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In this world of fear, it is close to impossible to not fear something. Fear itself is being pumped through the internet, newspapers, and TV. It seems like the only way you won't be afraid of something, is if you're already dead. Everywhere we go, we are faced with different types of fears: Arachnophobia (The fear of spiders), Acrophobia (The fear of heights), and Social Phobia (The fear of social situations) are some of the most common fears (About.com). Yes fear can be a great motivation; not trying to get yelled at from a parent for a low grade, not getting into a good university, losing a job, all help us push ourselves even that much more to avoid those situations. But the one big fear that I have had has made me try to the best of my ability to not be caught in any situation with this "thing". Childish, yes, one of the biggest fears knows, also yes. If you haven't got it by now, I will introduce you to my enemy; his name is Darkness. Ok after all the laughter ceases, I will explain more. A fear, yes, a phobia, you decide. As a child, I was blessed and cursed with a great imagination, and that imagination got me into both a lot of opportunities and problems. The uncertainty of what is out there, the fact that we have to face it everywhere, and what society has taught me about the dark has created a very big dislike for the darkness.
Before my family goes to bed we patrol around the house to make sure the doors and windows are locked and to make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary. Why do we do this? Because most crimes occurring at night. From rapes, to murders, and robbery, the best time for a perpetrator to act is in the cover of night. "Offenders armed with a gun, knife, or other object used as a weapon in an estimated 22% of all incidents of violent crime" (Bureau of Justice Statistics). Yes a lot of crimes do happen during the day, but because we aren't in a post- apocalyptic society, people aren't trying to be seen while they are breaking the law. Because we obviously aren't cats, we can't see as well at night as we could during the day, so we are at in an element of vulnerability. I don't know about you, but not being able to clearly see what is around me isn't my description of a fun time.
Just like clockwork, the sun sets, the moon rises, and on auto pilot, the universe does that every day, 365 days a year. Living in California, the sun is our best friend. He is a frequent visitor to our "Sun shine State". But just like it is everywhere else in the world, the sun must set sooner or later. Wither you are running from the police or your friend in a game of tag, there's is always a chance that you can get away. I am saddened to say, that isn't the case with the dark. Ironically we assume that because the sun is out, darkness can't touch us. Well ill throw you into a closet with no light and lock you in there's and you can tell me how that works out. Unless you are living on the sun, you will have to face the menace named "Night".
As we grown up, we try to scare ourselves and others with scary stories and movies. Each scary and evil scene takes place night or at least in a dark cemetery, a dark warehouse or some other dark and scary place. Society as a whole supports the idea and the perception that darkness is scary. The myths of vampires tell us that we are only safe from them during the day time, a time when they are not able to feast. Werewolves come out on the night of a full moon. Demons make deals at the crossroads on foggy pitch black nights. From religion to Hollywood we are taught that darkness is bad and the light is good, (unless you are slowly about to die, then you should stay away from the light). As a Christian, I know that Christ is represented by the light, everything that is good and pure, and that the Devil is represented by the darkness, everything that is bad and evil, so naturally I associate everything that is bad and evil to the night. From our young ages, we are told and feel the comfort and the safety of the light
When we feel, or sense that we are in danger, our brains instantly reacts. It sends message that jump starts the nervous system. Our body's physically respond causing faster heartbeat, rapid breathing, and an increase in blood pressure (Teen Health). Then we prepare the body for physical action (such as running or fighting). This reaction is known as "fight or flight" because our bodies get ready to either "fight" off the danger or take "flight", run fast to get away. Sometimes fear is set off by something that makes us jump or unanticipated (like a loud noise), even if it's not dangerous. Like I said before, I have a wild imagination, so my mind likes to play tricks on me. But when I am in the dark, my mind seems to have the upper hand. All reason is thrown out the window, and Hollywood reality steps in. Am I deathly afraid of the dark, no. Do I have less fun in the dark than others? I'm sure I do. The mere fact that there is an uncertainty of what is out there, you will always be faced with I, and what I have been molded to be taught what darkness is, doesn't really help me with my dislike of fear. Yeah I like to go out with my friends at night, but being alone is a different story. Has this essay helped me with my "fears", no, but it was interesting to dig deep into why darkness makes me uncomfortable. I think that it will be me verses the evil darkness till I die; I guess we just have to see who wins.
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Lyness, Dr. D'Arcy. "Fears and Phobias."Â KidsHealth - the Web's Most Visited Site about Children's Health. Nemours, Aug. 2010. Web. 08 Mar. 2011.
"Weapon Use by Offense Type."Â Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). United States Government, 07 Dec. 2010. Web. 08 Mar. 2011.