Irrational Fears

The other day on Facebook I asked my friend Malinda if she remembered a book we read in our Nonfiction class in college. Fortunately, we’re both friends with the professor who happened to be on Facebook when I asked.

The book is called Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz. It’s about a woman and her friend who were biking across the country one summer. They stopped to camp in the desert one night, and were run over by a maniac in a truck who then got out and attacked them with an ax. From what I remember, the author describes walking to the road to find a passerby with her body parts hanging off of her, her friend’s brain coming out of her head.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I have a fairly vivid imagination when it comes to scaring myself. I used to keep myself up for hours at night as a child dreaming up many ways bad guys could come get me or my family. Unfortunately, as I’ve grown older, that penchant for weird, creepy thoughts hasn’t gone away.

I was tossing and turning the other night, thinking about what would happen if I’d been the one chopped up by a maniac with an ax. And what does that feel like? Would I feel it when it happened? Or would it be like when I broke my leg and I felt nothing except weakness, but heard my own bone break?

Splinted up


The worst part is that I can wake Sean up and tell him I’ve freaked myself out, but I feel like by saying what’s freaking me out, I make it more real. Thinking it is one thing, but putting it out into the ether is quite another. He’ll ask me what I’m scared of, and I’ll say, “I can’t say.”

A while back I told you that I thought becoming an adult was becoming more aware of things you should be afraid of, but it seems like this kind of irrational fear of things my imagination comes up with is pretty childish.

One time I imagined coming home from the gym, to what seemed like an empty house, then stumbling across Sean, bleeding on the staircase. I obviously get wildly upset and look up the stairs, only to get shot by the person who’s standing there in the dark.

Who thinks of these things? Why does my brain create the scariest things it can imagine up? My professor commented on my revelation that my mind wanders to creepy things when it’s left alone in the dark, and said, “That phenomenon is not particular to you, Carolyn.” A bunch (3) of my friends “liked” my revelation in solidarity with the fact that they think of weird things, too.

Why do our brains do that to us? Do you think of creepy things when lying awake in bed? Or am I just a weirdo?

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