I’m Afraid of the Dark, There I’ve Admitted It

So, are you afraid of the dark?

This past Thanksgiving I finally got around to watching The Dark Knight Rises. Actually I kind of stared as the actors and actresses moved through the scenes. Thing is I really tried. I even went back to the beginning but still couldn’t get a handle on Anne Hathaway’s catwoman and Christian Bale’s batman. Just as I was thinking maybe I’d gotten too old and cynical to be entertained by fantasy, make believe comic book characters, Bane eventually delivered a line that left me riveted.

Gotham City is in trouble again but for the life of me I couldn’t conjure up even a modicum of care for the perpetual partying rich socialites. Then Bane uttered these words: “Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man. By then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!”  Now that was something I could wrap my mind around.

The darkness, being afraid of the darkness, especially when I was child, a lot less now, but I’ve never felt it was my ally. According to some experts fear of the dark can manifest in children as young as 2 or 3. The time in a child’s life when their imagination is blossoming and they don’t yet know how to determine fantasy from reality. This suggests that with age we shed our fear of the darkness.

I beg to differ. I’m a full grown woman and can definitely distinguish between reality and imagination. I’ve even been accused of being able to do a bit of cognitive thinking. But I’m of the opinion anything is possible and I suspect this belief has thwarted me outgrowing this fear of the dark. It’s even worse when I’m alone in a different place in a strange bed. Too much Stephen King and movies like The Ring combined with this anything is possible belief has definitely kept darkness from being my ally.

Speaking of The Ring, I found it boring until the lead character had her son’s father watch the video despite knowing it would end badly for him. What caused my sleepless nights though was when that waterlogged creature, ghost whatever crawled out of the television. Now taking away the only ally that saved me from darkness was truly cold-blooded. It was months before I was completely over that scene and trusted my television again.

I’ve always envied those who seemed to have no fear of the dark. My brothers and sisters and I were raised on ghost stories and scary television shows like The Twilight Zone and Sunrise Theater. Yet when my sister and I crawled into the bed we shared before long she was asleep, ditto for my brothers in the other room. I on the other hand lost sleep waiting for things that never manifested. It was all I could do to keep from asking how they were able to fall asleep so fast. It wasn’t fair I tell you.

Since I’ve never asked, I wonder how many adults are afraid of the dark. I imagine a lot of people won’t admit it even if they are. After all there’s a stigma attached, being that it’s attributed to young children. If you’re my age and still afraid that something’s lurking in the closet, beneath the bed, or outside your door and soon as you’re drenched in darkness will shuffle out to get you, you need to have that fixed.

In the meantime when I’m up working late into the night I find myself going, “Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man. By then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!”  I’m sorry but a man who talks like that can blow up Gotham City for all I care.

How Becoming a HuffPost Commenter Boosted This Writer’s Self-Confidence

One commentary coming right up.

Commenting about issues and hoping to make a difference, is truly empowering. Instead of reading trolls ridiculous mudslinging on CNN.com, USAToday.com, and several others, I became a power commenter, thanks to The Huffington Post. The moderators can keep you pending but that’s a small price to pay to avoid crossing the troll bridge.

A lack of confidence kept me from engaging right away. Who, I wondered, would give a damn about what I had to say. Then I had an epiphany.  Maybe they wouldn’t want to hear what I had to say, but maybe they would Mary_Catter.  The name’s a play on Alice Adventures in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter. Then I made Tigger’s looking out the window image my avatar, and thus Mary_Catter stepped through The Looking-Glass.

For a long stretch there wasn’t much I wanted to comment about. Then I read a real infuriating article. It was about Todd Aiken’s interview in which he stated if a woman was legitimately raped her body could shut that whole thing down to avoid getting pregnant. That such a Neanderthal zealot could end up in the senate forced Mary_Catter into a passive-aggressive battle.

I marched a battalion of words across the rectangular box reserved for them. The comment was brief but heartfelt. Even if only one person liked it I would still consider it time well spent. So I sent my message to the cyberverse battlefield and returned to my manuscript. Surprisingly, the words flowed like lava. It seemed the mere act of commenting exploded the writing muse inside of me.

Hours later when I returned to Huffington Post lo and behold several notifications awaited me. I clicked on the word notification. To my relief and surprise, they were favs, one F&F and a reply gushing about how she loved the imagery. Of course I thanked them by fanning them and that dear friends felt really great.

I quickly grew drunk with power and found myself commenting with mad aplomb. I’d encountered like-minded individuals, mostly political junkies like myself and I was thrilled I tell you, absolutely Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch thrilled. Finally I had validation that people, complete strangers, liked what I had to say.

One guy, at least according to the picture, suggested I post more. So I did, mostly comments about political happenings.

Commenting on The Huffington Post news website was just the confidence booster I needed. It’s like toastmasters for those afraid to put their thoughts out there. Along with this blog, Huffpost is now my designated hangout when I’m taking a break from my manuscripts.  If Mary_Catter reads something that elicits a response, she will put her mad paws to the keyboard and bombard you with her words.