Sunday, April 4, 2010

Outsmarting Myself

Tonight, as I was running down to the mail box. I know, it’s a little late at 10:30pm to be running up the road to the mail box but I was really hoping my Dragon Naturally Speaking software would be in it. So I braved the dark to go check.

I know what you’re thinking and yes, I am afraid of the dark. I admit it freely. I used to try to deny my fear as a child. We had this hallway that seemed long and frightening. There were light switches at either end but they didn’t work properly and if you flicked the one at the end by my bedroom it would disable the main switch which would make my father angry.

Because of this I spent much of my time trying to remain calm as I walked out, only to give into my fear and race down the hallway, dropping to a casual walk as I exited the darkened passage. No one was the wiser as I entered the living room.

In my bedroom the closet always transformed in the night from the safe depository for my toys, into the sinister home of lurking monsters. I lay awake many a night staring at the form of some unknown creature, sure that if I kept watch, never averting my eyes, it would remain frozen, bound by some childhood/bedroom monster clause. Like, if the blankets cover every inch of me, even though I may suffocate. I’ll still be safe because the closet/under bed scaries can’t touch me.

So, as you grow up you think these irrational fears would go away right? You’d be older and wiser and simply know better. Right? Wrong. They either remain or are replaced by other irrational fears. So, here’s the thought that prompted this post.

I know there are no such things as closet/under-the-bed monsters but that does not stop me from conjuring the image of the giant dog from Lady in the Water every time I get out of my truck at night. I always imagine him standing there waiting for me in the trees but I know if I face him he cannot move. See, I know some of the rules that govern the monsters. But they are monsters and therefore sneaky.

I’ve got him outsmarted right? If I don’t show him my back he can’t get me. But he knows me. He watches me every day when I get home. He knows that I’ll be watching the place he’ll be, trapping him. So, what if instead of hiding in the cover of trees, he stands in plain sight. While I, sure I’ve got him trapped, back right into the tricky bugger because I was watching the woods?

My question then is, did he outsmart me or did I outsmart myself?

Between this post and my others about catfish men and the world the way I see it, a reader might get the idea that I’m a little off. Really though, I think I’m pretty normal. We all have crazy, irrational fears. It’s how you respond to these fears that matters.

You can let them control you and keep you from doing or being who you want or you can walk the length of the hallway rather than run or accept a date with someone you wouldn’t normally consider rather than making excuses for why you shouldn’t or any of the other things we keep ourselves from doing because it’s easier not to face our fear.

This week I’m going to do at least one thing that scares me because it’s when we challenge ourselves that we find we have more strength than we knew.

What are the things that scare you?

4 comments:

  1. I had horrific nightmares as a child - still have them nightly, but I'm able to control my reaction. Mostly. My hubby thinks it hysterical when I go from a deep sleep to standing in the hallway in half a second.

    So, you're not alone :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm lucky there. I used to have nightmares about earthquakes and volcanos. Now I rarely have nightmares. I usually know when I'm dreaming and can take it for just that. I often think to myself. "This is a strange dream." while I'm dreaming. But put me in the dark with just my imagination and oh boy can I scare the pants off myself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is the first time I've read your blog. I like how upfront you are about who you are.

    I used to share your fear of the dark. I came to the conclusion that it's not the dark I'm afraid of; it's the things I cannot see that can get me.

    If you don't mind me saying so, fear is something to be moved through because you become stronger for rising above it. Looking forward to future posts!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Avery! Yes, it's the unseen that is frightening and where my imagination fills in the most frightening of things. lol

    ReplyDelete

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