Posts Tagged With: boogeyman

 
 

The Power of a Few Blankets

Friday Letter to my Kids – April 3, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I grew up in the no-bike-helmets, no-parental-supervision-all-summer, kick-the-can-long-after-dark, stay-away-from-the-river, eat-all-the-sugar-you-want and drink-red-Koolaid era. We lived fearlessly and with abandon.

boogeyman (not John Travolta)

boogeyman (not John Travolta)

Why then, as a child, would I feel the need to hide and protect myself at night, at home in my own bed? Why would my nighttimes fill up with so much fright and worry?

I have no idea. Honestly. I’m just a weird kid. Or I was.

Okay, let’s be honest. I still am weird.

If anything, the world’s gotten scarier the older I’ve gotten, but not in the boogeyman kinds of ways. And of course, I can talk myself through the things that go make odd noises in the dark, usually. But I do still sleep with a light on if your Dad is out-of-town or hasn’t come to bed yet.

I suppose I’m just a creature of habit.

From as young as I can recall I’ve always gone to sleep with the covers over my head and just my nose and mouth poking out for breathing.

That’s not an easy thing to achieve. Getting the covers to wrap around your head and eyes and still snug in under your chin takes some skill. It’s trickier if you’re sharing the bed with someone, which I have for most of my life. The secret, I suppose, lies in scrunching down low enough on the mattress, toes almost touching the end of the bed.

Floating head phantom creature.

Floating head phantom creature.

Most people waste that bottom twelve inches of mattress space, but not me. It’s necessary to use every bit of leg room for proper cacooning under sheet, blanket and comforter.

You wonder, no doubt, how I came to sleep this way. I have no idea. Perhaps I was cold one night as a tiny munchkin and discovered the perfect sleeping arrangement. Everyone knows if your head is warm the rest of your body will stay warmer. I’d guess that’s how sleeping caps came into vogue back a few centuries ago. I could go for one of those some nights even now. Except that I have my head wrapping sleep position down to a science.

The other possibility lies in this true fact: I’m a born worrier and a ‘fraidy cat. It’s true. I didn’t come into this worry addiction by accident. I’m certain I arrived, heaven’s dust still shining on my little chubby cheeks, worried about some potential catastrophe and scared outta my newborn diaper about every little noise and new thing in the world.

He looks harmless enough, but watch out!!!

Only looks harmless…

That’s a lot to come in to the world with. Maybe I learned to be afraid of the dark, although I think that came as part and parcel of the whole Kami package. I remember yelling for Mom from the safety of my warm bed after a scary dream, or needing a drink. I’d yell a good ten minutes or more if that’s what it took. My poor mother. I must have done that a few thousand times to her. Little did I know at the time what I was doing to her sanity and her sleep deficit. (Sorry, Mom!!)

Karma, also known as getting what’s coming to you…

I suppose all the middle of the night waking you kids did while you were young could be defined as Karma. I had it coming to me.

Afraid of the dark and worrying about life made me want to hunker down under the covers and hide from the world, especially the nighttime world. I somehow felt protected by those few inches of cloth, from whatever intruder, ghost, goblin, boogeyman, specter or fearsome creature might appear in my bedroom.

Mike? Mike Wazowski? Gah!!

Mike?

Maybe my bedroom door really did open up on Monsters, Inc. back in the day. Who wouldn’t be petrified if Sulley, or Mike Wazowski, or heaven forbid, Randall, appeared in their bedroom from time to time. Oy vey! But, I don’t believe in monsters, so that can’t be why.

I suppose why doesn’t really matter. I suppose I just wanted you to know a little something more about me. Maybe it explains something you never understood about your dear Mom. Or maybe it just cements the idea that you have an odd mother. That’s okay. It’d be as close to the truth as you can get.

Hey, occasionally I find myself falling asleep just fine without my head protected and my eyes covered. Of course, I’m usually reading a book when that happens.

Happy Dreams!

All my love,

Mom

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~~~~~

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” ~Ernest Hemingway

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Categories: Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Who Me? Afraid of the Dark?

Another Friday Letter to my Kids

 

Dear J, J, L and L,

You all know I’m a bit afraid of the dark. And tight spaces. And heights.

You also ought to know that wasn’t always the case.

I’m the one who introduced your Dad to rock-climbing and let him haul you kids around on ropes and figure eights yelling, “on belay!” in your webbing knotted seat harnesses.

Now I Shake My Head at myself for letting such stuff happen. What a strange mother you had back then. I didn’t become afraid of heights until a hysterectomy happened. Massive hormone changes, no more testosterone, no more risky behavior from me. (Part of why we never visited the Grand Canyon, only a five-hour drive from here. Sorry, just couldn’t risk it.)

The tight spaces and dark neurosis I earned through childhood trauma.

The first house I ever lived in had a cellar. Basically a small cement encased room with a steep staircase and one dusty swinging light bulb with a tenuous barely reachable string hanging from it.

Not quite an actual photo of my childhood cellar stairs.

Not quite an actual photo of my childhood cellar stairs.

In order to have light on to find a quart of peaches or a pint of green beans I had to walk down into the darkness, reach up and find the string somewhere above me and pull hard to get it to turn on. Poorly lit at best, distinguishing between peaches, cherries, raspberries, beans, beets and jellies was a crapshoot.

I’d grab a couple of jars as fast as I could, before the infamous creature of the dark grabbed me and pulled me back in underneath the shelves forever. Then I’d run to the stairs. With one foot on the bottom step, an arm reaching for the string to turn the light off, and another foot ready to launch, I pulled the string then ran as hard and as fast as I could manage.

It’s a wonder I didn’t have a heart attack before the scary thing that loves the darkness grabbed me.

Then there was the second house we moved to. Sure it had another bedroom, but a vastly different kind of storage area.

My crawl space was darker and not so luxurious as this one.

My crawl space was darker and not so luxurious as this one.

Do any of you remember the crawl space under Grandpa and Grandma M’s house? It looked like any ordinary door to another room in the basement, but on opening the door one saw that it quickly squeezed down into a very small space, literally only high enough to crawl around in. The heater for the house was in that area. So were the jars of bottled fruit and veggies Mom had squirreled away from the previous summer, along with bunch of small storage items.

Grandpa M had a “path” of plywood that reached all across the length of the house and various items on either side of the path. He had a mental map, and probably a physical one, of what was where along that stretch of precious storage space. (Seven kids, three bedrooms, remember?)

Sure, there was a pull string light bulb a few steps into the dark space and a drop light somewhere halfway back, but that was all.

Felt like I got nominated more often than not to be the one to shimmy on my stomach to get some needed item from under there. Sure I got directions, “it’s probably on the right side three-fourths of the way back.” Aside from the very real possibility of snakes, mice and spiders, under there, I was sure I would die by being crushed from the house above me. Or worse yet, I knew the boogeyman was going to reach over from the rest of the unlit dark recesses and carry me off never to see sunlight or my family again.

Obviously, I survived and lived to marry and have children. But the scars remain. Dark spaces and tiny places all but suffocate and terrify me to this day.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t force any of you to go through such trauma. No cellars, no crawl spaces, no attics. Lucky you.

There was, however, that one time that still makes me chuckle and probably makes Little J still nearly jump out of her skin.

What potential this view affords.

What potential this view affords.

Back in Oklahoma, Little J liked to hang her leg over the side of the bed and let it swing as she read. Relaxing, chilling, totally into the book.

Big J spent a good hour or two hiding under little J’s bed while she was reading, probably a mystery, I forget now. (Maybe one of you can fill me in on details.) I’d never heard of a prank requiring so much patience. He may have even fallen asleep under the bed he waited so long.

And then, with no warning a hand reaches out and grabs her foot while simultaneously roaring a bone-chilling sound of doom.

It’s a wonder big J lived to tell the tale.

Poor little J. Do you still peek under your bed before getting in at night or before getting out in the morning? I hope you’ve moved beyond that. If you need therapy you should send the bill to your big brother.

At least it only happened once. But I suppose once, is all it takes, if it’s done right, to cement a phobia solidly in place.

Life is full of fears and surprises. I hope most of yours are good surprises and that all of your fears are unfounded and needless. (No I didn’t say needles, little L.)

I sure do love you all.

 

Neurotically yours,

Mom

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“Lucy: Do you think you have Pantophobia, Charlie Brown?

Charlie: I don’t know, what is pantophobia?

Lucy: The fear of Everything.

Charlie: THAT’S IT!!!” ~ Charles M Schulz

 

 

 

Categories: Friday Letters, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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