I was sitting reading a self-help book on
personal growth, the third such book I forced
myself to read. I had decided to actually
read these books and not just purchase them
with the good intentions of benefiting from
wise advice and then just add them to my
book shelve as so many others who bought
but never read them. Like the people that
buy an exercise bike that sits new and
unused in the basement or closet. I found
there were many pearls of wisdom in these
paperbacks that could really help providing
one actually applied them. Now for the third
time I was reading, “Personal growth requires
that you prevail over fears that are holding
I stopped and remembered the night
before; my girlfriend was again insisting that
I turn off the lights to sleep. She hated sleeping
with the lights on and I hated sleeping with
them off. I was twenty-five years old and afraid
of the dark! I was truly embarrassed about that
fact and now was wondering if I would ever grow
out of it. The only other fear I was bothered by
was the fear of heights, but most people did not
make fun of me over that one. It seemed to be
more acceptable. I have to overcome these fears,
I thought or just accept the teasing, and give up
on moving forward. I put down the book closed
my eyes and tried to remember the first time
I felt that gripping fear of the dark. After a short
time of meditation and reflection, I remembered.
Having a good memory has always been one of
my greatest assets as well as sometimes,
my greatest curse.
I was about three years old, a toddler. I remembered I could walk under the kitchen
table without it touching my head. Under the
kitchen table was the setting where it began,
where I learned to fear the dark! One night all
those years ago, I woke up with my arms and
legs wrapped around one of the legs of the table.
I was holding on for all that
I was worth. Fear gripped me and I was
sobbing uncontrollably. Moonlight through
the kitchen window was dimly lighting an
otherwise dark kitchen and I could
only just make out the other legs of the
table and chairs. I summoned the courage
to turn my head toward the direction of the
hallway where I knew my parents were sleeping and screamed as loud as I could for my mother.
I waited a few seconds for her to come
but she did not! I repeatedly called her name,
“mommy mommy!” I waited and expected her
to come any moment but still she did not. I was
in a state of panic and screamed repeatedly to
no avail. Still sitting with my arms and legs
wrapped around the table leg, I remember
looking toward the hallway puzzled as to why
there was no response. The volume of my voice
in the quiet of the middle of the night should
have had her coming to my pleas for help with
due haste if only to stop me from waking
the neighbors. Plan B, I started calling for my
daddy but he did not respond either, even after
Sobbing, I turned back and firmly held on as
much as my small aching body would allow.
Suddenly without warning, I could feel someone
or something grip me and begin to pull me away
from the table leg. The fear and feeling of panic
was overwhelming and I tried with all of my being
to hold on, knowing it was not my parents.
I should have been dragging the table with me
across the floor but it did not move. I felt myself
letting go, succumbing to the steady pull and
then I blacked out.
When I woke again, I was outside the kitchen
window suspended in mid air. I looked down
and could see familiar areas that I had
observed many times before from the other
side of that kitchen window. I was about
three feet from that window now just floating
but not falling. I could feel the panic overtake
me, as all this seemed to be not normal.
I looked over to the ledge and the closed
window and tried to stretch out with my hand
to grasp the ledge. I instantaneously started
to do the dog paddle as though I was swimming
in water, something I had not experienced yet.
I could not seem to get any traction but kept
I blacked out again and woke the next
morning only slightly aware of a strange dream
but not bothered and went on with my day. I remembered the strange dream happened often.
I would wake to find myself hanging just
outside the kitchen window then blackout.
I do not know how many times I had this
experience, but it had an effect on my waking
life one day.
My uncle was visiting and he would pretend
that he was chasing me around the apartment.
I would run all over the kitchen laughing, giggling
and shrieking. I really loved that game! One day
I had hid in the kitchen broom closet after he
had covered his eyes. I was being as quiet as I
could when suddenly he opened the door burst
in and said, “Aha got you!” I shrieked and ran
pass him and without the slightest hesitation
jumped up on to the kitchen chair and tried to
jump through the closed window. Fortunately,
only my left knee made it through
the broken glass, which left me with two
deep long cuts.
I still bear the scares to this day as a
reminder that I cannot pass through a closed
window. Remembering this event seemed to
cure me of my fear of the dark, but not my
fear of heights! ?
By Rick Ethier