Saturday, June 11, 2016

How Conquering My Fear Of Ghosts And Monsters Changed My Life

Ghosts! Monsters!

Oh boy, how they used to freak me out as a kid! Pennywise the Clown from 'It'. Monsters of the week from 'The X-Files'. The creepy clown doll from 'Poltergeist'.

So many sleepless nights, I had. Laying awake, tucked under my blanket, afraid to close my eyes (for that's usually the cue for the terrifying creatures to spring out). I had quite a vivid imagination back then. And the problem with having vivid imaginations is that you die a thousand deaths every night. Drift asleep, face a nightmare, wake up in the darkness, drift asleep again, face a new nightmare. The night is dark and full of terrors, indeed.

Clown + Doll = One scary badass mother-f***er

The Fear Vanishes

But when I was about ten, I think, I gradually fought back my fears. Ghosts and monsters went away. Nightmares turned to exotic but blissful dreams. I could sleep soundly in my bed once more.

How did I conquer my fears? Did I finally wise up as I grew up, dismissing such fears as mere fantasies?

Not really. I still held out the belief that ghosts and monsters do exist. All I did was to convince myself that even if they did, they wouldn't haunt and hurt me.

Why me? I didn't do anything wrong. How many people actually die from mysterious and unexplained circumstances? Not many. So even if ghosts and monsters have nefarious plans, they must be quite selective. Probably karma comes into play - only naughty kids get targeted.

Fine, maybe by some stroke of cruel misfortune, they have marked me down. So what? They have supernatural powers far greater than mine. I can't beat them anyway. So what's the point worrying? It's like worrying that you'll be hit by a bus, each time you cross the road. Living in continuous fear doesn't help. You can't avoid crossing roads all your life. If I'm going to die by some freak accident anyway, I might as well live every day to the fullest.

If ghosts and monsters want to make my life a living hell, go ahead and get on with it. Worrying about them wouldn't stop them from coming, would it?

My money's on Sadako, Ju-On is weak sauce

The Force Awakens

Today, I still don't know if ghosts and monsters exist. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Who cares? I don't give a damn. Life is complicated enough. I have 101 bigger problems on my mind, all more real and scary, like corruption and inequality.

In a way, conquering my fears made me a stronger person now. It helped me faced my other 'inner demons'. Luck and unfairness, failure and death. Things that I can prepare for and mitigate to a certain extent, but largely controlled by invisible forces. I learnt how to accept fate. I learnt how to play with the hand dealt to me. I learnt how to let go and move on.

Above all, I learnt how to focus on things within my control, and stop worrying about things that aren't.

Yes, the night is dark and full of terrors - so is life. But there's really no point keeping the lights on all through the night and praying that nothing creeps out from under the bed or closet. Sooner or later, we need to face the darkness - and then we'll realise that it's actually daylight that holds even more terrors.

So stop worrying about ghosts and monsters. Worry more about the brighter parts of life that need your care and attention.

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