I don’t believe in demons, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or most other things that go bump in the night. I’ve gone through some terrifying experiences. I’ve been tied up, gagged, raped, and shoved into a dark closet when I wasn’t even double digits. I’ve been choked, punched, kicked, and had a gun pointed right at my head. I’ve flat-lined at least twice and been resuscitated.
My point is, it takes a lot to scare me. Haunted houses are laughable. They’re not even allowed to touch you. How can it be scary when none of the blood, guts or monsters are real? I have an excellent imagination, but I find it nearly impossible to be scared when I know things aren’t real.
Movies don’t do it either. They’re even less real than haunted houses. They’re just images captured on film (or digitally) of actors doing their thing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely am not implying that I don’t get scared, because I very much do. I am startled at least once a day just passing people in the hallway that I didn’t notice. It’s a fun part of PTSD called hyper-vigilance. That’s me. I am as startled as a fainting goat.
I also get creeped out, grossed out, anxious and I can even tie my own imagination into knots. I was sick a few weeks ago and watched the latest season of The Walking Dead in one weekend. When I left the house, I was seriously on guard for zombies until I realized that was silly.
So, I am capable of being startled and I definitely can be scared. It’s just that movies and haunted houses don’t do it for me. With Halloween right around the corner, I thought I’d talk about things that genuinely scare me.
I’ve been financially independent (not by choice) since I was fifteen years old. In all that time, I’ve never gone an entire year without a job. Unemployment scares the bejeezus out of me. First, there’s the loss of financial security and not knowing where your next meal will come from. Second, there’s all that time on my hands. I don’t do well with a lot of time on my hands. The last time I was unemployed, about four years ago, I ran aground on the second thing that scares me…
If you’re unlucky enough to have the chronic kind, depression is one of the scariest things I can think of. It means your brain is working against you. Your own brain is trying to convince you that you’re worthless. It’s all hopeless. You might as well give in to the darkness and end it all now… Seriously, how scary is that? It takes a tremendous amount of strength to fight it.
I just finished watching the new Cosmos series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. If you haven’t seen it, you should, because the cosmos is awesome in the original sense of the word. It will make you realize just how significant all of humankind really is on a cosmic scale, which is to say, not very. Anyway, in one of the episodes, Neil takes us through global warming and spells it out for us that we humans are very much responsible for global warming and what will happen to the planet if we don’t halt our evil ways. Terrifying business.
Outliving my body
One of my biggest fears is having my mind intact inside a body that can’t do anything about it, like being paralyzed from head to toe as in Johnny Got His Gun. Being trapped in your own mind sounds awful, but honestly, I’d take that over the next thing on the list…
The flip side of having a sound mind trapped in a broken body is abject insanity. When I watched Pink Floyd’s The Wall, I related just a little too much with Pink. As I’ve said before: “Aside from the giant marching Nazi hammers, the man-eating vaginas, children being put through a meat grinder and all the rest, the scariest part about this movie to me is being trapped in your own mind with all of that. Pink has completely lost touch with reality and is living in a world that no one would ever choose to live in and there’s no way out.”
Part of the reason that ghost and ghouls and goblins aren’t scary to me is that I’ve seen the most evil creature on the planet in action–humans. Humans are the worst kind of monster there is. They kill, rape, steal, torture, enslave, make lampshades out of each other, and then look you right in the eye and lie about it. They can convince themselves that no matter what kind of evil they’re doing, it’s not that bad. Someone else is to blame as much as they are or more. It was an order. It’s their parents’ fault. It’s society’s fault. It’s video games, heavy metal music, comic books… It’s always someone or something else. I’ve never heard of a lying ghost. They tend to be pretty up front about things.
Humans are capable of selfless good, too, but they let the evil take over so often.
What’s on your list?