Sunday, February 12, 2012

Things That Scare Children (Blissfully Series)

Throughout 2012, I'll be sharing stories about myself on Sundays as part of this Blissfully series. My life has already had its share of good and bad moments, but these are the ones I consider the most important.

The Vacuum Cleaner of Doom

Today, I've been cleaning and organizing a bit. My mind often seems to mirror my surroundings. If they're cluttered, so is my brain. When I got out the vacuum cleaner, Will started telling me not to run it. I told him I had to run the vacuum. So he went to his room and closed the door until I finished.

You see, Will is afraid of the vacuum cleaner. Since we live in an apartment building, he's also afraid of the noises upstairs (especially heavy walkers), leaf blowers, and lawn mowers. Reese is also spooked by normal noises. It can get difficult as a parent to explain that there's nothing to be afraid of, while trying to help them overcome their fears.

But then again, I think such fears are part of living. After all, I had (still have from time to time) my own set of fears. I remember my brothers and I would run for cover whenever the dump truck came by for its weekly collection--and we did the same when the street cleaner came 'round.

I can't remember if I was ever afraid of the vacuum cleaner, but the sounds caused by flushing a toilet always terrified me. It almost sounded as if a ghost or demon was ready to reach up and snatch me. The sound was not just unpleasant, it made me fear for my life.

Of course, these things are foolish fears, though I'd be lying if I said I haven't created new things to fear as I've grown older. And some of these new fears are foolish. I know it. Silences when I'm alone. Talking to strangers. Imagining people hiding behind corners and bushes in the evening. Expecting to see ghosts (or burglars) appear behind me when I look in mirrors.

After all these years, I realize I can't just dismiss the fears of another person, because the things that scare children are the things that scare me as well. Foolish as they may seem to others, fear is very real for those who suffer it.


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Check out these other posts from the Blissfully series:


Kirra said...

When I was very small, I was afraid of the ceiling fan, though I don't remember that. Now, I don't like to look in mirrors in a dark room. I'm not sure if i'm afraid of seeing someone behind me or seeing something in the mirror itself. Remember bloody Mary in the mirror? As a kid, I was 95% sure nothing would happen, but I could never try it, just in case!

Patricia Fargnoli said...

As a child I was terrified of thunder and fireworks. Still am afraid of thunderstorms, also tornadoes (though I've never seen one in person), also bees, also (lately) highway driving in traffic, traveling alone, being in a house alone (but not in my apartment), falling. Some of these fears ...the last four...are only since I became an elder person.

Mina Lobo said...

I get a little wigged-out looking in mirrors in dark rooms too, or in brightly lit rooms when I'm alone, for the same reasons Bob mentions (I blame movies and teevee for that one). Or when I'm waiting for a subway train, I check around me to make sure no one's close enough to push me onto the tracks. A bit sad of me and yet, given this crazy world, it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

Unknown said...

Looking through a window when it's dark outside had always bothered me, even though nothing even remotely scary has ever appeared on either side of it. I pride myself on being able to face my fears in order to get past them, but to this day I still have to have all of the curtains or blinds closed at night.


MC said...

We are afraid of things we don't really understand. As kids we don't know any better that there is no boogieman in the closet or that the toilet isn't going to swallow you whole. As adults we know these things but there are other unknowns, like the future and what our decisions will result in.

Hannah said...

Your closing paragraph, Robert, is so thoughtful and an excellent example of respect. Thank you and smiles to you!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm still afraid in thunderstorms after all these years, and my warm, cozy house suddenly becomes scary if I read a creepy book before bedtime. Big dogs, my cat when she gives me the death stare, mean people... I've never met a person who wasn't afraid of something.

laura said...

I used to be and still am scared to death of gas ranges. I have an electric range. That blue flame scares me. I am also scared to drive in parking garages. I avoid them whenever I can. Ironically, I can drive anywhere, in any condition. I love thunderstorms by the way. I will be trained as a spotter this spring. I will be certified to report severe weather. I know people who will crawl under the table during a storm. I try not to expose my fears to my kids. My son is scared of the zoo. I encourage him to tell me what scares him. Talking about it helps.

Khaalidah said...

I was just arriving home from trick or treating on Halloween, when I was about three. I was sitting in the back seat of our Pontiac. Our neighbor, a very nice woman, had dressed up as a vampire, blood drizzling from the corner of her mouth and all. She met us as we pulled into the garage, leaned over, and as adults do when they see a cute kid, started cooing at me. She tried to get me from the back seat. I lost it. This vampire woman was trying to bite me.
The idea of zombies used to freak me out, because how do you kill something that is already clearly dead, something with no compunctions about eating your brains...but watching too many zombie movies has cured me of that. I can't really think of anything that I truly fear. I'm sure there is something.