I’ll admit it, I’m scared of the dark. Well, let me put it this way: I don’t like the dark. While I don’t have a phobic fear of it or anything, yes, I still sleep with a nightlight on. I’m one of those people, too, that don’t like to have a closet door open when they go to sleep cuz, you guessed it – it’s dark inside that closet.
So, my question is, do you ever really grow out of your childhood fears? Even if you understand the why and how you got them, can you, as an adult, ever really tamp them down to be nothing more than a bad memory? Do you still look under the bed to make sure no one, or no-thing, is there before you go to sleep?
My story of how and why? It’s hard not to be leery of the dark when you wake up in the middle of the night and see three ghosts hovering near the ceiling of your room. Swear-To-God I saw this. I couldn’t have been more than four years old but I knew what they were. Another time I woke up in the middle of the night (I may have been only a year older), I heard something on the floor beside my bed and when I leaned over to look, I saw a black cat walking there. It looked up at me with those yellow eyes, and then went under my bed. Again, I do not believe I dreamed this. Could have, but I don’t believe I did. I remember the clarity of seeing it, the shiny coat of black hair, the cold stare it gave me. I have to give myself credit though; for even at that tender age, my survival instincts kicked in and I had the wherewithal to throw myself back onto the bed and pull the covers completely over my head. To this day I don’t know where that cat went, the covers over the head trick worked and I never saw it again.
It certainly didn’t help that in my closet, there was an access panel to the plumbing going to the bathroom next to my room. Every now and then for no apparent reason the panel door would open up all by itself. Geez! When this happened in the daylight, I never saw a thing other than exposed pipes but, in the dead of night, the Gremlins and creepy, crawly, things would gather in that space and lay there, waiting, hoping, to gain access to my room.
What makes no sense in studying this from a psychological viewpoint is that none of these things could I have seen, had there not been a nightlight on. Would it not be logical then, to perhaps start turning the nightlight off? Not. On. Your. Life.
Now that I’m an adult. I have complete control over my nighttime domain. I still keep the nightlight on and the closet doors are shut. I’m in a home where there is no access panel of any kind within that closet. And, once that sun goes down, if the power fails, the flashlights are within reach and I have tons of candles.
The only thing I can’t control and remains the hardest part in facing my fear is letting the dog out at night in the back yard. My back yard is shaped in a “U” and the lights from the house shine only within the curve. Outside of that, it’s pitch dark along the sides. Of course, the dog just HAS to go to the sides every…single…night. I have a Pug. Not the most ferocious of the species, to say the least. And I love her immensely – have had her since a puppy but on those dark nights? Uh, uh. You go ahead, baby girl. I got your back, or tail, whatever. But, if you start galloping around that corner, with fear in your eyes and in pursuit by Gremlins or Zombies, it’s every woman or dog for themselves.