Friday, February 22, 2008

On Sleepless Nights

Many of you may assume that this post will be about the association of sleepless nights with a new baby. Well, your assumptions are wrong. My beautiful daughter is endlessly kind, and has been sleeping through the night since her third week on earth. I count myself very lucky.

No, I can't sleep because of my own stupid mind. I am also going to blame movies, but it's mostly my mind. Let me take you to the beginning.

I was born the same year that MTV began. I grew up watching inappropriate content, but it never bothered me. When I was about 5-years old, however, I saw a mini-film, created by a Mr. Michael Jackson, "Thriller." This was an incredible work of art that stands the test of time to this day. However, in the eyes of a 5-year old, it was the most horrifying 15 minutes of celluloid ever produced. I watched this video from start to finish with my Uncle Jimmy (quite possibly now my favorite uncle), who remembers this scenario to this day.

I was not scared of the werewolf scene in the beginning, and I was only marginally disturbed by the dancing zombies. When those zombies chased the young woman into an abandoned house, I was worried (but I figured they would just encourage her to dance). When the zombies began breaking through the walls, I was scared, but I continued to watch. I felt immense relief when Michael Jackson returned to his human form, and it was clear that it was all just a dream on the part of the scared woman.

And then Michael Jackson turned around, and his eyes were yellow. He was clearly inhuman. It was not a nightmare, it was not her imagination. She was in true danger, and she had talked herself out of being scared. I ran out of the room screaming, and I could not sleep for two nights. Needless to say, Uncle Jimmy didn't babysit me much after that.

So began my irrational fear of zombies.

After that event, I avoided scary movies at all costs. I did my best to not even watch previews for scary movies, so as to avoid countless nights filled with either nightmares or sleeplessness.

Until my 20s. Then I began to trust myself as a rational grown-up. I began to believe that the fact that I knew that the existence of zombies was unlikely would win over any silly images on screen. I was wrong.

I have watched movies like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and I Am Legend. I know that in some cases, the "zombies" are really just "infected," but the result is about the same. These movies did not send me running from the room, as "Thriller" did. I watched them to the end, often commenting on how impossible the situations really were.

Yet, somehow these movies have affected me. I lie awake thinking things like, "There is no escape from this room if the zombies come," or, "What if I wake up to a zombie eating my baby?" And the worst, "What if my baby becomes a zombie?" In the light of day, these are ridiculous ideas to have, but at night I can't stop my brain. I think about all of the ways to fight off a zombie, but the most terrifying of all thoughts enters my mind.

It isn't the one zombie that you have to be scared of. They come in droves, and they are your neighbors. They don't stop coming.

And then I am in full-fledged panic mode, considering waking my husband. Instead I wake my dogs and make them come sleep in my room. Somehow, this keeps the zombies "at bay."

I used to get this way before tests in college, only zombies were replaced with burglars (really, I'm not kidding). It seems to be a manifestation of stress, but I am not feeling particularly stressed. This is just odd.

At any rate, the reason I am writing this is to hopefully rid my brain of these irrational thoughts. Hopefully now that it is out of my mind, it will stay out of my mind. Otherwise, I might lose it for lack of sleep.

I just hope I am not like the woman in "Thriller." I hope that there truly is nothing to fear.

1 comment:

  1. When you're a kid, it tends to stick in your brain. I saw John Carpenter's version of The Thing when I was 12 and it gave me nightmares for a week. Years later, not a twitch. May I suggest The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead or its sequel for some peace of mind, or at least perhaps a laugh?

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Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.