My friends are always so helpful with the Friday Five when I have writer's block, and so, I have asked if any of them would like to guest-spot with their own lists. Jazz hands for my buddy, Leanne!
After spending the past two and a half years living with a roommate who assisted in obtaining things stored up high, killing spiders, and had gym-grown-man muscles to lift things and protect me, I have recently moved out and returned to having my own living space. Maybe he was my mental safety net or maybe I used him as an explanation for strange noises. Either way, it’s only been 5 days of living alone again and I am already experiencing heightened senses combined with a wacked out active imagination.
To sum it up: Strange Noises + Night Time x My Active Imagination = Camping out under a blanket while holding my breath and clamping my eyes shut.
I have come to the realization that I have quite a few fears. Most have been in my life since childhood. I am sure a lot of people have things they are afraid of. Or I just tell myself that so I don’t feel like I’m weird. In no specific order here are my extremely narrowed down top five fears, irrational or not…
1. Clowns – So common there is a name for it… Coulrophobia. Based on a study at California State University, “…clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening…” Well DUH! Some creepy evil person is hiding behind thick, white make-up and polka dot ruffles. There is an urban legend about it too. It comes in many forms, but the basic gist: Baby sitter is creeped out by a clown sitting in a rocking chair in the living room. Swears the eyes are following her and the children around the room. Calls parents asking if she can move it because it’s creepy. Parents say they don’t own a clown. Babysitter grabs kids and runs to a neighbor’s. Creepy clown turns out to be a person who escaped from a psychiatric ward, and to top it off, is a killer. I believe it. Ever seen the movie It or Killer Klowns from Outer Space?? My fear includes all masks. What are you hiding under there?!
2. Monster Under the Bed – As young children, my brother and I played a game in our room that seemingly every child had their version of. The Volcano Floor. We would jump from bed to bed. Only rule: you can’t touch the floor or you die. The only safe haven was being on the bed. This only started it. Little Monsters, the late 80’s movie with Fred and Ben Savage confirmed to me something was under there. I would stuff everything I could under there. I swore if the floor under the bed disappeared for the monsters to come up, all the stuff would fall on them and I would hear that, which obviously meant I would get a warning and be able to run. While I feel I may have mostly outgrown this I do have to confess… I still put lots of things under my bed which I claim is “just for storage.”
3. Boogeyman in the Closet – I have no idea where I got this fear from. As long as I can remember I have sworn there is something in there. The closet door has to be shut. This is not optional. The boogeyman does not know how to open doors. And he only comes at night. And any light is a deterrent. My worst adult incident was because of watching The Boogeyman, FYI, barely even a scary movie. I slept with the lights on in every room of my one bedroom apartment, lights in the closet on, and the door shut – with a chair in front of it. All night (for two weeks) I stared at the door, while trying to be quiet, hearing my heart beat so loud I was sure the neighbors could hear it, and practically hiding under a blanket like I was 5 years old again. *cough, cough, 24, cough*
4. The Dark – Have you ever noticed that scary stories all start with “It was a dark (and possibly stormy) night”? Thriller and horror movies have all their goose bump moments at night or in a moment of total darkness. Even our favorite childhood channel Nickelodeon had Snick whose final half hour time slot was Are You Afraid of the Dark? …who didn’t love that big orange couch?! We always had to be home before dark. Why couldn’t we go outside to play after sunset? What did all those adults know that we didn’t?! Those same adults made sure we had night lights in our room. Why? If I’m supposed to be asleep, why do I need to see? Except I didn’t fall asleep right away, I was told to sit there quietly and try to fall asleep. So I laid there… with eyes as wide open as possible… looking around the room at all the large shadows on the walls… and those cute dolls, stuffed animals or toys we played with during the day looked completely evil. But now I’ve seen them, I know they are there and I have to keep my eye on them, so the night light must stay. Now the TV is my version of a night light.
5. Windows – I think this one started after I saw the movie Scream. In the first scene the Ghost Face killer was outside Drew Barrymore’s house watching her. He tormented her without even being in the house. She was a fish bowl and couldn’t see anything outside. You know how it is… if it’s dark out and the lights are on in a room, you can’t see ANYTHING out of the window. Sometime after that, I was home alone at night (which I was a lot) and something came over me. All of a sudden at 15 I was completely terrified of being by a window at night. During my junior year of high school I was sitting in my room (2nd floor), on my bed (back facing the window). It was about 11:30pm mid-week and I had just gotten home. Banging noises came from the window behind me. Without turning around, I exited my room and made my mother go check it out. She did, while making fun of me the entire time she made her way down the stairs and out the front door. “What, you think Spiderman is crawling up the house?” Funny. Well, she couldn’t say anything after we found a ladder at my window. Fear now completely solidified.
As Theodore Vail says, “Real difficulties can be overcome. It’s the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” Maybe that’s why these fears have made their way from my childhood self into the life of my 30 year old self.