@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
Yes. Quite simply and fully. Always have been, always will be.
Even if I love it now, in many ways, the dark is when I tell jokes and make people laugh, the dark is when you’re comfortable in bed: for sleep, for sex, for warmth, for the love of nothingness. The dark is when Manhattan looks stunning, all those lights illuminating the dark.
When visiting Iceland in June, it never got dark. It was always light. And I missed it. I missed the dark.
Though nothing was as terrifying as the unknown darkness when you’re a child. Where monsters lurked. Where there was uncertainty, and no comfort. Where the safety of light is gone. The shadow isn’t a shadow, it’s all consuming.
To this day, I’m afraid of basements. I hate them. I hate basements. I think it’s more of a claustrophobia than nyctophobia, but the dank darkness doesn’t help.
We forget how scary it is to be a child, because if we’re lucky, childhood is filled with laughter, wonder, adventure. Because adulthood presents new levels of terror, and so looking back, if we’re lucky, the dreaded moments of adolescence are sorely outweighed by pleasantness of companionship, love, fun, and happiness.
But when you’re a child, there are ghosts in the attic, demons in the closet, shadow people in the bushes, the thought of your parents dying, if war can happen on home territory, if you go to sleep and monsters come, if you go to sleep and don’t wake up, the thought of your parents dying, being left alone, spiders, creepy ass clowns, needles, strangers, the thought of your parents dying, crawling bugs, the dead rising from cemeteries, drowning, the fog, bullies, getting eaten by an alligator, alien abductions, the thought of your parents dying.
It’s damn near horrific being a child.
Riding my bike home, a mere kid, alone in the dark, I would watch out of the corner of my eyes for anything suspicious. A car comes down the street. Is that a good thing, or not? Some people are evil. You know this. Your parents warned you of this. You’ve seen enough evidence for it to be true. Is it a good guy or a bad guy behind the wheel. The driver in the car is real. The things moving in your peripheral are not. Right? The car passes. The street light flickers. It jumps your heart rate. Pedal faster. To home. To safety. To mom and dad. Brother and sister. To soft blankets, a bowl of ice cream, and something funny on television.
Though even there, in the comforts of our home, when the lights were turned off, we would run up the stairs quick, on all fours, like a frightened mammal that hears a predator nearby. Run to the light.
The adult female never really has the opportunity not to be afraid of the dark. Carry mace. Carry a knife. Don’t go here too late. Watch out of the corner of your eye, always. Don’t go alone. Cover your drink. Don’t trust anyone. Especially men. Don’t trust men. Don’t run at night. Don’t travel alone. Don’t even go to the bathroom alone. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Do be afraid of the dark.
What a way to live.
Not without proper reason. Isn’t that what we’re all afraid of in the end? The big sleep. Darkness. No longer existing. Blackness, forever. Of course, you will not be afraid of it then, because you will not know to be afraid of it. But that’s worse, isn’t it? No justice, no meaning, no laughing with your loved ones again. So man created God. Not the other way around.
God is light. And who’s to say God is not light?
G.K. Chesterton wrote, “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”
Because darkness gives light meaning. Death makes life worthwhile. Pain makes love ecstasy. For the same reason the Manhattan skyline looks sensational at night. And the stars in the night sky in Hawaii give one the feeling that darkness is more than okay, it’s superb.
It’s the tale humans have been telling for centuries. Be it in the bible. A western. A sci-fi flick. A romance. Written on cave walls. Written in literature. Comic books. Song lyrics. Good vs Evil. Light vs Dark.
A lot of those childhood fears never go away. So much of the time, they just turn into something else. Though some never go away. The thought of your parents dying. The thought of anyone you love dying. But as G.K. Chesterton wrote: “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.”