Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Prick or Treat!

51 Comments

Image courtesy of www.boston.com

Image courtesy of http://www.boston.com

When I was in the 7th grade, I begged my mother to let me get my ears pierced. When she finally agreed, my mother, sister and grandmother headed to the jewelry store at the mall. I was so excited, it was a day I had dreamed of for years. I sat in the chair and the clerk pulled out his piercing gun. I immediately fainted.

Everyone is afraid of something, most are afraid of many things. I’ve always had a fear of needles. The day I chose to confront that fear, I ended up stretched out on a bench in the middle of the mall. According to my sister, a crowd quickly formed. One man asked if he should call 911. As a teenager, my sister was mortified. She told the concerned man, “No, she just got her ears pierced.”

Fear humanizes us. As a species, it’s something we all share. When I develop a character I need to know her fears. A character without fear is automatically unbelievable and more difficult for a reader to make a connection. The fear could be something as simple as a fear of worms to something more integrated into the plot, such as a fear of dying alone.

Discovering what my character fears, why, and how she overcomes or tries and fails to overcome her fear, will tell a lot about her. These discoveries will contribute relevant elements to my plot. Fear is a powerful emotion and when it comes to character development, the possibilities are endless.

In everyday life, people deal with fear in different ways. Some conquer them by purposely exposing themselves to the things they most fear. A person with a fear of fire may decide to become a fireman. Now he runs toward the fire instead of away. As for me and my fear of needles, being a Crohn’s patient has forced me to face that fear. Every six weeks I receive intravenous infusions which often take a few attempts before the needle finds the vein. So far, I’ve never fainted.

With Halloween right around the corner, tell me, what are you afraid of?

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March, 2017. It's now able for pre-order on Amazon. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

51 thoughts on “Prick or Treat!

  1. So glad you put this post up now while I am able to catch up a little!

    Wow Jill, I am so sorry to read that you have Crohn’s. How ironic that you should have to face these needles so often in light of your fainting episode when you had your ears pierced. You are one brave and very courageous lady, I admire you greatly and I sincerely hope that you are able to keep the Crohn’s under control as best as possible…

    It does seem that in life we are so often forced to face what we fear most and the only way forward is to just walk right up to it, as does your Fireman, and meet it head on so that we can come out the other side still standing, fear or no fear. As do you.

    I found what you shared about character development and fear very helpful so many thanks for that!

    As for my fear? I have always been afraid of flying, and of course because I lived in America and my family were all in the UK I had no choice but to face this fear every single time I boarded a plan. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve flown and I hate it now every single time but I have to let my reason for flying outweigh my fear otherwise I would never have been able to visit my family and I just couldn’t face that.

    Have great weekend Jill πŸ™‚

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    • I really appreciate your kind words, Sherri. Living with Crohn’s has been tough at times, but I’m a lot better off than some patients and for that, I’m thankful.

      Family is number one, so it doesn’t surprise me that you face your fear of flying in order to spend time with them. I’m not a big fan of flying either, but I always remember that getting into our cars every day can be dangerous as well.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I know things have been tough for you lately, but I’m hoping for better days ahead for you and your family. Enjoy your weekend, Sherri.

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  2. Great post once again, Jill. I love when you focus on character building, which is something I’m doing right now in reworking the novel. These posts are great reminders.

    My biggest fear, without a doubt, is heights! I get weak in the knees just watching a high point of view on a TV show or movie. I’m also afraid of dogs and large animals in general.

    Funny ear-piercing story, fainting right in the jewelry shop! Remember when multiple piercings were popular in the 80s? My sister and I decided one day to triple pierce our own ears (just the left ear, since that was the trend). So we took our original piercing studs from years before and jammed the posts through our lobes until they popped out the other side. Still can’t believe we did that. Though the holes closed up long ago when the fad died out, I still have the scars there as a reminder.

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    • Thanks, Gwen! I’m glad you found the post helpful…we’re all learning as we go.

      Oh, I’m deathly afraid of heights as well and like you, I get weak in the knees, sweaty palms and sick to my stomach. Just the thought of going down an escalator makes me nervous.

      LOL! That’s a hilarious ear-piercing story! You must have been desperate to have pierced ears to jam an earring post through your ear. Too funny!

      Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing that story.

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  3. This dovetails in nicely with the story arc you talked about a while ago – a character has a fear which she/he has to overcome in order for the story to move towards its conclusion…
    As for fears – I found this quite hard to answer: there are many things I don’t like: dentists, hospitals, spiders, heights but they aren’t real phobias, and I deal with them when I have to. Lifts (Elevators) are something I always avoid, so don’t think I could ever live in a high rise! Putting contact lenses in is something else I’d avoid and which is why I wear glasses: I guess we find ways of dealing with stuff unless it’s deep – rooted.

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    • Thanks, Jenny. I’m not a fan of elevators either, I have a fear of becoming trapped. However, since I have a fear of escalators, I take the elevator when I have no choice.

      Well, I glad I’m not the only one with a fear of putting in contact lenses. I too wear glasses because the thought of touching my eyeball freaks me out.

      As I type this response, I’m realizing I’m just a big chicken when it comes to a lot of things. πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing your fears.

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  4. Excellent post Jill. It addresses something that we can all relate to-fear. I cannot stand the sight of blood, mine or anyone else’s. I have fainted quite a few times at the sight of blood, on most occasions it was my own blood. Darkness makes me afraid, and there are so many other things that scare me but they are smaller fears. I love Halloween and nothing scares me about it. A character that is fearless will be a very bland and lifeless character since it would not be genuine or close to reality. Dealing with Crohn’s disease must be hard, any illness is hard to deal with but you are a very brave person. Take good care of yourself. All the best. I enjoyed your post today, as usual. Looking forward to the next one. Take care and God bless.

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    • Thank you for your sweet comments, Samina. You’re always so encouraging.

      Like you, I don’t like the sight of blood. When I have blood drawn, I can never look at the tubes. I guess neither one of us would make a good doctor or nurse. πŸ™‚

      I hope you have a great Halloween. I bet you already have a great costume picked out. Enjoy!

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  5. I abhor needles. I used to have to get allergy shots every week and the doctor would jam the needle into my arm, usually right in the middle of the bruise he left the week prior. I can watch people getting hacked to bits in horror movies, but can’t bear to watch anyone getting a needle!

    Have a great weekend Jill. πŸ™‚

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    • You’re a better woman than me, Susan. I can’t even watch horror movies and if I do, the eyes are covered during the hacking scenes. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy your weekend. There should be plenty of horror movies for you to watch with Halloween around the corner…enjoy!

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  6. Great post, Jill! How awful and embarrassing! I’m glad you no longer faint at needles. My hat is off to you. Glad you’re getting the treatment you need.
    I’m generally fearful of everything. This comes from fear of failing. One year, I confronted my fear of rollerblading by taking a class and learning how to do it. I’ve been fearful of breaking a leg skiing downhill (I’ve done cross country skiing), so it’s time to confront that.
    I’m glad you brought up fear, because I need to address my characters fears. (I have three main characters.) One seems a little too self-assured. I need to humanize him more by addressing his fears. Thanks for this reminder!

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    • Thanks, L. Marie! LOL…we must be related because I too am fearful of so many things. I love that you confronted your fear of falling by taking a rollerblading class. I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to address some of my fears, but I’m not sure I would be as brave as you. If I had a fear of breaking my leg while downhill skiing, I just wouldn’t ski. πŸ™‚ Good luck working on your characters. Have a great weekend!

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  7. FDR said: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” After the needles, my hope for you is a fear-free life. πŸ™‚ xo

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  8. That must have been scary and embarrassing, Jill! I am glad my ears were pierced at birth – giving me no way of knowing what was happening. I had my daughter’s done when she was 6 months old. Culturally acceptable, I guess.

    It is ironic that you now have to face needles so often in your life. It’s an example of having to face your fears and doing what you need to do for your health. Like so many facing chronic illnesses, you are a STRONG WOMAN!!! Your strength comes through in your writing. πŸ™‚

    My biggest and newest fear is one I wrote a post about – fear of trains and crossing train tracks. I still don’t know how this developed but it’s getting worse! Who knew???

    I am still working on my jet lag and have been resting a lot but I best feel better since I have a big Halloween Party to go to tomorrow night. Have a fearless weekend!

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    • Thank you so much, Maria. You face your struggles with RA with courage and strength every day, so you’re in the STRONG WOMAN club too! I admire you.

      Fear of trains and crossing train tracks might be more common than you think. I think it’s normal for our fears to get worse as we get older. I know my escalator fear has definitely gotten worse.

      I’m so happy you had a nice trip to CA to visit your mom. Have a great time at the Halloween party tonight. I’m sure you’ll write a post about it. I wonder what your costume will be…Super Woman? Have fun!

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  9. What an experience! Maybe I’m glad my parents didn’t let me get mine pierced until I was 18! I’m afraid of lots of things. Heights and being locked in places.

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    • Honestly, I probably still would have fainted if I’d waited until I was 18. πŸ™‚ I’m with you on the heights and the locked in places. When I was little my sister zipped me up, head first, in my sleeping bag, it was horrible. Have a great weekend, Luanne!

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  10. If you’re talking about irrational fears, mine is flying. I tend to view the world logically and rationally, but, despite the data on flying safety, walking down that tunnel to get on a jet is like marching to the electric chair. I hate every last second of it.

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  11. Fear of travel by any means. I am ready to have Scotty beam me up! I think the root of the fear is getting lost. I think my family has a gene for it because some of my relatives completely refuse to fly. I travel when I have to but hate every minute!

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    • That is so interesting, Kate. I don’t think I would associate a fear of travel with a fear of getting lost, but it makes sense. Hopefully your relatives aren’t too far away so you can at least drive to see one another.

      I’m the same, I prefer to be at home. Thanks for sharing your fear. As I mentioned on your recent blog post, I also have a fear of public speaking…I sure have a lot of fears. πŸ™‚ Enjoy your weekend!

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  12. Jill,
    I laughed at your story! When I got my ears pierced at age 17, it was the piercer (a friend’s mother) who had to quit … after one ear. My friend had to even me up.
    As for your question, I’m afraid of spiders and heights. I don’t like needles taking blood out of me, but I can tolerate needles putting stuff into me (shots).
    Theresa

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    • Another home piercing story…too funny. I’m glad your friend was able to even you up. I remember when I came to on the bench, the guy quickly pierced the other side after I told him not to do it. Thanks for sharing your story and your fears, Theresa. I’m not a fan of spiders either, especially the big ones! πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend.

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  13. One of the things i fear is not moving forward, not growing – finding myself in the exact same place I am right now years down the road. I think because I came perilously close to ending up on a path I swore I’d never be on. Thank goodness I had a jarring experience that made move, Now I fear standing too still.

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  14. Kudos to you for confronting your fear of needles! I think my fears are mostly phobias. I don’t like crowded elevators, restaurants, stores – you name it. I don’t like crowds period – anywhere. So yes, I am afraid of crowds. Very interesting post!

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    • Thanks, Dor! I’m with you and your fear of crowds. I stay out of the stores as Christmas approaches. As for a crowded elevator, no thanks, I’ll wait for the next ride. Thanks for sharing your fear, Dor. Enjoy your weekend!

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  15. As a child I had no fears of any kind, which I suppose was kind of weird. But as I grew older I became more fearful. My biggest fear was a tornado because I was floated in the air by one. I’ve never quite conquered that fear, but I’m better than I was. I admire you for conquering your fear and it gives me hope of someday truly ridding myself of mine. I love what you said about discovering the fears of your characters. That’s a good piece of writing advice. Thanks.

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  16. As interesting as your piece was, Jill, I’ve found it equally fascinating reading about everyone’s fears. We’re a funny lot, aren’t we?
    I’m not wild about spiders, especially when they start to run, but my overwhelming fears are fire and water. I was involved in a house fire as an infant so that’s explicable, but the water one is silly! I’m a water sign and love water, as you know, but I’m horrified of the sea, and of the possibility of drowning.

    Ironic indeed about the needles. Hobson’s choice, I guess. πŸ™‚

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    • We are funny, Jo. I’ve also enjoyed reading about everyone’s fears. I feel more normal now. πŸ™‚

      You certainly have good reason to have a fear of fire. I’ve always had a fear of getting caught in a fire. Interesting you mention a fear of water, I too love the ocean, but I won’t swim in it out of fear of being swept away by the current.

      Speaking of water, we woke up this morning to a ruptured pipe in a bathroom. Water was gushing like a geyser. The water restoration company is here as I type this. 😦

      Thanks for sharing your story, Jo. Enjoy the weekend!

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  17. Our fears–and either our fight or flight…or drink or cower responses–are a crucial element of our personalities. So of course our characters’ fears are essential elements for us to understand and work with, too.
    Thank you for this reminder.

    p.s. When I was 14, my friends were piercing each others’ ears at slumber parties, using ice cubes, needles dipped in rubbing alcohol, and holding a small potato at the back of the ear to jab the needle into. My dad said I couldn’t do that, but he allowed my neighbor’s dad, our family dentist, to pierce my ears in the dentist chair. It was also to get me used to numbing needles and I hadn’t yet had a cavity that needed a filling, but they wanted me prepared for when that happened. (I was kind of disappointed; I kind of wanted it done the “cool” way with an ice cube and a potato.)

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    • I’m loving these home piercing stories. I’ve never heard of the ice cube and potato method, but it was probably best you went the dental chair route. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your amusing story, Marylin. Have a great weekend!

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  18. I remember my first ear piercing. The doctor paused to tell my mom I had two completely different ears. Different length of lobe, different thickness. I was in elementary school and it really freaked me out that my body parts didn’t match. πŸ˜‰ Totally distracted me from the fear of the pain for a few moments.

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    • What a funny story, Kourtney! I guess that’s one way to keep your mind off the fear. Perhaps that one ear lobe was slow in developing and has caught up with the other by now. πŸ™‚ No big deal if it didn’t, we all have unique features. Enjoy your weekend!

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      • LOL. Thanks for that kind thought. I didn’t realize human beings could be asymmetrical back then. One ear hole always tends to close up and the other presents no problem. Clearly I have mismatching pieces. πŸ˜‰

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  19. Holy cow! What’s with all these home ear piercings? I thought my wife was the only one crazy enough to do that. She told me all details of when she and her friend, about 16 at the time, decided to do the whole ice cube, needles and potatoes thing. All I could do was cringe. I thank God I don’t want pierced ears because I don’t think I could follow through with it, even having it done the proper way πŸ™‚

    As for irrational fears, I have to go along with those who mentioned flying. Can’t stand it and it terrifies me. Fortunately, I’m able to force myself onto a plane when trips are planned, but I hate every second of it. Want to know how bad I am? Have you ever seen the movie “French Kiss”? Watch the opening scene with Meg Ryan. Yeah, that’s me all right.

    I have other fears, but for now I’ll leave it at that πŸ™‚

    Great post, Jill. As always. Love how you blended your personal experience with the excellent advice on writing and character development.

    Have a great rest of the weekend!

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    • Thank you for the nice compliment, Dave.

      I know, I never knew all these home piercing were going on, especially with a potato! I guess your wife was part of the β€œcool crowd.”

      LOL! Yes, I remember that scene from β€œFrench Kiss.” That’s pretty bad, Dave. It’s funny because I have so many fears, enough to write a blog post a day for an entire year, but flying has never been one of them.

      Thanks for sharing your fear and your wife’s piercing story. Enjoy the rest of your weekend as well. πŸ™‚

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  20. I’m pretty sure I just answered this question on another blog, so I’ll give you the short answer……. I’m totally afraid of missing the opportunity to use the restroom. I can’t leave my house or office without a trip to the ladies, for fear of some disaster striking and me not having a chance to relieve myself. Yep, it’s a thrilling life of anxiety over here.

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  21. Just one fear: that’s hard. How bout my top three: spiders, heights, and snakes (you can throw in a lot of the different creepy crawlies). Used to be terrified of needles, but then I got sick and hard to do blood tests every month. I don’t like needles now, but I’m used to them. Saying that, I don’t have to have the tests as often thank goodness!

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    • LOL…I with you, I certainly have more than one fear. As I responded to the comments on this post, I discovered even more fears that I have. πŸ™‚ I’m glad to hear you don’t have to go through tests as often. That’s great news!

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  22. Yes, I can definitely relate to your feelings about needles. I had an MRI done a few years ago and did not learn until I walked into the clinic that the MRI would be done with a contrast, meaning that (at least non-radioactive) dye would be injected into me via IV during the procedure. I actually started whimpering a little bit during the MRI, and felt kind of embarrassed about it. It’s funny, even though I had major spinal surgery as a teenager and thus was stuck with far more than my share of needles, my feelings about needles largely remain unchanged. At least it gives me a good reason to keep myself healthy.

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    • I’m familiar with the MRI with contrast, Chris, that is no fun and definitely worthy of a few whimpers. I’ve had two back surgeries myself and you’re right, no matter how many times we’re poked, it never gets easier, just tolerable. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  23. Great post! I’m afraid of needles, too…and spiders, and snakes, and heights, and flying, and ghosts, and tsunamis…wow, I’m pretty much afraid of everything. I try not to think about it too much or I’d just stay curled up in a corner somewhere, but I think you’re so right that including fears in your fictional characters makes them much more relatable. For Mystic Cooking, our MC is a chef who is deathly afraid of chickens, which amuses us and also creates some problems with work. πŸ˜‰

    It’s been fun reading everyone’s piercing stories…I’m one of the few women I know without my ears pierced (see above fear of needles), so I like to hear about other peoples’ experiences. Thanks for sharing this!

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    • Thanks! We must be related, I’m pretty much afraid of everything as well. LOL…chickens! That’s funny and very imaginative! You were wise not to get your ears pierced, especially using the potato method like a few people mentioned…no way!

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  24. Hi Jill! First off, I’m sorry to learn you live with a chronic illness. I imagine it has its difficult times and I pray that you continue to cope well with the treatments (in spite of needles). I think a lot about my characters’ fears and how that affects their choices and the obstacles I can place in their way, forcing them to grow.

    You already know one of my fears: flying. I’m especially leery of small planes and helicopters. Have done the small plane once, but haven’t yet tried the helicopter. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you so much, Jolyse. I do appreciate the prayers. πŸ™‚ Oh, I’m with you on the fear of small planes and helicopters. I flew in a little puddle jumper plane once and it was the scariest flight of my life. I know you, you’re more of a sailboat kind of gal. πŸ™‚ Enjoy your weekend!

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