Childhood Fears

Things I was scared of as a child
December 30, 2008
Fear is a bit of a taboo subject. We don't really like to talk about it and expose our weaknesses, yet we all have them. We were all scared of things as a child, maybe it was clowns, or ghosts, and I'm pretty sure there's not a person reading this that wasn't afraid of the dark.

But I'm going to talk about the things that scared me as a child that may be unique. I am also curious if other people had similar fears, or what their fears were.
First I'll talk about movies that scared me. As I look back at it, it's funny to me that something so cheesy scared the crap out of me for years. The movie I'm talking about is "Gremlins."

Those green little bastards haunted me for years. This movie planted in my brain that weird scary little green guys lurked around every corner to do nasty things to me. This movie also doubled up with another fear of mine, the basement. I grew up in Wisconsin and I was the youngest. That meant I was the beer getter. The beer fridge was in the basement with one set of 5 steps and another of 7 to get to the bottom. You can bet it was a mere two jumps to come up from that dark gremlin infested nightmare.

Eventually, I found the humor of the movie. Watching it enough times tamed my fear and helped me see past my fear. I even had a read-along book of the gremlins that played a mini record. The kind that you needed that little round piece to play them. I also had a sweet go-bots record player with a picture of Scooter on it. Why exactly I was so afraid of this movie I'll never know, but I distinctly remember being frozen in my tracks the first time I saw it.
Not to be outdone, Hollywood saw to it that I should be scared of water as well. My first watching of "Jaws" had me scared to take a bath. I'm not joking. After seeing that movie, and I was old enough to know better, but my mind pictured me getting eaten by a shark in the bathtub if I closed my eyes for a second.

I think this one is a more valid fear. Plenty of grown-ups are scared of water or swimming or getting eaten by a shark. This was explained to me as a child to help overcome my new fear. I am happy to tell you that I am fear-free of water and will only pee in the water if it's a lake or river and I've been drinking, not because I'm scared.
What you remember as a child fascinates me. Some of the most mundane things are forever kept in some part of my brain. Is it important? Does it reveal something about my life? No. I remember it for some reason I will never know. As a kid, I had night-terrors. For those that don't know, it's a step beyond nightmares. Nightmares wake you up, maybe a little rattled, but you are able to go back to sleep. More times than my parents would like to count I woke up screaming and frightened beyond belief. For some reason, the dream I still remember, don't laugh at me now, was about Gonzo.

That's right, from the Muppets. Weird thing is, I was never afraid of the Muppets, ever. But I had a night-terror of Gonzo standing on top of a boulder chasing me down. I would turn and get near my house, but he would come out of nowhere and make me have to change directions, never getting into the safety of my home. I have no idea why I remember this dream, but I do. I remember being terrified and I can clearly recall parts of that dream better than the ones I had last night.

The final thing I already mentioned, the dark. But it's not what you think. It was something I called phantoms. This still sticks out clearly in my mind and brings shivers down my spine. I have an older sister and we shared a room until I was about 8. Then, when she got her own room, and I was left to battle the darkness alone. Only a mere 15 ft away from my parent's room, in the dark that was miles to travel from the safety of my bed.

I would wake up at night quite a bit. In the doorway I could see two figures. They were blacker then the rest of the black of the darkness. These two figures seemed to be talking, since their heads moved and I could see hands moving as well. I always thought it was my parents whispering things about me thinking I was asleep. So very softly I would say, "Mom?" But would not get an answer back. So steadily, my voice would get louder and shakier because these two black shapes were talking about me but not responding.

Eventually my voice would get loud enough to wake my actual parents up and depending on the time of night one of two things would happen. Someone would come to comfort me, or I was told to go back to sleep. I'm still not a great sleeper today, no longer of fear, just can't shut my brain off sometimes. I am sympathetic to my poor parents that lost countless nights of sleep do to my wild imagination. But to this day, the memory of those phantoms scares the child in me.
I am really hoping to get some feedback on this one, I have not been reading from retrojunk for very long, so if an article like this has already been published, I did not mean to copy the idea. These are my personal fears as a kid and I'm curious if anyone shared something like these or would like to share their own. Thanks for reading.
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