As a kid, I was scared of everything.
I blame it on my older brothers who picked up the fine art of telling terrifying tales at Boy Scout camp, honing their skills each summer. I don’t know if they gave out badges for it, but they became real masters.
They loved to sit my sisters and me around the dining table on nights when my parents were gone, telling us all about the Boogie Man.
They’d wait until dark, then explain how he liked to hang out in ditches, waiting for the exact right moment to come “get” little girls just like us. Sitting at the table, looking out our sliding glass doors to the darkness of our back yard, I just knew the Boogie Man was lurking in the ditch that separated our yard from the neighbors’ yard.
In my head, I knew there really wasn’t a Boogie Man.
But when my brothers shined their flashlights into the yard and a crazy creature jumped up, waving his arms and legs around like a psycho, my eyes told my head the Boogie Man DID exist, and was just a few life-or-death feet from me.
After my mini-heart attack (yes, I fell for it every time), I would find out it was just one of my other brothers pranking us.
Just like it was one of my brothers who would crawl into my room at night and grab my hand or foot if it was hanging off the bed, just to terrorize me. Or one of my brothers who would jump up from behind the couch at the exact second I least expected it while watching something scary on TV.
In no time, I was that paranoid person lying in bed at night, wondering whether I should sleep with my door open, so that I could get out quicker in case that Boogie Man came through my window while I slept, or if I should keep it closed so that if he came into the house another way at least my door might slow him down a second or two, giving me a chance to hide in my closet or something.
Seriously, I would lie there for hours at night arguing with myself over this craziness.
My imagination could beat any movie’s death scene. To this day, my nightmares could rival any Stephen King book.
You can understand why Halloween was NOT my favorite holiday.
I did not want to step foot into a haunted house (even Disney World’s Haunted House scared me!), and I never liked scary movies, no matter what time of year it was.
I still don’t.
Yes, I’ll sit there, but I’m the person who covers her eyes when she knows something bad is about to happen. Even my kids laugh at me now.
And I still don’t let any of my body parts hang off the bed at night.
You just never know what, or who, could be lurking below.