Hello. My name is Madame Weebles and I’m a trypophobic.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that most of you haven’t heard of trypophobia. It isn’t one of those phobias that everyone knows about, like claustrophobia or acrophobia. But it’s real. Peculiar, but real. Google it. You’ll see.
Trypophobia is basically a fear of holes. Or, more accurately, it’s an extreme aversion to holes. Or clusters of holes. Or other clusters of things clumped together. It’s hard to explain. Things like honeycombs. Cracked earth. Spores. Seed pods. Wasp nests. Holey cheeses. Closeup images of pores or cells. Clusters of alien eggs in horror and science fiction movies. The bubbles that form on the top of pancake batter as the pancakes start to cook.
I’m not just saying that these things gross me out or that I hate looking at them. It’s waaaayyy beyond that. I’m saying that they affect me on a visceral level. I get physically and mentally repulsed. I get angry. I panic and squirm. I feel nauseated. I desperately want to flee and wash off all the cooties.
This isn’t something that affects me on a daily basis, fortunately. If I were a beekeeper I would have a big problem with all those honeycombs, but ordinarily I can go about my days happily, free from offending visuals. Although every once in a while a television show will sneak in a honeycomb or cracked earth or some other nasty hole-riddled item and I have to close my eyes. And I have to prepare myself when I watch movies because you never know when they’re going to show some sort of pods or insect sacs or vampire eggs or something. But I can safely watch cheese commercials because I’m okay with most cheeses. Most.
Yeah, I know, it sounds strange and silly. But hey, if you’re going to have a fear/intense aversion to something, it may as well have some comedy value.
I didn’t even know it was an actual thing until a few years ago. I assumed it was just my own personal weirdness. Then Mr. Weebles found an article about trypophobia on the Internet—he showed it to me and said, “I think this is what you have.” And sure enough, that was it. After years of getting wigged out by all kinds of dots and holes, I finally learned that my weirdness had a name!
Nobody really knows what causes trypophobia or why these images trigger this reaction in some people. There seems to be a genetic component to it because it tends to run in families. My mother has it too, and I didn’t even know it until I mentioned it in passing several years ago and she said she had the same problem. There are theories that it involves genetic memory—a primitive, instinctive understanding that things with holes can indicate decay, disease, or danger, and should be avoided. But I don’t know that this sufficiently explains such an intense revulsion.
If you want to have some fun, do an image search for “lotus seed pod” or “Surinam toad.” But be warned: they’re really disgusting, even to a lot of people who don’t generally have an issue with this type of stuff. But just the idea of them is making me sick and creeped out right now. It makes me wish I could scrape my retinas to rid myself of those images forever. Unfortunately, I will always have pod- and toad-related flashbacks. Those horrific little fuckers will haunt me until the day I die.
Okay, I have to go and throw up now.