Home > Random Musings, Stories from Childhood > Fears, Growing up, and Closet Vampires

Fears, Growing up, and Closet Vampires


When I was a kid, I wasn’t afraid of anything. Well, not anything. At one point, I was convinced that there were vampires living in my closet. The door had to be shut, and my neck had to be covered at all times while going to sleep. I’m not sure I should admit that, but there you have it: I was afraid of Closet Vampires.

But this isn’t about that. This is about what happens to us when we grow up. At some point, in small or large ways, we lose that Thing that lets us jump blindly into anything. In some instances, that’s a good thing. As an adult, we’d look pretty stupid jumping off the shed roof, trying to fly. (Not something that *I* personally did, mind you.) But in other areas, losing that Thing holds us back.

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve realized that certain things terrify me, illogically, and without cause. I don’t say these things out loud, because it’s silly. I know that I can get past them, but now it’s like I have something to prove. To myself, not other people.

As a kid, I was a goofy ham. Put a video camera in front of me, and I turned into a comedian. Hold out a camera, and you’d get a ridiculous big grin. Also goofy. Somewhere along the line, I stopped being so completely silly and hamish. (Not a word, I know. BUT IT SHOULD BE.) Don’t get me wrong, if I have to speak in front of a crowd, I generally do it well. I can do it. But it’s not the same reaction. And I find that puzzling. I can’t figure out when that happened.

I’ve given speeches. I’ve sung in front of crowds. Hell, I’ve sung in hallways. I love doing it, but that fearlessness is missing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m generally still the first person to leap in and do what needs to be done. I will recite Shakespeare on command (specifically, Puck’s ending speech). I love making people laugh. (See the video of me giving a toast at my best friend’s wedding. It’s on Facebook.) But I’m afraid screwing up or looking silly. I push through it, because that’s what you do. Face the fears. Tell them to bugger off (same goes for writing, and I will ask you to remind me of this while I’m pen-deep in edits, trying to figure out where the commas should go).

I want to get back that small piece of me that didn’t know to be afraid of looking silly. Except, I’m not entirely sure where I left it. But I’m going to figure it out.

What parts of your personality have fallen by the wayside?

  1. October 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Hamish . . . I like it!

    I get what you’re saying, Ali. Around family and friends, I was a very goofy kid. Not so much around strangers, though. Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit that my Ed Grimley imitation was perfect, and that I used to know every line of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure by heart. I also had Pee Wee’s bar top dance to “Tequila” down pat (sans the bar top and stacked disco shoes). 😉

    Somewhere along the way (after I became a mom), the goofy streak got buried. It was quite sad, especially since I think having a mom who can be goofy is a good thing. Oh, silliness would rear its head from time-to-time, but not enough for my kids to think it was anything but extremely uncomfortable and somewhat terrifying to witness.

    I’m pleased to say that my goofiness is working its way back to the surface on a regular basis. It seems that I have had some sort of awakening in the last year or so. I’m more willing to step out of my comfort zone, try new things, be more goofy. I guess you could say that I am finally more comfortable showing my authentic self to the world.

    So do not fear, Ali. That piece you feel is missing isn’t completely gone. It’s probably just being overshadowed by some other things. You’ll get your goofy groove back . . . probably sooner than you think. 😉


    • October 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

      Your comments are always so wonderful, Blake. Thank you very much for sharing you thoughts on this. Now, of course, I have a visual of a Coyote Ugly dance mixed with Pee Wee Herman (who I adored as a kid). *grin* Priceless. Anyway, hooray for the return of goofiness!!! That is great. Thank you, as well, for the reassurance. 🙂

  2. October 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    def. feel that kids are more free to be goofy. i’ve lost that too, though sometimes, when i’ve not had enough sleep, i can act silly at work.

    • October 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

      Lately, I think I’ve realized that we all need more silly in our lives. If I’ve had a massive amount of coffee, I can be more silly than normal — or when I’m really tired, like you. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  3. November 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I am still afraid of the dark. And I still like to sing. I do miss not having stage fright, though – I somehow acquired that around the age of ten, and have not been able to get rid of it since.

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