closets when I'm drunk, knowing that I'm alone. A world in which I won't feel the need to wear my eye mask over my mouth at night to prevent spiders from dropping into my mouth. A world where I can walk outside on a summer night without dressing in a quarantine suit. A world where I can move to Australia, or at least visit. A world where I can say the word "spider" out loud, instead of referring to them as "S's", as if they were a Harry Potter villain who's name cannot be spoken. (Yes, that's two Harry Potter references and yes, that's the same amount you get on a first date with me. But if we're discussing transportation plans prior to our date and you suggest taking the "floo network" then consider yourself already stood up.)

I have been looking into hypnosis lately to finally get rid of this fear. I am hoping my unconscious mind won't be a stubborn asshole like my conscious mind. Maybe if I face them in my sleep, I can face them later in reality. Hopefully afterwards, I can move on with my life, live in peace, and maybe find something else to write about. It's a little pricey for a broke college kid like myself but it really is now or never. The last thing I want is for my future children to develop this fear by watching me go through it. It could always be worse though. They could notice my reaction to them, and make it a point to bring me every spider they encounter, like my dog bringing me dead birds and expecting a treat in return. Regardless how my kids feel, and whether hypnosis and everything else fails, I will use my kids as personal spider shields, throwing them in front of every spider I ever encounter.