What frightens you? Just about everything frightens me. I credit that to growing up in a household where my mother was just sure that everyone and everything was out to get us. As the old saying goes, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.”
When I was a kid I would memorize shifty-looking people’s faces in line at the bank, in case the sketch artist needed my information after they robbed the place. In restaurants I would scope out the exits and calculate the path to the kitchen from our table. I even had a plan for a home invasion- I would hide under my bed. Clever, right?
As I grew up, I outgrew a lot of these fears, but I still startle easily and I still have no problem envisioning worst case scenarios. I don’t dwell on these things, though, at least not during the daylight hours. In my sleep, though, sometimes my fears get the best of me.
Last night, for example, I woke up sweating, with my heart pounding. What was the source of this terror? A bad dream, of course. But it wasn’t just bad, it was terrifying. When I think about it, I’m not sure why it was so scary. Let me tell you the dream, or what I remember of it.
I was someplace semi-public (the synagogue I visited last weekend comes to mind) and I was in a restroom stall there. I saw a pair of legs and feet on the other side of the door that I recognized as one of my nephews. I asked him what he was doing in the ladies room, but he didn’t answer. Instead he walked out and turned off the light. I was plunged into complete darkness. I kept calling his name for him to come back and turn on the light, but he didn’t come. That was it. That was what woke me up terrified. Crazy, right?
In real life I’m not afraid of my nephew, and I’ve been in a restroom where someone has turned off the light. It didn’t incite panic in me. I’m sure I had my purse with me in the dream and could have used my phone to light the way, or even if not I could have figured out how to get out or even waited a few minutes until someone else came in and turned the light on. By the light of the day, my rational mind doesn’t see this scenario as too big of a deal, but in my dream state it was terrifying.
What do you think? Have I lost my mind? Am I afraid of being left in the dark? What does this dream, and my extreme reaction to it, mean about me? Any guesses are welcome. Also, I’m curious to know, what scares you when you turn out the lights?