Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Greatest Fear

Growing up with an older brother meant having to endure a good scare. My brother loved to terrorize me, until one day, I decided not to be frightened anymore. He tried jumping out of closets and throwing his limp body on me as if he were a dead corpse and it didn’t faze me at all. There were other things, but I guess I just became desensitized to everything. I love my brothers. We have a great relationship but it is funny how, as children, siblings use each other to experiment on.

Perhaps it was then that I realized that what we fear has power over us. So I guess my point is that I am pretty hard to scare. I’m not afraid of all the things that people tell me freak them out. I’m not freaked out by the idea of death or killer ninjas or werewolves or monsters lurking under my bed. For a while I didn’t think anything could scare me. I was wrong. Recently, I have run into some literature that has managed to tap into my greatest fear, a fear that I didn’t know existed until now.

A while ago, I was reading an anthology about various and off beat versions of the vampire. This was a great read but I returned it to the library a few months ago and can’t recall the name of the book. If anyone knows the title, let me know because I’d like to give it credit. The book had stories from some of the greatest horror writers that ever lived such as Clive Barker and Brian Lumley. The vampires in the book were not your typical type. They fed off of things like your looks, your youth, your identity etc. Though the stories gave me the chills, I had no problem falling asleep afterwards. However, there was this one story that was written in a dreamlike way, describing a man who is at a computer convention in New Orleans. He’s at a bar and meets a beautiful woman. The story recounts his night, all of a sudden, the man wakes up and he’s in a different time. It takes a while for him to figure this out but he’s actually in the past, the day before and he needs to catch up to the future. That might not be right as it’s been a while since I read the story. It could be the other way around.  He stalks this woman out and right before he can get to her, he finds himself in the bar again, continuing the night with this lady that he’s falling for, and then he’s back at the other time. It goes back and forth and he’s chasing this woman and is trying to catch up to her.

I hadn’t finished the story yet and found that I couldn’t sleep. Something bothered me about this idea of time. Is it that I can’t control time? Is that what bothered me? Does it have to do with the fact that I have dreamed the future a few times and have seen it come true? I honestly don’t know. In my youth, I used to memorize or write down my dreams, which made it easy for me to notice when they actually come true in what appear to be dejavus, yet if I go back and read my dream journal, I find that it was a recount of a dream I had years before. This was always a freak thing with me that I never gave much thought. The reason for this is because I don’t ever know if my dreams will come true or not and the future is so foreign to me that dreams of the future show no significance so it’s not like I have super psychic powers or a gift. It’s just something about me that gives me no advantage over anyone, just a curiosity really.

Over the past ten years, I periodically suffer from sleep paralysis. I wake up unable to move due to the fact that my body has not completely woken up and the hormone that keeps me in bed so I don’t sleep walk is still in my system, making me unable to move. I try to wake up, but the more I try the worse the paralysis gets. I find that if I go back to sleep, I wake up just fine but I have experimented with this a few times and have managed to astral project and I learned that there is a very scary and hallucinatory fine line between dreams and reality. This was once a very scary experience that has turned into a curiosity, something I have gotten used to. Still, there is still something frightening about it when I stop and think about it. I am, by all accounts, extremely healthy yet I’ve had this sleeping disorder on and off for the past ten years. I still remember the first time it happened. Why didn’t I get it before and why hasn’t it completely gone away?

I started writing this blog a few days ago and now I’m back after watching most of the movie, “Inception.” Before watching the movie, I told my husband that it would frighten me. I just knew because it had to do with dreams and reality. I saw most of the movie, and then fell asleep. I woke up to see the very very end. Suddenly, I felt paralyzed in fear. My heart was beating fast and my husband couldn’t get an answer out of me. I tell the man everything but I suddenly felt distrustful of him. All I could say was, “I told you this movie would frighten me.”

So I will confess right now, what truly frightened me about this movie. It suddenly occurred to me that every memory I have could be planted. Perhaps I was once a part of a secret undercover operation and all evidence of that that has been erased and replaced with the memories of the amazing life I have led. Then an even more frightening thought occurred to me. What if this isn’t real? What if I am some crazy lunatic getting high off of this idea that I live in the perfect world with the perfect husband and this beautiful boy? What if I pinch myself one day, wake up, and realize that I’m back in my very imperfect past, a past I had been trying to break away from for years. This was a very scary thought at the time and the movie really brought that home for me. Now, I’m fine. Now, I laugh at the thought. I have no choice but to trust myself and all the government agents around me who call themselves my friends and family, but there is this very disturbing idea that it all could be fake. I could be living in the matrix and I chose this life of illusion. I could be jumping from one parallel universe to another and one day, I might find myself trapped in some other time or dimension.

What about you? What is your greatest fear?


  1. This sounds like a horror book in the making!

  2. Absolutely! If the Matrix had not already been made, I would have written it.

  3. What an interesting post, Lacey. I'd have to say that my biggest fear is drowning...I don't really know why, but it terrifies the heck out of me.

    BTW Your book looks delicious!! Great work on the cover art for the novella!

    All My Best,

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Bobbie. I can see how drowning can be scary. You are completely suffocating. I love the water. It's really interesting how everyone has a different fear and what is fun for one person can be scary for another. I think time travel could be really fun but I guess this story found a way of really getting in my head.
    The cover of my book was illustrated by Meghann Pardee. She worked with me to get the look I wanted. She's a great collaborator. Her blog is here:

  5. reading a lot of horror has disentisized me... though the last story I read that I felt genuinely scared was "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman.

    I learned that there is a very scary and hallucinatory fine line between dreams and reality. I experience the same. Most people say they can't remember their dreams, but I remember mine clearly. Maybe it has something to do with writing it down as soon as I wake up.

    That's why Inception hit me that way, too. I love it and already watched it twice.

  6. Yes, reading horror has desensitized me as well. Blood and gore doesn't bother me, but if someone can really get in my head and make me question reality, that's something else. Thanks for stopping by!!!