Slice of Life Story - Fear of the Dark
Having spent the last three days in Sydney enjoying the wonderful company of my grandson, Cooper, I have noted that in many respects he is relatively fearless. He is willing to try new things and is most trusting. He climbs and runs with a genuine confidence and spirit. He displays persistence when faced with a challenge and clearly wants to be seen as independent. Not bad for a three year old.
Spending time with him set me to thinking about some of the fears and concerns that visited themselves upon my own childhood. By comparison to Cooper, I was a wimp. Particularly, when it came to the dark as I recall...
Darkness in my early years was associated with fear. Fear of things that lurked in the dark. Fear of the unknown creature that was waiting to pounce. Fear of snakes that lay at the foot of my bed. Fear of someone hiding beneath my bed. With my phobia well developed it was little wonder I had a night light in my bedroom as a child. Not a really bright light that lit up the whole room, just a globe that provided a dull glow and removed some of the night shadows from my room. I would further request that my bedroom door not be completely shut. The shaft of light provided a comforting link with the outer world of my parents. The night light didn’t rid me of the snakes at the foot of my bed. I still slept scrunched up in the foetal position, my toes unwilling to explore the far reaches of my bed.
Darkness presented me with real problems when we visited my Nana’s place. Nana's toilet was for me, inconveniently located in the laundry away from the house. You had to go out the back door, down the steps, past the fernery to the attached bathroom. It faced towards the garden and away from the house. Huge palm trees stood to attention in front of you whispering the secrets of the wind and playing to fertile young imaginations. Worse still the bathroom had no light. You sat in the menacing gloom hoping not to put your hand on a spider. I would get my mother to stand at the back door landing and talk to me while I gingerly negotiated the dangerous route to the darkened room. As long as I could hear her voice I felt safe.