The life-changing magic of naming spiders And why I refuse to spend my life frozen on the spot


I’m not a huge fan of spiders. Or any bug that’s bigger than a woodlouse – except for junebugs because they’re metallic emerald and pretty dim as far as I can tell – but that’s another  story.

And I’m also not a huge fan of being reduced to pathetically standing on my bed hiding from a creepy crawly afraid to move an inch even though it’s at least five feet away from me and I’m approximately 99.98% bigger than it.

So a couple of years ago I came up with an idea.

To remove some of the fear, and actually be able to do something instead of having to forever live on the middle of my bed stood up for eternity, I decided that whenever I met some kind of insect that scared the bejeezus out of me, I’d name it.

The huge black spider with legs three times the size of it’s body became Terence who was on a trip with his family and lost his way.

The ridiculously big unidentified bug became Cher, named after her role as the number one Cher impersonator in the bug community.

And the HUGE resident spider we found in our new flat? Well she’s Jeremima and she’s actually a guard-spider and has been looking after the place ready for us to move in. (When she started scaring us, we let her leave her position without notice and she has now moved onto bigger and brighter opportunities somewhere outside of our back door.)

Why am I telling you about my rather eclectic bunch of insect frenemies?

Because I think it has a lot to teach us about fear.

When you can name a fear, it loses some of its power.

When you can identify it, it ceases to be quite so intimidating.

When you can get closer to it, you can start to see things more clearly and make a plan.

And whenever you get active in a situation? You can start to take control and the situation stops controlling you.

So my dear reader, always name spiders.

And whenever possible try and get close enough to your fears to name them.

Yes it’s scary, but not as scary as spending the rest of your life stood on the same spot too scared to move an inch.

Now that’s truly scary shit.

Meg Kissack