What’s Your Siren Song?

by Courtney Sirotin on May 12, 2012

Post image for What’s Your Siren Song?

I recently heard the term “Siren Song” for the first time and was giddy (relieved?) to learn there is a common phrase for something I thought was my special brand of crazy. I might be normal after all!

Perhaps you know what a Siren Song is already? It might be one of those things that just happened to skip by me. In case you don’t know, it’s a term used to describe those urges you sometimes get to do things that you definitely should NOT do.

This is better explained with an example:

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I would NEVER put my hand in a (plugged in) blender. In fact, I am so super conscious of how much I do not want to ever put my hand in a blender that I sometimes get these flashing urges to just shove my hand in there when it’s blending. Siren song.

The term comes from Greek mythology. Sirens were dangerous creatures disguised as goddesses who lured sailors to them with their enchanting music.

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Confession time: I worked at an ice cream shop all through high school and they had these giant boxes filled with rainbow sprinkles. The decision making part of my brain hadn’t fully formed yet so I hope you will cut me some slack when I admit here that I used to sneak in the back of the shop just to stick my hand in the box and move it around. It felt awesome. I shouldn’t have done it…but their song was too enchanting.

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Sometimes when I’m driving on a two lane highway my hand gets twitchy and wants to/DOESN’T WANT TO swerve into oncoming traffic. Its like, I don’t want to do it so badly, and I’m so terrified by how little separates my speeding car from one heading in my direction (just the flick of a wrist!), that my mind flashes with the thought of just doing it! I repeat (Hi, Mom!), in case you are worried about my safety, that I never never never would purposely harm myself…but I can’t be alone in hearing this Siren Song, right?

I touched on this idea briefly a few months back when I was cleaning my wedding ring. Remember this picture? At the time I talked about my fear/urge to drop it down the drain.

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One more example.

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Do you ever have that urge when you hear really, really bad news…or have to give really, really bad news…to burst out laughing? Not because you’re happy or find something amusing but just because its so inappropriate. It must be a defense mechanism or something.

Siren songs…they’re what’s for dinner.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

KELLY May 14, 2012 at 2:16 am

Hey Court! We never talked about this before but I have those same urges too. I get the urge to swerve into the other side of the road, or jump over a railing mostly because I really really don’t want to, it’s weird. The other day at work a woman was pacing up and down our row and was being super annoying and I wanted so bad to shout “You need to sit the [email protected]$& down [email protected]$&!! I literally thought I was going to and had to leave so I wouldn’t. So yea I get those urges. 🙂


COURTNEY May 15, 2012 at 11:37 am

I want to say things like that to people too! I wish we all walked around with thought bubbles…that would be hysterical.


SWEETMADDY May 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I heard the same podcast as you on homefries and I already commented there, but OMG I have all the same stuff! My major one is this fear that I’ll shave off part of my eyebrow when in the shower. Also, dropping eggs on the floor so they crack, and jumping off ledges even though I’m not depressed or suicidal and I’m kind of afraid of heights! We need a psychologist to come explain our crazy to us!!!


COURTNEY May 15, 2012 at 11:37 am

From what I can gather from an unofficial survey of people I know, this warped piece of psychology is common to the human condition. Although, dogs eat their own poop so maybe it’s part of the animal kingdom as well. I’m just glad I don’t have an urge to do that!


DONNA CUSHING May 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

So much of life is like a circle and I think that right to the left of what we fear most is the tiniest call to it. Just like sometimes I think people who are brilliant are on the edge of insanity . I have thoughts like yours too. Just promise me
you will never act on the dangerous ones!


COURTNEY May 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Oooooh I LOVE how you said that!


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