Ever had a friend tell you, “Oh, you should watch this movie; it’s creepy”? Or, “You should totally read this book; it was scary!” My response (when I was younger and much less mature about one-on-one communication) was generally, “Riiiiiiight. Sure it is.” Now, I just say that in my head but it’s still there. The same goes for when someone says, “Oh man, I’m so tired! I had a really bad nightmare/insomnia, last night!” Of course, nightmare/insomnia always prompts my brain to sarcastically add, “Oh you poor baby.”
Now, before you judge me too harshly or think I’m a big ol’ meanie-head, let me explain. Since I was a kid, I’ve suffered from night terrors. Don’t know what they are? Here’s a few examples:
1. You’re lying in bed, trying to sleep, you roll over and there’s a person, consumed by shadow, standing in your room and just staring at you.
2. Head on the pillow, thinking about your day, lights are still on, and spiders begin dropping on you from the ceiling and you realize the whole thing is covered and there’s no way out.
3. Waking from sleep because someone is talking to you, you realize they’re actually in your bed, next to you, and they mean to do you harm.
In these instances, you don’t stay and chat about the weather. You launch yourself, with every muscle in your body, screaming bloody murder, as far away from this ‘thing’ as humanly possible. This launch may or may not take you through a window, over a balcony, or into a dresser. You amaze yourself with your speed and long-jump and second-guess having given up on pursuing Track in the Olympics. These are what my nights generally consist of. These are why I laugh (on the inside, remember) when people tell me something is scary, creepy, or thrilling. So, why then, you wonder, would I read or watch or listen? And, even WRITE about it?! Wouldn’t I have had enough? Nope.
I was always really careful with what I would allow myself to watch before bed (and still would be if I actually went to bed, anymore) but I enjoy the thrill, the goose bumps, the creepy stories as much as the next person so, knowing that I could trigger an episode, I’d watch/listen/read anyway. One of the things that I hadn’t ever admitted freely was that I was secretly looking for answers. I was trying to find the authors or movie-writers that had to have been like me to come up with the stuff that they did. I was hoping I would find someone with an answer to my fear.
Now, you’re probably wondering if I found any answers. The answer is just ‘maybe’. People, that don’t know me, ask where I came up with my story, the visions, the dreams, the episodes. People that do know me, ask why I would subject myself to the very genre that haunts me in books and films. I think that by facing your fears in one way or another, you have a chance to take some of their power away. If you have nightmares, write it down and analyze it. Find out where it’s coming from and break it apart from the inside out. Carefully allowing things that freak you out to enter your comfort zone can help. It might not work for all people or all fears but it’s worth a shot. I wrote my first novel, Discernment, because I couldn’t find anyone with real answers for me. I hope that my writing can provide answers for others and even for myself.
Even writing my own books creeps me out but, like most things we love, I do it anyway. If there’s something that perpetually creeps you out, my humble suggestion would be to write about, draw a picture of it, mold it out of clay and maybe it won’t seem so bad when you’re done. I don’t think it works for clowns, though.