Can you believe I'm actually admitting to being afraid of the dark? Aren't I like 25 years too old to still have that fear? Well, it's true. I am afraid of the dark, or more specifically, the things IN the dark.
I've been afraid of the dark for as long as I can remember. I think it may be my first real fear. As a child, I used to have awful recurring nightmares and it was always dark out in my nightmares. I used to tell them to my mom and they even her. I slept with a light on, not a nightlight but a lamp, for years, until I was maybe 10 or 12.
I think the root is in the fact that my parents let me watch inappropriate movies as a kid. Jaws, Poltergeist, Alien, Lost Boys, Wrath of Kahn, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween; I saw all these movies before I was ten. And those are some scary-ass movies. They scare me even now.
I also pretty vividly remember my older cousin Chuck telling me the boogeyman lived in my closet and was going to come and get me. I had to clean my closet out so I could shut the door, because I convinced myself he could only get in if the door was open.
When I was in middle school I read Stephen King's Boogeyman and that renewed my terror. I'm not really a big King fan, but let me tell you that story totally played to my fears. His description of the Boogeyman was EXACTLY how I'd always imagined him, and HE COULD ONLY GET IN IF THE CLOSET DOOR WAS OPEN. I've never been able to sleep with a closet door open. Not even a crack. Oscar's closet door doesn't fully close, so I have to jam something up against it at night or I can't sleep. Really.
I've also always had terrible vision, so a pile of clothes, or a dog, or robe hanging on the back of the door can really scare the crap out of me. I mean, unfamiliar shapes in the dark can be frightening if you have good vision, so imagine if you can't see two feet in front of your face.
I used to be afraid of monsters under my bed too, and I had to sleep completely covered up as to avoid being snacked on in the night. I don't really have this fear anymore, but I have to admit, sometimes my dogs sleep partially under the bed, and when I feel them moving under there, it scares the crap out of me. But only for a second.
These days, this fear is not so bad. Our old apartment was in a basement and it really got to me then. Now, even though our house is really dark and really old, I don't get freaked out that often. Our house doesn't creak or shift and has a really good, positive vibe. The dogs make me feel safe (when they aren't scaring the crap out of me) even though I know they are bigger chickenshits than me.
So, yes, I'm afraid of the dark but not debilitating so. I can get my self a glass of water, go to the bathroom, grab a snack, all under the cover of darkness. Sometimes I get freaked out, but mostly I'm okay.
As long as the all the closet doors are shut. And I'll admit that I double check them all every single night.