When I was really little, the thing I was most scared of in the world was the Big Bad Wolf. I don't remember when I first started being scared of it, but to me the Big Bad Wolf was horrifying. He was the terror hiding under my bed, he was what was waiting in the shadows ready to pounce, and he was the in the nightmares that would leave me awake and shaking in the middle of the night. I could not stand the stories of Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs.
If the lights were off in my room and I needed to get out of bed, I would sit on the edge (feet up, of course) for a long time, trying to decide if it was worth the risk. I just knew that as soon as my foot hit the floor, the Big Bad Wolf would reach his hunormous* paw out to grab me and pull me under the bed, never to be seen or heard from again. If I really absolutely had to get out of bed, I would jump out as far away from the side of the bed as I could, and race out of the room.
One of the main problems was, that if I was getting up in the middle of the night, it was probably to go to the bathroom. The 1950's house I grew up in still had the original tile half-way up the bathroom wall. Along the way, someone had decided to paint that tile several times. Most of the tile was painted white, but along the floor was a spot where someone had dropped something heavy (a paint bucket, perhaps?) and put a large chip in the white paint. Of course, the chip revealed a layer underneath that had been painted black. And it was in the shape of a wolf.
Thinking back on it, it all seems so silly. To be terrified there was a wolf under my bed and to let my imagination run wild that he could hide in a chipped tile on the wall and would somehow come to life and get me if I didn't watch the chip the entire time I was in the bathroom alone. Thankfully I've outgrown all that and realize now that The Big Bad Wolf is a fictional character.
Although, to claim that I've completely gotten over absurd fears would be a lie. There are still some things that scare the bejesus out of me. Of course, I try to act like a normal, rational adult, but sometimes and in some situations I just want to freak out. I guess in a way I am still scared of the Big Bad Wolf, only now he has taken on a the form of bad things I fear could happen or risks I'm scared to take. Maybe I will never really be grown up.
Oh well. At least I can get up in the middle of the night without racing away from the bed.
*Hunormous is a word my 4-year-old uses all the time to describe something that is huge and enormous. I love it so much I cannot bear to tell him it is not a real word. Maybe someday it will be. Didn't they just add "ginormous" to the dictionary?