This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I have it. Kite-oh-phobia. The fear of kites.

Laugh if you must, but I have it.

And I did think it was pretty weird. And so did Tim. But it became less, or more...depending how one looks at it...when we heard CJ mention that she's also scared of kites.

It wasn't like this was a known bit of info in our household. When CJ was quite young, Tim thought it would be fun for her to fly a kite. I mentioned nothing to CJ, as not to make kite-flying scary to her as it was for me. She didn't say much about the event but years later, she mentioned to us that it made her feel scared to fly kites. Tim gave me the bug-eyed look, like 'how can that possibly inherited?'

But it is and CJ and I are not the only ones.

I've mentioned before that I often read the Mental Floss feeds. Today I read about unusual phobias. And while the article does not state anything about the fear of kites (as I had hoped), I considered e-mailing them to tell them about mine and CJ's.

But lo and behold, as I start reading the first comment to the article, I noticed that one of the readers had the fear of flying kites! I was instantly connected to a stranger and to me, this validates that there *is* some odd sense in some of us, to the fear of flying kites. Mine includes seeing others flying kites.

The stranger-I-connect with states his fear was being whisked away with the kite. Mine is not so much that, but just the awe (in a scary way) of it being so far up in the sky. It's the same way that I feel about others flying theirs...and it might have something to do with how I am scared of my balloon flying away. Okay, I don't have balloons anymore but if I _did_, I would be afraid of letting it go and would have a death grip on the string.

With a kite, however, I refuse to hold one or be near one. If I am too close to someone flying one, I have to not look at it.

I tried to find out if this was an actual actual named phobia, but I didn't find it. And even under the unusual phobia website, with 'made up' phobias, there is no indication that anyone else, except me, CJ and "Witty Nickname", are afflicted with this condition.

BTW, I do have an actual phobia, Acrophobia - an irrational fear of heights. Mine is not too irrational, but it is pretty strong. I remember riding the ferris wheel, as I did every year, at the HOG (happening on the green) one year at Clark AFB in the Philippines. As the ride went up for the first time, I had an instant feeling of fright and crouched onto the floor. I remember not even planning for it -- it just happened. I've never ridden a ferris wheel since.

And once in high school, friends and I were climbing up to a platform that goes to a small water tower. I got to the top of the platform and instantly crouched to the ground, frozen. It seems that I forget, or give into peer pressure and find myself in these situations.

My last house, I had to really concentrate on my steps. I had 13 steps. I could care less that the number was was the steepness of it all that freaked me out and I lived with those steps for 10 years!

Some people think I should cure this fear. I ask those people "Why?" What would make life better for me to NOT be scared of heights? I can go up stairs -- if they are not in an open area...and no one rushes me from behind (in that case, I just stop and tell them to pass me). I can even ride roller coasters. I can fly in a plane. Nothing irrational about that. But as soon as I'm on top of some place, looking into the vastness, I get a little queasy, my breath stops, and if I don't concentrate really hard on not panicking, I'll crouch to the ground and become frozen in place.

I'm okay with just avoiding those situations. I'm happy living with my acrophobia...and my kiteophobia.


  1. Matthew James Holton11 March, 2013 22:53

    I have a fear of flying kites. It's strange because I love flying kites but when i get it up in the air and it's flying around in the wind my heart starts beating real fast & I get this strange feeling in my stomach.

  2. My daughter is afraid of flying kites/balloons and also of heights. She's fine with holding a balloon, but petrified of it getting away from her. She just had an incident last night where her teacher let a balloon fly away in order to demonstrate something and my daughter had a meltdown. She's 5, but even as young as 18 months she was afraid to walk across bridges & to look down from an upper level. I was hoping there was a name for this, like you, but I guess not! Thanks for writing about your experience.

  3. It's refreshing to get a real comment! I've been getting so much spam lately. It's funny, I was just running with a friend of mine two weeks ago and it was a really windy day...where there was someone flying a kite with their son. And I said to her: yikes. Kites. They scare me. And she asked if it was because she thought it would hit me and I said exactly what you said about your daughter: no, it's of it flying away. I had the same problem with balloons.

    I think I'm much better with it now. I wasn't freaking out and the idea of a balloon flying away, well, it still makes my heart flutter and I still get anxious, but not like the panic I had as a kid.

    I am afraid of heights. I can't walk up open stairwells to very high floors without heart palpitations. Same with open sewer grates. And open walkways high up. I think it is definitely related to the phobia for heights. She will probably have the same fear with deep water - i lived in tropical areas and you could see the deep dark blue areas where the depth of the water changed. Shivers.

    Thanks for your comments!

  4. I too have this phobia. Always thought it was a childhood thing until stumbled upon someone flying a kite as an adult. I was shocked that it brought back that childhood anxiety. I can remember begging my father to stop and bring it down. And my feelings are the exact same as most seem to feel. Its the feeling in your stomach and the issue of it being so high. Sometimes I thought maybe I feel like it could pull me with it but I know it can't. Its weird I agree but not a big deal really and totally manageable. I wrote a paper on it in college back in 2008 thought there would be a word for it by now but nope.

  5. Huh! I recently realized and i am glad i am not the only one

  6. I don't know if you still read these comments but I too have this phobia. It's good to know I'm not alone

  7. I have always had this same fear of kites too. You described it well. :)

  8. Funny to find this post. I've had the same feeling for years. I can fly kites without a problem, but then suddenly that feeling kicks in. I'm trying to write an essay about it today as an afterword for a book of poetry of mine that is due to be reissued in the Philippines (originally published in the UK) called WINGS OF SMOKE.
    So there's still no word for this condition then. Thanks for the post, and for the others who have come here to say we're not alone.

  9. I have had this at a young age. I don't really have a fear of heights, and it's not just a sense of vertigo when it gets up there (though there is some of that as well). I've noticed decades later, I feel a similar sensation in episodes of sleep paralysis; especially the ones where I feel like I'm being dragged. It makes me wonder if I had any sleep paralysis episodes when I was very young, unaware of what it was.

    And man, this background is killin' me.