Dear Pittakionophobia,


Ms. Lopez

Stickers include quotes from favorite television shows, sports logos and artwork.

Dear Pittakionophobia,

Stickers, Hello my old friend, it’s been awhile. I touch you, you never touch me. Got it? Good. I’m not sure how you did it but for some reason I can’t stand you. I don’t want you on my binders, walls, body or even on other people. My skin aches and shivers when you come close.

I encounter obstacles you throw at me all the time. Just last Friday, we had our Pack the Place Pep Rally. As a cheerleader, there is an implicit expectation to wear small stickers on each side of our eyes. Red on Right. Silver on Left. And even though this is my seventh time performing, I’ve never worn the long standing tradition. Imagining having to place two tiny stickers on my face makes me want to get off my seat and go throw up right now. Literally.  It’s hard enough seeing everyone around me with them.

As a child it was much worse. I remember in elementary school, I was suppose to be on AYSO, a junior soccer league. But that never happened. I made it to all the practices but when game day came along, I just couldn’t put that jersey on. The enormous number in the middle of the green shirt triggered me in a way that I quit the team then and there. That problem blossomed into me refusing to wear words on my shirt until fifth grade.

It was hard to understand why this was happening. And I never really found out what was going on until the first semester of my senior year. In my psychology class, we were assigned to write a research question and answer it in a presentation. My question was ‘Why do irrational fears persist?’. What I found out was that fears persist because there are a combination of factors at play: genetic and environmental. My genes are predisposed an anxiety disorder and sometime growing up it was triggered by some unknown environmental factor. And here we are now. Pittakionophobia. At least this what I’ve decided to name it. Over 29,300,000 have an irrational fear, and I guess I am one of them.

Going through it in my head, I just didn’t get it.. Why do people put unnatural things on their bodies? We were all made a certain way and I thought that it was only natural for things to stay that way. I think the problem I have with stickers and other things of that sort is I am less scared of the stickers themselves but how it changes who I am. I’m afraid of being different. I wear my hair down nearly every single day because I hate the way I look when it’s something other than how it is naturally. I didn’t wear words or letters on my shirt because, to me, it changed the way I looked and felt. Stickers are the same to me. I don’t mind wearing them, but I do mind the idea of knowing that I look different because of it.

 Despite how much I’ve hated stickers throughout my life, I’d also like to thank them. Thank you stickers for being so persistent in my life. Thank you for forcing me to face this fear I had in order to overcome it. I’ve had to look you in the eye everyday and move on from it. Everyday, I have become closer and closer to my skin not crawling at the idea of you. Fears are overcome by exposure to them. And luckily enough for me, I’ve had exposure to you every week for eighteen years. So thank you pittakionophobia for teaching me how to face a problem and deal with it.

Yours Truly,

Greta Garber