Nothing Like A Good Old Fashioned Horror Story.

man lights legs silhouette
“I was sent by Triple A? I heard you have a flat tire? I’m here to help.”

For pretty much all of my life, I’ve been a fan of the “horror genre.” Books, movies, TV shows, you name it. Most of the fiction literature that I’ve read has been one form of horror or another.

Vampires. Were-wolves. Zombies. Aliens. Let’s not forget, at least when it comes to movies, guys in hockey masks, guys in blue coveralls, guys with knives strapped onto their hands.

Looking back on a lot of it, man, it was cheesy and hokey. Some of the films I used to watch, while they wouldn’t scare me, but maybe they would give me a sense of unease, of dread. Lately watching some of these films, I tend to find them somewhat silly and even boring.

I guess you grow up, you mature. Nothing wrong with any of this material, it definitely has a nostalgia factor to them. I can remember where I was when I first read or saw whatever it was. Good times.

I guess the horror literature and movies don’t do it so much for me anymore because of what can actually go on in the real world.

True crime is a horror genre in itself, the only difference is that the boogyman is real. I find this particular genre fascinating in and of itself as well. The how’s and possible why’s of what one individual or group of individuals did to another person or group. The why’s don’t bother me as much, they did what they did because they could and they wanted to, after all. Anything else is really just a label, a compartmentalization, a rationalization. A way for us the readers and viewers to say, “I could never do that.” Sure you could. Given the right circumstances and motivations, we are truly capable of anything.

There’s another boogeyman that’s real though too.

This one isn’t outside of us. It isn’t some other individual or group doing things to us, it’s in our own minds. It is us.

That boogeyman is very real. It’s all of our doubts and insecurities. It’s that nagging voice that tells you you can’t. It’s that thought that you aren’t good enough. It’s the voice of “why bother.” And it resides in all of us. It’s our inner critic, our slave driver, our own personal demon(s). It’s even that inner whisper of perfection.

If only you do X, Y, Z, in ABC order, then, and only then, will you find perfection. You’ll not fail. You’ll succeed beyond your wildest dreams. But…

People are going to be watching you. They are going to laugh when you fall down, they are going to jeer when you fail. And your failure will hang around your neck, like an albatross, cursing you for all eternity. So just give up. Laughter and pointing fingers, and the judgment that you surely will receive! Everyone will see you as that failure. You will wear that scarlet A. And you will be outcast. Shunned. Unforgiven and alone. A pariah.

Men and women will tell stories about you to their children to frighten them into obedience. “Don’t do that! Or you’ll end up like….And you don’t want that do you?”

Am I being outlandish? Sure I am. And yet I’m not. We all have our personal demons that whisper to us and tell us these frightening things. They tell us that we can’t succeed, that everyone is watching, waiting for us to fall down so they can laugh and judge. They tell us why bother. They tell us, don’t worry about it, do it tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. And yet, tomorrow never comes.

They tell us that what we have to offer is of no consequence. They tell us someone else has already said and done it before. They tell us there is too much competition and that the market is too saturated.

They tell us that we will never be good looking enough, athletic enough, strong enough, thin enough, young enough, rich enough, and smart enough, so why bother?

These demons in our minds, they will tell us a lot of things. And we’ll turn them into reality if we listen long enough and believe them.

But we don’t have to. We can choose to ignore them. We can choose to exorcise them and cast them out. We can choose to listen and believe in something else.

We can choose to accept that we are not perfect and never will be. We can choose to figure that we are good enough. We can always strive to do and be better, but while striving, we can be okay with where we are at and who we are. We can look back at who we were yesterday and see the progress that we have made today.

We can choose to see those demons for what they really are. Smoke and mirrors. Hokey guys with fake machetes and plastic masks, dripping fake blood.

We can choose something else.

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