05 August 2009

Hit the Light Switch

current mood: apprehensive

I wanna watch you sleeping peaceful
Resting your heart and your soul
We should never awake without the other
Lying by our side
~ “Watch You Sleeping” by Blue Foundations

I overheard a parent tell their school-age child that they had nothing to fear in the dark and that big kids shouldn’t need a nightlight. Now, I don’t know if the kid wanted the nightlight because it was from his favourite cartoon or if he wanted it because he didn’t like being alone in the dark. Either way, his mom didn’t buy him the nightlight and he left the store with the belief that only “little kids” are afraid of the dark.

It took a lot of self-control on my part not to run up to that child and tell him that lots of people are afraid of the dark and that if a nightlight makes him feel better, I’ll buy it for him myself. Now, I don’t believe in ‘catering to a child’s fears’; however, I do believe in acknowledging and respecting them. I also believe that if any person, child or adult, is able to dispel a fear with something as easy as a nightlight or a security blanket, then they ought to do so.

I have been scared of the dark for as long as I can remember. In fact, there have been nights where I have turned on every light in the house just so I could fall asleep. I refuse to walk into a dark room ALONE without turning the light on. If I am walking up a set of stairs and the lights are off behind me, I will SPRINT up the stairs as fast as I possibly can. I have to have a lamp next to my bed because otherwise I am terrified to turn off the light switch, then walk into my dark bedroom to lie down in bed. At night, if I am home alone, I close the curtains and blinds so that I never have to look out a window into the nighttime.

I am well aware that in 99% of cases, there is nothing in the dark to fear. That rational thought doesn’t stop me from looking under the bed and in the closet before I turn the lamp out. Bad things happen in the dark. It’s that simple. Yes, bad things happen during the day too – but I can see those things coming. I suppose it is the fear of the unknown which has me petrified when I cannot see what is going on around me.

Three things keep my fear at bay – the presence of another living creature, a confined environment, or a light source.

1. Whether the creature is a cat or a human doesn’t matter, as long as it is alive, my fear is almost completely abated.
2. If I am in a closed room, such as a bathroom; a bedroom; or a vehicle, the dark doesn’t bother me, as long as the windows are covered.
3. Any light source, even a child’s nightlight, offers enough comfort that my heart rate remains steady.

Close friends and family know my fear. One sister even goes out of her way to make sure I am never left alone in the dark. There are probably a few friends who think my fear is ridiculous; but, they elect not to tell me. I appreciate that. When people tell me they are afraid of snakes or blood or water, 3 things that I have never feared, I think to myself, “there is nothing to be scared of”; but I respect their feelings. Perhaps they had a parent tell them when they were little that their fear was childish, which only heightened their sensitivity to the issue.

Fear is a learned response, and no rational justification will eliminate it instantly.

Anyway, now that I have advertised the fact that I am a total fraidy cat in the dark, it won’t surprise me if there are comments you wish to make. Go on, don’t be afraid!

Loved painting with you yesterday. It’s always nice to spend a day chatting with a long-time friend.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I wouldn’t be scared at night, if you were with me. Soon.

Eidetic Vision

Main Entry: ei·det·ic Pronunciation: I-'det-ik Function: adjective : marked by or involving extraordinarily accurate and vivid recall especially of visual images - an eidetic memory Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.