How can you be comforted and terrified of the same thing? I thought once upon a time I just enjoyed our beautiful desert sunsets because of the burnt fiery orange, the soft pink coloring in the wisps of the clouds, surrounded by the deep purple and light blue sky. Now I know otherwise, it was what it represented to me that I looked forward to. The anticipation of nightfall. The pitch black that was to come. As soon as that sun winked its good night, another day was through. I could lean my head back and gaze up into our milky way. Pretending I could teleport myself out to some far off star, or distant planet where I belonged.
As long as I focused on the stars, I was comforted, but as soon as I would pull my gaze away, I was reminded that I was not home. I had the immediate urge to run to my bed, jump under the sheets, and pull my comforter over my head. Ensuring every corner was tucked under me so the boogeyman couldn’t get me. As you are well aware, he cannot get you if he can’t see you. Breathe slowly so he doesn’t see the movement of you panting. Don’t even think about moving, or you just signed your own death warrant.
When I was a child I remember running the streets with my friends playing hide and seek, climbing trees, riding our bikes. As soon as those street lights would come on, that was our warning to get our rear ends home if we knew what was good for us. Of course we pushed the envelope. If there was the slightest bit of blue on the horizon, it wasn’t night yet. We loved the shadows and the darkness making our childhood games that much more enthralling.
It wasn’t the impending smack on the rear end that created the anticipation, pumping the adrenaline through my veins. It was the atmosphere, the electricity of the night. I could see the best, hear anything and decipher between the croaking of the toads, or the katydids calling. You could smell the changing of the earth with the sun no longer beating on it. My senses were always heightened, as a wild animal slinking out of the forest coming to stalk its prey. It still terrified me though. I thought of my awareness, and what possible creature might be lurking out there that was much more aware of me than I was of it.
Now, in my adult hood, the boogeyman has a new face. The creature in the woods is a real fear…and its manifestation is not only in my mind. My cover and solace I found in the night represented that I had made it through another day, and that I didn’t want the sun to rise because that meant facing it all over again. The tumult of my anxiety starting to rise along with the dawn. Life altering events where you cannot comprehend, turns your mind to mush, and logic goes out the window. You want to just hide. Pull the covers over your head…hold your breath..and let the blanket of the night conceal you.