I remember so many nights, as a child, when I dreaded the thought of sleep. Most kids resisted sleep purely because they wanted to stay up with everyone else so as to make sure they didn’t miss anything or to plainly just ‘stay up late’. My anxiousness was driven by the moment when my mother tucked me in and turned off the light. In an instance, with only an alteration in an electrical current, my world surrounding me became a place of discomfort. Only an hour before, the bedroom that I was now trapped in had served as a safe haven for me to enjoy the variety of toys strewn across the floor, but the atmosphere of my room had drastically changed and was now disguised by the pitch darkness that had taken over.
As I laid in the bundle of sheets covering my body, thousands of ideas swarmed my mind as my imagination ran wild. The everyday furniture in my room slowly lost their true purpose. My mind began to change the tall standing lamp into a stranger who was watching me, waiting for the moment my eyes would shut with sleep only to capture and take me away. The trees and forest outside my window cast dancing shadows upon my bed as if things were moving around me. The closet door seemed to creek open to reveal the monster that would eventually emerge. Fear began to control every inch of my motionless body. My pulse was racing. Even though I was hot from the panic I was putting myself through, I pulled the covers that lay at the end of the bed, tight over my head and made sure to stay as far from the edges of the bed as possible. For some reason these actions guaranteed security. I was untouchable.
After exhausting myself, sleep became vital. I longed for the peaceful coma my sister was enjoying in the room across the hall. There was only one solution to the problem I had endured many nights before this one. Quickly, I reached for the knob on the lamp on the bedside table. As the light illuminated the room, my pulse began to steady. Everything was just as I’d left it and the closet door was securely shut. The light ensured me that my mind could no longer imagine the impossible, but I knew if my room became dark again, the idea of sleep would be a joke.
Although I now sleep quite comfortably in the same room in absolute darkness, my mind still roams from the actualities of life. The concealment of the dark alters my perception of the truth before me. My imagination can’t help but try and trick my knowing logicality.
At one point in time, we are all taken over by the presence of fear. Our mind becomes a whirlwind of ideas that can begin to control our absolute state of being. I believe darkness can cause the fear to grow within us.
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