Shivering in the cold sweat of fear I peeked out from under the blanket engulfment I had made. If the fears I had were real; I really doubt I would be safe under a blanket, but somehow I felt a tiny bit safer. I looked past the eerie shadows to the end of the room to find the old brass doorknob on the closed white door. I built up all the strength and bravery I could, jumped out of bed and made a beeline for the door. I fumbled with the doorknob and opened it as quickly as I could with flashes of terror jolting through every vein in my body.
Finally, I was out of the nightmare fest they called my room. That was only the first step; I had to muster up the strength to ignore the terrifying shapes and possibilities of what could be in the darkness engulfing my entire house and somehow make it to my mother’s room. I took a deep breath; as I did so, I had to unclench my overly tightened jaw.
“You can do it Mila… you can get there, you definitely can’t stay here.” I mumbled to myself.
Running as fast as my little body could to my mom’s room took an amount of bravery I didn’t even know I had. Tears and sweat ran down into my eyes making my already scary surroundings much worse. Terror is a horrid feeling; my insides were all jumbled and they had forgotten where they were supposed to be. I suddenly understood why in cartoons when they were scared their insides jumped right out of their skin and ran away; mine felt as though they desperately wanted to.
“Mom, mom, MOM!” I whispered from piano to forte.
“What?” she annoyingly grumbled.
“I can’t sleep, I am really afraid of the aliens. They are coming to get me.” I replied.
“There are no aliens.” She responded matter of factly.
“Can I sleep in here? I really can’t sleep, I am really scared.”
“No, go sleep on the couch.” She turned over and began breathing deeply.
I guessed I was on my own. I fought the urge to scream and made my way to the dark, spooky living room. I didn’t know how the living room was supposed to help; it was ten times scarier than my bedroom. I looked up at giant spider in the shadows and had to remind myself it was a plant. I wrapped the blanket around my whole body until only my eyes were visible. I tried to calm down and tell myself there was nothing to be afraid of, but I wasn’t very convincing. I don’t know how long I was awake, but when I woke up the fear had subsided and I could see clearly thanks to the glow of the morning sun.
I am not sure if my childhood fears were abnormal or if everyone had fears like mine. Most of my fears stemmed from things I watched. It all started with Ghostbusters. I put off taking baths until I was forced to because I swore the green goo would come through the plumbing. Whatever it was couldn’t be good. I was also terrified that something would jump out at me behind the shower curtain. I still have a hard time going to a bathroom with the curtain closed.
I wasn’t just afraid of the bath; it was the sinks, toilet and pool. All of these were sources of terror for me. Whether it be because Jaws was going to eat me when I was swimming or a grotesque rotting hand would grab me when I used the toilet; I was terrified of it all. I spent much of my childhood trembling under my blankets because of my over-active imagination. I was sometimes aware of how irrational these thoughts were, but I couldn’t control them. Once the adrenaline flew through me, it took over and there was no escaping it.
All of these fears were like apple pie compared to the one that tortured me the most. Why did my dad have to make me watch x-files. I don’t know if I am the only one to keep their childhood fears, but to this day I still have my nighttime panics. I will be curled up in my bed, and I have to pull the covers over my head. If my legs are to close to the edge I have to pull them closer to me. I am a 32-year-old woman and sometimes I am still terrified of Aliens. What is wrong with me? I am not sure I am actually terrified of Aliens; maybe it’s just the familiarity of the feeling. Maybe I am just afraid of feeling terrified and that’s what did it as a child. As an adult I realize being afraid of Aliens to the extent that I am is pretty irrational. Maybe the fear of Aliens is somewhat feasible because there is no proof whether they exist or not. At this point I am not so much afraid of Aliens coming for me, but that recognizable fear keeps me awake. Maybe I just need to face it somehow.
When I was a teenager my friends and I had a séance at my first love’s house. We were convinced there were spirits of his relatives there. We saw weird things like lights go on and off and the TV working on it’s own. I was terrified of ghosts for a long time after that weird night. I faced it when my Grandfather died. I was lying in the spare room and thinking about the tragic yet necessary events of the day. I was sort of staring off into space, just thinking. Then, I saw it, my Grandfather’s smiling, wrinkly face. His giant ears made me giggle because I spent hours staring at them as a kid. They were soft and dangly and he would let me play with them. He looked up at me and I felt completely at peace. It was as if he wanted to say goodbye and let me know he was ok. Not just ok, but his smile stretched from one floppy ear to the other and I knew, he was happy. I was never afraid of ghosts again. Hopefully one day, I can meet an Alien, a nice one.