I've decided that every Friday along with my Fanart Friday posts and the occasional blog hop/FF post I'm going to start rotating between a personal piece and a discussion piece. I had a brilliant discussion piece in my head and I kept repeating it while I walked home from the bus so I wouldn't forget it and what do you think happened when I sat down behind my computer? *poof* The idea vanished. Since it was so great I've decided to start this new structure with a personal post in the desperate hope that it somehow makes its way back into my brain sometime between this Friday and next!
Since I'd been discussing my big huge gigantic fears the other day thanks to the seed planted by Gabe over at GabrielReads I thought I'd expand it out and give you guys all the details about exactly how pathetically afraid I am of the dark/unknown/things that go bump in the night.
All of those fears are joined into one tangled mess of terror for me, I have no issue with night-time, in fact it is the time I thrive as I am most certainly a nightowl. My problem comes once I've decided to go to bed and turn all the lights off. Until I was 16 I would flick the light switch to the off position and bound over to my bed as quickly as possible and leap into the safety of my doona without touching the floor directly around my bed. Once in bed I'd turn to face the wall and stay like that. I couldn't ever turn around because as I lay there awake I'd tell myself things like "OMG imagine if I turned around and there was just this creepy like old woman witch beside my bed staring at me" or "What if I turn around just in time to see my bedroom door close shut and know there's no way out?" Yeah, me and my imagination are best friends!
I have a few, shall we say, quirks when it comes to things I can do at night (besides that lovely little bedroom/sleep time routine, which I don't do anymore thank god). I can go into the bathroom and look into the mirror without any problem at night UNTIL all the lights have been switched off. If I get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet I can't look in the mirror at all, even if I do turn the lights on. This is thanks to a wonderful friend of mine who in year 9 told me a horror story about a woman in a mirror who steals souls or something like that, not to mention all the urban legends about people like 'Candyman' and 'Bloody Mary'. This isn't a huge problem for me at my current house but at my mum's place there are about three mirrors in every room because she buys and fixes up those big antique wardrobes and dressers that all have majorly large mirrors on them. On occasion if I've just seen a horror movie or have been thinking about one I'll even avoid looking into windows at night 'cos you never y know what'll be reflected in it behind you, or what will suddenly pop up into view from outside!
I should probably state that this isn't as bad as it sounds, I'm not in a perpetual state of fear as soon as the lights go out. For the most part I'm fine although I guess it's always at the back of my mind because every once and awhile a noise that I'd normally recognise and have no trouble with is suddenly the catalyst for a range of crazy demon/ghost/serial killer thoughts. It's really my fault for watching horror films and reading horror novels, they plant the seed that comes back to haunt me, whether that's the noise on the roof in Signs, the TV in The Ring or the demons/possessed people that crop up so often in films/books.
I have had a few real world experiences that haven't helped with my fear of the dark/unknown, I'll tell you two of them, one is pretty funny (now) the other still terrifies me to this day.
1. I was laying in bed when I was about 17 or 18 trying to get to sleep when I heard the weirdest sound, sort of a thump but also kind of squishy that was coming from the ground. Unable to look and check it out I scrunched my eyes shut and tried to force myself to stop thinking about the man with the knife on the floor. (what else could it be right?) I heard the noise two more times and I was seriously starting to panic and considered going to my sister's room, but there was no way I could risk touching the ground in case someone was actually there. I continued to lay there stiff as a board, when suddenly I felt a tug at my blanket. My heart literally jumped out of my throat and I nearly died. Unable to move off my bed and trembling I pulled my legs in close to me, my eyes now wide open with terror. Then suddenly something had my leg, I screamed and kicked out at it until my mum came rushing in and turned on the light. Trying to catch my breath I tried to tell mum something had grabbed my leg, looking around my now empty room (you know how well those serial killers can hide) my mum calmed me down and smoothed out my, now, crumpled and tangled blanket. Out of the tangles jumped this giant green tree frog which landed high on my wall out of our reach. I felt significantly better knowing mum got a shock (even if she didn't over react like me!) but still felt rather stupid that I'd been terrified for a while half hour about a frog! Still rather frazzled and sure as hell not sleeping in a room with a rogue frog I went and slept in my brother's bed (he was three at the time)!
2. The way my bedroom was set out the head of my bed was backed against the wall under the window. On one side of the window was one of those old AC units that sit in the window frame so the other side of the window (the bit above my bed) would only open about 15cm (about 6 inches for all you non-metric users) wide. Because of my major paranoia and insane imagination I'd had several freakouts imagining someone sticking their hand through the window and touching my face while I slept so I never had that window open, ever. It was fairly early, about 8pm but I was lying in bed reading a book for class. My bedroom was on the other side of the house from where everyone else was, so all the conversation, dishwasher and TV type noises didn't reach me and it was dead quiet. As I read I heard my window slide open slowly and then suddenly bump against the AC unit, meaning it was open as wide as possible. I flipped out, rolled off my bed and stealth crawled out of my room breaking into a sprint as soon as I passed the door (not looking back I might add) and screaming as I ran to the rest of the family. My sisters and brother thought I was lying (or being my usual imaginative self) but my mum went out to investigate with a torch. My window was indeed open and about 3 metres away (8 foot-ish) across the driveway that ran beside my bedroom against the fence all the plants had been squashed as though someone had stood on them while they jumped the fence. Needless to say it was a good while before I was comfortable sleeping in my room again and I rearranged it immediately so my head was no where near that window!
So there you go, a nice long detailed post about the shambles that is my life, at night at least! Next week I'll put up a book discussion for you all to join in on and give you a break from my insanity! Feel free to let me know about any of your fears in the comments, especially those irrational fears like the one I just described!