I grew up above a funeral home. The lock on our door was broken. I had a stalker who prank called me for my entire adolescence. My two favorite movies growing up were Mommie Dearest and Sybil. And my childhood best friend thought it was hysterical to hide behind stuff and jump out and scream. I know a little something about fear.
I slept with a kitchen knife under my pillow. I would watch my cats intensely for signs that they heard a noise that I may have missed there by giving me a head start on getting away from the manic mass murderer who was inevitably coming to get me. Fear was my constant companion. And when you have a constant companion you learn how to incorporate that companion into your every day life.
I learned how to cope. I looked for protection and found protection sorely lacking. I faced my fears regularly and became aware of things I could do and should not do so that I could keep my fear level reasonable. I won’t get into what stories I tell myself or rituals I have cause y’all would think I need to be medicated. And maybe I do…but I come from hardy German/Lutheran stock and we really don’t encourage the drama.
It took me awhile to figure out what was not a good idea for me to do. Like, not a good idea to watch Children of the Corn. Good idea to watch Caroline’s Comedy Hour. NOT a good idea to read anything by Stephen King. Good idea to read Seventeen magazine (although I wasn’t allowed to have a subscription…I got Young Miss…*sigh*). Bad idea to listen to Heavy Metal music…good idea to listen to christian talk radio….I know, I know….but whatever calms the fear and soothes the soul….Amen and hallelujah!!!
I used to listen to christian talk radio at night. It was soothing to have a voice talking about God while I tried to fall asleep. I would put the radio on sleep timer and usually have to reset it a few times before sleep finally found me. I mean really, how could I possibly relax when I had to make sure I didn’t accidently stab myself in my sleep with the gigantic kitchen knife I had hidden under my pillow? Anyway…..
One night, my best friend and I were home alone for the night. We were about 11 years old and my mom was working late. This wasn’t a common occurrence but it happened every now and then. I was just happy to not be alone….even if she was constantly running into the room and hiding so she could jump out and scare the shit out of me. God that pissed me off!!! And she ALWAYS got me. Always. She was the second youngest of 8 kids. If only I could get her back….
We were getting ready for bed and she brushed her teeth with a quickness so as to run into the bedroom and hide and jump out and give me a heart attack. By this time, I was on edge and pissed off. I couldn’t sneak attack her…I wasn’t fast enough. So, off she runs, into the bedroom where the radio had been off for the entire day when all of the sudden, as she is snickering in anticipation of my shriek of fear when she pops out at me, a disembodied voice says “Hi! My name is Bob and I’m going to rent your room!!!”
I have never ever heard any girl scream as loudly as she did as she ran from the room right into me, hugging me and laughing (cause that’s what she did when she got scared)!!!! Apparently the radio had turned on and a commercial for something or other just happened to be on at that exact moment!! Can you believe it? I didn’t have to do anything!!!! Those christian radio preachers were RIGHT!!! they said “Let go and let God get’em!!!” And He did!!! You wouldn’t believe how many times in my life has God masqueraded as a guy named Bob…
I hate when people pop out at me, in real life or in the movies. I don’t like scary movies and I have had my fill of ghost stories. I used to love a psychological thriller but my marriage kind of killed that for me. Despite that, when my best friend (not the same best friend…) suggested we go see Black Swan, I agreed. I know I cannot afford to be scared. I am The Mom now and I have to be brave in all situations. It’s in the job description so I cannot take a risk that a movie may put me over my fear threshold. Regardless of the fact that I know this movie is supposed to be creepy and disturbing, I really was in the mood for popcorn and I had a free ticket.
My best friend was a little leery of being freaked out too…but we had heard SO much about this movie. It was good…really good. I watched the gross scenes through my fingers and I had to lighten up the mood by mentioning that Barbara Hershey’s dentures were far too big for her face…..that could make anyone psycho.
On the way to my car in the parking garage, a really good looking guy was walking in step with me. He was headed towards the parking garage with a belt in his hand. I mention that he is really good looking because all the psycho murders in the movies are good looking. He actually smiled and held the door open and as I felt the background music (in my head) swell….he took the stairs down as I took the stairs up….whoa…close call.
Then, I get in the car and call the kids. They don’t answer. Now I am sure Natalie Portman is in my house forcing my kids to do fouette turns and stabbing herself with a nailfile….damn it…and me without my kitchen knife.