A little known fact about me… I. Love. Scary. Movies. Gimme zombies, gimme ghosts, gimme vampires, gimme Michael Myers… don’t gimme Freddie because he’s lame with bad jokes. Gimme it all! I love horror as a genre. Why? I guess it’s because I see those things for what they are… all fantasy-based. Great special effects, killer costuming and make-up, realistic CGI, (sometimes) believable acting, and carefully arranged musical scores… all to get your goat. For me, horror movies are fun because none of it is real. There are no such things as people that die and then come back to harm us, energy that haunts us, evil forces waiting to suck the life out of us if we invite them in, or some psycho-stalker-killer breathing down our necks hell bent on causing us harm… and therefore no need to run from or be afraid of these things.
Or is there? Is there a zombie in your life… something that you thought you long since buried, only rise from the dead again and again, no matter how many times you tried to put it down? Is there a ghost lurking… some bad energy that follows you, haunting you, that won’t let you move on until whatever happened in the past is resolved? Is a vampire waiting to suck the life out of you, or worse yet, turn you into the very same destructive and evil creature that it is? Is something stalking you that you just can’t shake? Is some boogeyman - your worst imagination of some dreaded outcome - making you run for your life?
You know, the ironic thing about fear is that doing what seems to be the most helpful thing at the time… avoiding it… only serves to perpetuate fear. Scared of dogs? No problem, just avoid being around dogs. Problem solved. Uncomfortable with crowds? That’s cool, be like the freaks, and only go out at night. Mission accomplished. Scared to get hurt by love again, fail again, have “it” happen again? Fine… shut down all chances of being vulnerable to “it” rearing its ugly head. Every time you see “it,” just turn tail and keep running. After all, as long as the boogeyman never catches you, you live right? But do you really LIVE? How fulfilling is a life in which you are running for your life from life?
It ain’t, that’s how fulfilling. If you watch enough horror, you know there has to be a moment in the movie when folks stop running and face that boogeyman. The undead must be cut off at the head. The ghost must be figured out and cast out. The vampire stabbed in the heart; the killer confronted and killed himself. By trying to protect yourself against the bad things that could happen if the boogeyman got you, you miss out on the triumph of staring that fear in the face and conquering it. Only then will it stop its pursuit. Until then, it is controlling you rather than you controlling it. Dictating your every move. Telling you where you can and can’t go, what you can’t and can’t do. That ain’t living… that’s just surviving.
Death to the boogeyman. Happy Halloween.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is written to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering psychological, mental/emotional/behavioral health consulting, or other professional services to readers. If psychological advice or other expert assistance is needed, the services of a competent mental health professional should be sought.