Written by Ashley Lopez
I’m 26 years old and I’m scared of the dark. As much as I need the dark to sleep in (literally, I can’t sleep with any lights on), I cannot fathom what’s in it.
This past week, I spent time with my dear friend and confessed to her that I’m scared of the dark. I’ve been feeding my fear since I was a child. There isn’t a significant moment in my life that I can remember and confidently say, “Okay, I became scared of the dark because/when…” Nothing. Nada.
When I say I feed my fear, I mean that I paint realistic pictures in my mind that aren’t true to make my fear overwhelmingly apparent in my life. I don’t do much to try and tame my fears. I’ve let them simmer for years on end now. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been scared to sleep with the closet open, the door open, sleep in a house alone, sleep in large houses, sleep with the blinds or curtains open, sleep in living rooms, walk to and from my car at night, walk in large parking lots, enjoy the night sky while in nature, be in the wilderness, hike alone, and more. I’m not saying that I don’t do any of these things because I do partake in some of them, but I’m a worried wreck when doing so.
To me, there’s either a murderer coming for me, an evil spirit, a man trying to rob and strangle me, or worse (I don’t want to say the worst for the sake of this blog, but trust me when I say I can definitely go there). I don’t know if I’m more scared of the dark or men, or maybe even myself. I don’t know what to do to ease my scary mind. At times, I don’t know how to make myself feel brave. I just want to be one with the dark and my terrors and kick their ass. I don’t want to feel completely unprepared for moments in my life that may need me step up and stop being alarmed. I’m tired of letting my anxieties get the best of me and control aspects of my life.
To make things simple, I am now pushing myself to sleep with the closet open. I’m on day four and I fall asleep just fine. It’s waking up to use the restroom in the middle of the night that frightens me. It’s the rabbit hole I fall into that runs me. It’s not knowing what’s lurking in my closet that ties knots in my chest. After I successfully manage to sleep with the closet open, I will move on to leaving the door open and will believe that there is not a man with a gun waiting outside my bedroom for me. I also want to try and watch scary movies to train my mind to comprehend the difference between reality and fiction.
But the thing is, the scope between reality and fantasy is so thin—especially to me. Who’s to say that the unbelievable won’t actually happen? How can I finally believe the unbelievable to be untrue? Am I making any sense right now?
I know this probably sounds super irrational and kiddish, but I know I’m not alone in this. I know I am not the only one with irrational fears. I often wonder if they really are irrational. There has to be a reason as to why I’m scared. My friend said that maybe in my past life I dealt with dark spirits. Maybe I did. I’m not too religious, but I do believe that the universe has something in store for me after I die and it’s all connected. I’m connected to something and it’s time I start to embrace it.
I hope this post didn’t make me sound totally pathetic. I hope one of you can relate, even if it’s just minor. This week I challenge you to face a fear you may have and try to take steps to overcome it.
Thanks for reading, xo.