This I Believe

Nicole - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Spooky noises and dark shadows dancing around the room. This is what used to come to my mind when the dark was mentioned. But what comes forward is due to experiences. Maybe a bad experience with a horror film or Halloween influences the idea that the dark is bad, but experience lead to this idea. I believe that experiences shape beliefs. For example, today I believe in the dark, but I didn’t always.

I was given the oldest sibling privilege of having the only first floor bedroom. When light showed through my windows, my bedroom was something to brag about and hold over my sisters’ heads, but night was a different story. I would hear monsters making noises in my closet, and goblins preparing to grab my ankles from under the bed. Although I’d been told on more than one occasion that they didn’t exist, I had my doubts. What scared me the most was that I couldn’t see where these terrors were.

As I got older, no longer did monsters and goblins fright my dreams, but “bad people” from shows like C.S.I. took over. Along with my age and night frights, my family transitioned into a new house, and my mom did not want a house alarm. Why? I’m still not sure, but she just requested and extremely well-lit yard. I stayed quiet about desiring an alarm for only one reason- having my dad around helped ease my imagination. He made everything in the house, including myself, feel untouchable to outsiders. After the move, my dad started racking in frequent flyer miles. His business trips became more frequent and lasted longer. When he was gone the dark seemed darker, the silence of the night louder, and every sound more exaggerated. Every night I would triple check every lock on every door and every window. I would grab a bat, quickly peek under my bed, and tightly close my closet door– just I case Frankenstein did exist.

I would religiously do this routine up until this past year, when I discovered that if the dark hid the monsters, goblins, and intruders from my sight, it also hid me from theirs. When I looked around my room at night, dark was all I saw. How could the monsters see anything more? The dark isn’t here to scare me or play on my imagination, but rather to keep me safe and aware. Because of it, I never let my guard down. Tonight, like every night, I will sleep in complete darkness– no nightlight and my bedroom door closed. Maybe I’ll even leave my closet door open to give the monsters some air.

If I had continued to sleep with my room as bright as day, I would have never had my terrifying, yet enlightening experiences with the dark. I would still be afraid of it instead of believing in it. But I did, and now it do.