Afraid of the Dark

Faeries are a rich, mythical part of many cultures (especially Ireland). These omnipotent yet playful beings were blamed for just about everything (from miscarriages to spoiled milk). But despite being powerful, there was one way to have sway over a fairy — you must know it’s real name. You must invoke it, like a spell.

But this is not really an old nor mythical concept, is it? The idea that giving something its proper name makes it so much easier to manage. Less scarier. More mundane.

Now, I’m not saying that if a bear was coming toward you, and you were able to identify it as a sun bear that it would make it a less scary situation. But I am saying that there is something to knowing your fear’s name. Because it becomes less frightening when it is known.

Which is why so many people are afraid of the dark. It represents everything that is unknown. And to which our mind applies our darkest fears — monsters under the bed, loss of sight, relying on our hearing when we have headphones on.

I’m here to tell you that it’s totally okay to be afraid of the dark.

What’s not okay is not facing it anyway, despite your fear. It’s not okay to look at the dark and turn on the lights, to avoid it.

Facing your fear, any fear, is almost the only way to overcome it. Doing a little of what scares you each day and you can get past it, so start small and you’ll find that you can conquer big fears this way.

Now, lights out.

A Screw Loose

Tonight, I’d like to give you a little taste of my nightly routine.

After I’m showered and calmed for the day, I crawl into bed, tuck the sheets under my chin, and start reading. Ever since I was a kid, someone would read to me until I fell asleep…until I could read by myself. Thankfully, I now don’t have to position a flashlight over my head so that I can read in the late hours or beg my parents to read just one more chapter. I have a set-up. There’s a little electric candle that sits on my windowsill, secured by a single nail, that lights the pages by night, way past everyone else’s bedtime. The light doesn’t shine in my eyes, and I don’t have to get up to turn it off. It’s perfect.

Except

It blinks out. I have to position the wire so that it stays on continuously, but sometimes it still winks out like morse code. I’ve often wondered if the neighbors think that I’m trying to communicate with them (and if they are wondering if there’s actual intelligent life in my room.) And most nights, it’s slightly annoying. Because all I have to do is rest my head on the pillow, and the light goes off, but if I wiggle slightly to the left it will come back on…for a second.

The kicker? I know what’s wrong. The little box that holds the control has a screw loose, so there must be some misfiring going on. I figure that all I have to do is give it a couple quarter turns to make it work normally.

The problem with the problem? It’s that I’ve gotten used to my malfunctioning fake candle and the trouble it causes me. I actually look forward to figuring out how to sit just so in order for it to keep shining. It’s like this little lighthouse with a serious attitude problem that guides me home each night. It has character and spunk, even though it doesn’t have much reliability.

And so, I wonder what other little quirks do we have in our life that we feel need fixing but really add such character to our lives?

Like the leaky faucet, for instance?? Yeah, it’s an environmental cost, but how many times has the drip drop lulled you to sleep? Or what about that squeaky step on the staircase? Maybe it got you into trouble when you snuck in late, but it can definitely alert you to robbers if they ever try to creep up the stairs.

Really, at the end of the day, I think we have a lot to learn from the imperfect. I think it has an important place in all of our daily lives. And maybe, just maybe, we all need to take more time to appreciate things (and people) who have a screw loose.