Did you know that arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders, is one of the most common phobias? Because I suffer from it, I admire those who aren’t afraid of spiders. For example:

  • People who eat them, like Angelina Jolie did while she was visiting Cambodia, where fried spiders are a delicacy
  • Singer Billie Eilish, who had a tarantula crawl out of her mouth in her music video
  • Wilbur the Pig, whose best buddy was a sweet barn spider named Charlotte
  • French-American artist, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), who created large-scale spider sculptures, some of which I got to see at the Louise Bourgeois Spiders exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) recently
Oculus Bridge inside SFMOMA

I call this the “Face Your Fears” floor of the museum. In addition to spiders, I’m also afraid of heights. Talk about exposure therapy to get rid of my phobias!

Walking across the short bridge was not a problem for me. But when I looked down through the thin grate floor and I could actually see four floors below me – that was not so easy! Then at the end of the bridge I saw the massive spiders!

According to the SFMOMA website (no pun intended):

“Louise Bourgeois created the first of her darkly compelling spider sculptures in the mid-1990s, when she was in her eighties. The artist saw spiders as both fierce and fragile, capable of being protectors as well as predators… Partly a reference to her mother, partly to herself, spiders for her represented cleverness, industriousness, and protectiveness.”

As the security guard welcomed guests to the gallery, she gently reminded us “to stay 18 inches away” from the sculptures.

Will do! Don’t have to tell me twice!

OK, to be fair, not all spiders make my skin crawl. For example, the animated character, Lucas the Spider, is absolutely adorable and he makes me forget my fears. Check out this short episode: Lucas the Spider – “I’m Starving”

Then just when I thought I was getting over my fear, I come across this article about a tarantula the size of a dinner plate dragging an opposum!