When things keep going bump in the night…

I finally stepped out to face my fears…and set myself free.

A heart never beats as loudly as when you’re crouched behind the backside of an open door, peeking out through the open hinge, and staring at your arch nemesis. Why was she here? How did she know where to find me? My grandparent’s house was supposed to be safe. Supposed to be off limits. Yet here I was, hiding from her hideous face, the blue Snoopy-print cafe curtains slightly stirring from the ceiling fan in the toy room.

I willed my lungs to stop working, if just for a moment. Each inhale and exhale seemed to echo through the room. Soon, she would find me. I feared I would wet myself. I was a child. And terrified. Absolutely panic-stricken. What would she do to me? She’d never caught me before, had always tried but I’d always gotten away. This time there was no escape. My fight or flight response kicked in, but “flight” wasn’t an option. I would fight.

With my left arm, I slowly pushed the door open, revealing my scrawny, little-girl self. I stood up. I clenched my fists, gritted my teeth, and demanded, “What do you want from me? I hate you!” I can remember nearly everything about her except her eyes. Her skin was yellow, and felt-like in its texture. Each hand only had two fingers. Two cylindrical fingers which were flat on the end. I refused to even say the number two throughout most of my childhood. One…three…four…

And then, there was her hair, or lack of hair rather. She was bald. She was Miss Baldyhead. *shudder*

But this time, she wasn’t alone. She was with her husband, and child. She had a family? How could this be? This monster who haunted every night of my childhood dreams was domesticated? Did they know this is what she did for a living? Wreaked havoc on my overly-stimulated creative mind and caused panic even during my waking hours? Something was different.

There was a shift in my young brain. I was no longer scared. She’d come in peace. She wanted to make amends. Our war, it seemed, was over. No more would she creep up in the darkness. But a simple truce wouldn’t do. She wanted something more. “My family and I would like to teach you how to juggle.” I simply said, “Ok.”

After this final nightmare, Miss Baldyhead stopped filling my childhood with terror. And now that I know first-hand the havoc a creative mind can conjure during the darkest hours, I never deny my young daughter comfort during her moments of fear. I know how she feels. I know. When things keep going bump in the night, mommy will always be there. Always.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

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46 thoughts on “When things keep going bump in the night…

  1. I like everyone else, was right there beside your scrawny little girl self, wanting to hug her close. In my childhood dreams and they happemed often, I was being chased never by the same thing, but could never scream they took my voice away. Maybe that’s why I talk so much today, hmmm.

  2. Yes, this one took my breath away too. In fact, I was crouching right beside you in the closet and holding my breath. Excellent post my dear. (-:

  3. Miss Baldyhead! I love it. I have nightmares now myself, but in them, I lose my hair or my teeth. One of my greatest fears is becoming Mr. Baldyhead….

  4. My nightmare was a huge, dirty, blob of clay that chased me around my house. It smelled bad. When I got into my parents bed they were sleeping, I would shake them and they would not wake up, I screamed, but I had no voice. Those nightmares are so scary as a kid.

  5. Oh, I used to have terrible and vivid nightmares as a kid…the worst was a recurring one with King Kong in it! Im glad you are able to comfort your child in her nightmares.

    • Sorry you suffer from the same affliction. I’ve found that getting really angry during my nightmares helps. I have guns in my dreams to protect myself, even though I hate them in real life…

  6. Your kiddo is so lucky that you remember and empathize! I used to be terrified in the night, and sometimes still am, and I also am determined that my children not feel the same if I can do anything about it. Well done!

  7. I used to have a recurring nightmare about an old woman in a cloak chasing me. No matter how fast I ran–even if I was in a car or something that no human could catch–she always managed to keep up with me. I never confronted her, but over the years she just sort of stopped appearing. She was scary, but nothing compared to that Miss Baldyhead! Yikes!

    • I am so glad you picked up on the bit of humor in this. :-) It was so ridiculous, the way it all ended. Juggling. I’m just pissed that I don’t actually know how to juggle now.

  8. I love how you brought it around to your own parenting. I’ll admit the literalist in me – or my own overactive imagination – wants you to separate fact from fiction a little more; some part of me just wants a little more explanation. Is this a particular doll? A brand of doll? Why was it at your grandmother’s house? Of course, that might ruin some of the suspense. Loved the feel of this.

    • The strange thing is, although she existed in my dreams, she seems to permeate my memories of reality as well. I was so terrified, that I feared her during my waking hours. And I think she was a creepy Muppet thingy.

  9. I absolutely love the way you turned the tides on your own head. My personal Miss Baldyhead (and holy GOD that one is scary) was a serial killer with a chainsaw. And that was BEFORE my Dad introduced me to horror movies. (The horror movies made it better, though I have no real idea why, except maybe it gave me a way to distinguish between fact and fiction.)

  10. Loved this. You did a great job building tension. I was like, “OMGOMGOMGOMG! What’s stalking her?!” And it was a creepy doll. EEK! Creepy dolls are somehow made extra creepy by the fact that they are dolls.

    It’s great that you remember this experience and use it to help you through parenting. It’s so key to acknowledge and respect kids’ feelings.

  11. My brother had a recurring nightmare when he was young, and he still remembers it vividly. One night he decided that rather than turning to run when the monster came through the door, he would stare it down. And that was the last time he had the dream.

  12. Kids remember all of those details when they’re terrified, don’t they? I’m glad you can relate your own fear to your children’s fears. It helps so much as a parent.

  13. It’s nice that were able to turn this horrible childhood nightmare into empathy for your own children. Our minds really can get the best of us, can’t they?

  14. Oh wow. I can think of a few things that scared me in childhood. I am glad you made peace with the thing that brought you fear. Remembering how you felt has made it easier for you to be a safe place for your daughter. How blessed she is to have you there..

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