Afraid of the Dark

 

dark

 

Is anyone really NOT afraid of the dark?

From the time I was aware that I COULD be afraid…. I have been.

It started with that thing under my bed. That thing hiding under there that wants to grab my foot if I step too close. Only at night of course. So after getting ready for bed, I remember standing in the doorway. Turning off the light as I took a deep breath, and sprinted to the bed, launching myself from as far away as possible. Then I had mere seconds to cover up, all the way to the chin of course, and pretend I was asleep. If “the thing” found me awake, things would not be good for me. I HAD to pretend I was asleep to fool it.

Watching Poltergeist was not a good idea for me.

Nightmare on Elm Street…also not smart.

I sang the 10 commandments in the shower, which was in the basement of the house I grew up in. HORRIFYING. I would not sing number 5 (Thou Shall not Kill), because I didn’t want to put ideas into the heads of…..anything….. After showering, there was a gulp as I turned off the light and ran like hell across the dark basement, past the shadowy areas where God only knows what was hiding to grab me if I stopped or fell. Then up the stairs. Jesus, I hated showering in that house.

Freddy Krueger was also my fake best friend. At night, as I lie in bed waiting for his finger-blades to rip through my mattress, I would remind him of what good friends we were. ‘Cause Freddy would totally not kill his best friend. By this time I was 9 or 10. Who let me watch that movie???

Somehow I managed to watch The Exorcist. Scariest movie ever.  I shared a room with my little sister until I was 16.  I remember laying there in the dark, looking at her sleeping in the bed next to mine. Just WAITING for her to sit up, and stare at me with crazy glowing eyes as her head started spinning. I tried not to look at her.

I still won’t say “Candy Man” three times looking into a mirror. If I even think about it while looking in the mirror I get paranoid.

It does not help that I have felt compelled at times to watch horrifying and freakishly scary movies. My oldest and I have watched some together, she seems to enjoy how I fall apart but can’t stop watching at the same time.  She seems immune, she actually sleeps with her closet door OPEN.  And here I am, usually the last one up to bed at night…. As I turn off the lights before going upstairs, I imagine the “thing” in the basement stirring, and starting is ascent up the stairs towards me. Then, in the bedroom….I can’t run and jump into my bed anymore. As I walk to my side I wince before climbing into bed, just waiting for that hand to reach out and grab me.

No, scary movies didn’t cause this….but they certainly gave my imagination a lot to work with.

Is it just me, or do you sometimes think there might be a dead person in the shower with you, who somehow becomes visible only when you have to close your eyes?

Am I really surprised that my 4 year old is scared of the dark? He tells me often at night. “Mommy, I’m scared of the dark”. And I scoff, “Sammy, the dark is nice to sleep in, there is NOTHING to be afraid of!” I promise  him he is safe. I KNOW he is safe. I laugh about monsters, of course there are no monsters!

And I know this. I know I’m not going to wake up at 4am with one of the kids standing at the side of my bed, staring blindly before they attack me.  I know I am not going to be sucked under the bed, never to be seen again. I know a freaky girl isn’t going to crawl down the stairs after me because I drowned her in a well years ago.  There will be no head spinning, no mattress slashing, no clown strangling…..

But…. I’m still scared of the dark. And if I were to be honest with my 4 year old, I would tell him I totally get it when he tells me that he’s scared of the dark too.

 

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