I had two fears as a child, that spawned into three, that eventually morphed into four during high school and then decreased to three again as an adult.
The first fear is spiders. (I’ve just given you power over me, please use it wisely, I beg of you.) This is one of the most popular fears in existence (as if we’re scrambling for it), so I’m sure this one comes as no surprise.
I have no fear over other insects, nor do I have problems with daddy-long-legs or anything crab-related. It’s just spiders. They freaking fly, guys, fly and float and…I need to stop.
The second fear came during my first few years of elementary school: the fear of dark bathrooms. This does not include bathrooms in general. This does not include the dark in general. This doesn’t refer to bathrooms with the lights out and sun shining in through the windows. It’s strictly: dark bathrooms.
Why? you ask. Because Bloody Mary. Kids at school would not stop talking about it, would tell stories about summoning her at night, and gave me nightmares that still sit in my subconscious even after all this time.
So, dark bathrooms summon up the Bloody Mary story instantly and while I’m an adult and will not freak out, my heart lurches if I miss the light switch in the middle of the night despite the fact that the bedroom was just as dark. If you’ve watched SuperNatural up to that 6-7th episode (you know the one I’m talking about) I had nightmares for two weeks after that crap.
The third fear came a year or so later. This one is the most insidious, the one that has taken giant chunky bites out of my life, and that is: my social anxieties/public speaking/fear of attention. I had a traumatic experience during a charades game that included my father screaming at me for an hour or so in full view of a good 25-30 people (some of whom were laughing at me), then forcing me to ‘play’ with my face tear-streaked and snotty, and everyone got all quiet and stared at me. Sounds not so bad when you type it out like that, but I was young, impressionable, shy, and because of that, became quite socially anxious. This one has not left me, but I’ve been learning tactics to control my anxieties rather than allowing them to always control me.
The fourth one is a little more light-hearted for those of you who are adults: the fear of being alone. You know, the high school, hormonal teen fear that you’ll never be loved, no one will care about you, embarrassing teenagery fear that most of us luckily grow out of.
This one is gone, or at least heavily muted. I may end up alone at parts in my life, I might even end up unloved, but it no longer holds fear. Instead, I treasure moments I’m alone, just as I treasure the moments I have with people. And I know now, after conquering a lot of the negativity that social anxiety develops, that I merely need to reach out to find people.
I’m not entirely sure what drives certain people to write horror. I know that occasionally my fantasy goes a little darker, but I like happier endings for the most part, or at least ones that have changed/grown the character. I’m not all for death and dismemberment for the sake of it, though I know there are many people who enjoy the feeling that horror gives them. I’m just not one of them.
I’ll use horrible things, but only in the process of using those horrible things to tell a character’s story, either about where he came from, why he makes certain decisions, how his outlook might have been changed, etc., or to give a conflict for the characters to fight against.