Today we welcome Robin Elizabeth Mason, a new contributor, to the Writing Prompts Crew…
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
Fears: boogie man, monsters in closet/under bed, loud noises, fear of the dark, heights, water/drowning… The list goes on and on. A common factor I see in these is an unknown variable. A child fears a boogie man under the bed – and swears he has seen it. And barring someone actually hiding under the bed, the fear is based on… what?
Where does a fear of, say, loud noises come from? Or the dark? Some traumatic event associated with loud noises or something traumatic that happened in the dark. Thrown in the pool or lake as a small child? Perhaps there’s the fear of water. Perhaps your little leg brushed against a fish swimming by, or algae growing in the murky water – and SOMEone told you it was a monster. So you, as a small person, believe it, but not that lake only. All lakes, all water, and suddenly you can’t swim, you can’t ride in a boat. Perhaps you can’t even cross a bridge.
Perhaps the traumatic event was not a tickle. Perhaps you witness a car careening off a winding mountain road and your Daddy stopped your car to see what he could do to help. Perhaps, then you are terrified to ever drive in the mountains, or afraid of the very mountains themselves.
As children, we don’t have the maturity to differentiate nuance of fact. We can’t see that the six inch step-stool to aid us in washing our pudgy little hands is not the top of the Eiffel Tower, and yet because we tumbled off of it once upon a time, we are now afraid to get on it again.
As an adult even, I was in a wreck at a certain intersection here in my town. Even though the hand of God was clearly on me and I walked away with a few scratched from broken glass and some ant bites, and a wrenched back [ok, I did ride in the ambulance, but basically, I walked away unscathed]. Still, for weeks, months, when I approached that same intersection, I did so with high caution. The odds of being in a second accident at the exact same place are what? Slim to none? But that dread, that fear was planted.
How much more so in a child’s mind. Plant a small seed, and the vast imagination of a child’s thinking runs amok. That vacuum cleaner that you’re sure can suck you right up with your Lego’s® instills a fear of loud noises, or perhaps machines; you’ll never use a lawnmower either, or run a dishwasher.
But how to combat the fears? How to convince a small child [or not so small] that not all doggies are mean and vicious just because the stray pup you tried to pet was wounded and snapped at you. Alleviate the fear with positive interaction. Introduce a happy puppy, one who licks not nips, one who rolls on his back for belly rubs.
Wade in shallow water, so a child can see there are no monsters lurking. Venture deeper slowly and steadily, til confidence is gained – and fear is alleviated.
Sometimes, all a small person needs [big people too] is a hug and a snuggle, reassurance that whatever is out there, real or imagined, we’re not in this alone. Whatever fears we face, we don’t face them alone. And together we’ll conquer the fears, we’ll shine the light under the bed and in the closet. We’ll teach little ones to use the vacuum and not run from it. We’ll look at the stars in the dark and behold their majesty. We study alligators and snakes and dinosaurs – and lions and tigers and bears, oh my – to learn their behavior and habitat. And learn respect for them in the process. In a word, we conquer those fears.
Then, when the boogie man does show his face, perhaps he’s the one who’s afraid because he is outnumbered.
Robin Elizabeth Mason began writing in 1995, and after a few (dozen) (thousand) hiccups and curve balls, other life projects, including four years of college, she began working on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Ms. Mason has written posts as a guest blogger, and has to her credit several dozen poems. “I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone would be me! I mean, even my dollies and Barbies had backstory!”
Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity. Her characters face many of these same demons. She has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own. She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
She writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.
Tessa is available on Amazon, on Kindle and in print.
The sequel, Clara Bess, will be released this summer. Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers.