The Mind of Bluesleepy

A’skeered of the dark 6 June 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 9:48 pm

SleepyJane mentioned in her comment that she too would race back to her bed after going to the restroom in the middle of the night.

Let me reassure her, and the rest of you to boot, that she is not alone in doing this. I spent most of my childhood afraid of the dark, no matter which house we lived in.

Ken Burns’s documentary on the Civil War came out when I was in the fifth grade. My father, being a huge PBS fan, had the whole family watching it. Well, I know I did, mainly because if my parents weren’t watching tv, the tv wasn’t on. This is why my knowledge of 80s tv shows is so woefully scant. (Thundercats??? Never seen it. I never even heard of it till I was in college.)

Even though we lived in northern Illinois at the time, having just moved there that summer from northern Virginia, I was so moved by the images of the Civil War dead featured in the documentary that I somehow convinced myself that my house was built on a Confederate graveyard. And somehow these dead Confederates knew I was born in the South and should therefore be sympathetic to their cause. At this house, we kept the big garbage bin just outside our back door, which meant that when I took the garbage out, I had to drag the large bin through our sideyard, open the gate, get the bin through the gate, shut the gate, and finish dragging the bin across the front yard to the curb. I kept imagining the dead Confederates’ bony hands reaching through the sod covering their shallow graves and clutching at my ankles as I ran through the grass.

Needless to say I hated taking the trash out, especially because I had to traverse the darkest part of our yard with the big trash bin. I’d race back inside after thumping the bin down on the curb, and by the time I got back to the safety of the lights and my family, my heart was pounding.

Even in high school, I was scared of the dark. We’d moved back to our house in northern Virginia by then so my dad could take a job at the Pentagon, which is where he still lives. (In a way, I’m a bit envious of my baby brother, who has lived in the same house for the last fifteen years. He’s gone to schools in the same district for his entire public-school education, where I attended six schools, only two of which in the same district, let alone the same state, in thirteen years.) My father’s house has this thin window-door thing next to his front door that can be cranked open to let in more air. It also lets people look into his front entry-way.

My dad also lives on the end of a cul-de-sac, which means as people come down his street, it almost looks like they’re going to run straight into his house before they swerve at the last moment to follow the curve of the cul-de-sac. Maybe that’s what freaked me out so much. Going past that window late at night (I have always been a night owl), especially in the rain when people come barreling down the road with their high-beams on, has always given me the sense that these are bad guys after me, and that they’re going to shoot me to death!! Being in the basement never gave me the willies; it was just trying to get upstairs to my bedroom that caused the problem!

And even when I was 18, I would still take a flying leap into my bed to prevent the monster that lives underneath it from grabbing at my ankles. I still don’t like to have any body part of mine hanging over the edge of my mattress. Usually that only affects my hands, since I am a midget, as Kurt loves to remind me. He always ends up with his feet hanging off the edge if he’s not in the fetal position, thereby popping off the flat sheet every night. That’s what he gets for being 6’3″!!

Basically what I am trying to say is that Grace comes by it honestly.

One more thing before I leave you. Today Grace decided to inform me of her likes and dislikes. She had just brought me her monkey nightgown so I could help her put it on, and then she made the following statement:

“I love monkeys! I love monkeys and birds and butterflies. But not bunnies or squares [she can’t say squirrels]. See? [points to bunny in front yard] I don’t like bunnies. I only like monkeys and birds and butterflies!!”

Well, alrighty then!


5 Responses to “A’skeered of the dark”

  1. art Says:

    welp i know that if you gave gracie some crackers and have her sit out in the front porch, maybe some squares will come over and eat the lil crackers, i know she will get a kick outta that!!

  2. shipjumper Says:

    I had a monster in my closet growing up, but as soon as I learned my older brother was chicken of the dark I in turn become NOT afraid and would protect him. My closet monster disappeared.

  3. terri t. Says:

    Isn’t it funny what we retain from our childhood. I started saying a little prayer at night…..Let the White Light of the Spirit shine on me and protect me…. and I can visualize a light on me. And if I open my eyes, I fully expect to have a light on me and there isn’t any….!

  4. sleepyjane Says:

    When we were younger we were allowed to watch movies that had age restrictions, ie horror movies. And I remember watching a movie ‘Shakma’ and that night I was so scared. I cried so hard because I didn’t want to go to bed. 🙂 Here’s the link:

    Anywho, there are loads more but I also don’t sleep with any part of me off the bed to this day. 🙂

    Grace is adorable – now I know what you mean when you say it’s hard to be down when you’re in the company of such an awesome kid!!

  5. michele Says:

    can’t you just stop her from growin’ up? LOL!!! That is really neat in itself that she is developing such skills as to know what she likes and doesn’t like. It must be so amazing to see her mature like that!

    And for me, I don’t like to stand next to my car and have my feet cross the imaginary line of the bottom of the car. If that happens for some reason (like if I’m reaching far across the seat while standing outside the car) then I get all freaked out. I can definitely understand why you’d fear the dark. Nothing weird about that at all.

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