There is Magic in the Dark

Trick-or Treat.

I’ve always hated scary movies.

For one thing, the spells they cast last far too long. I saw The Ring when I was twenty and for years, for YEARS, I was scared of my empty television at night. (I don’t even need to tell you how it was after I saw Blair Witch at sixteen, when I still lived with my parents IN THE WOODS.)

All my life it’s been the same. I’ll watch a movie and think, I’m fine, this is fine, this is totally fine, but then the hours pass and the sun goes down and I’ll be walking down my hallway under the entrance to the attic crawlspace and something in me quickens and I have to dart underneath and to the other side as fast as I can.

I mean, my bed lives on my floor for a reason. No more jumping out of bed to avoid those pesky horror movie hands that jut out and grab your ankles.

Yes, I am an adult human person who makes furniture choices based on that time I saw The Sixth Sense when I was in middle school. And yes, I know that those were Mischa Barton’s hands, and yes, I know that Mischa Barton isn’t even scary. But there you have it.

And of course, there are real things to be scared of in the world. I know that. There are monsters and murderers and Republicans. There is famine and disease, war and poverty. There are faulty car tires and freak waves and sometimes hurricanes.

And then there’s my depression.

Oh, how I hate that word, but there it is. I would love to find a cozy euphemism for it. To make him the goblin on my back, someone I could grow to appreciate, or at least become accustomed to. If it was a him, he could be my companion. If it was a him, at least we would be in this together.

I went through a bad period a few months back. I truly didn’t want to get out of bed, although of course I did, for work. At home, none of the old stand-bys could distract me. Gilmore Girls did nothing. Friends somehow made me cry.

And then, because I could not imagine anything else distracting me from what I felt, I decided to watch the Japanese original of The Grudge. 

I watched the whole movie. Then I watched The Ring again. When I was bingeing horror films, I wasn’t crying. And I was really too numb to get all that scared. After an entire weekend of scary movies, I finally realized:

They’re metaphors. Duh.

And I’m sure every film studies major at NYU and every weird dude working at the video store has always known that, but I had never paid enough attention long enough to realize it. These characters are haunted. And when you’re haunted, you can’t ignore it. You can’t escape from it. The best you can do is to sit down where you are, and stare directly into the dark that scares you, and try to make friends with the ghosts.

I am haunted too.

And maybe that’s okay.

My ghosts are me, and we’re in this thing together.

There’s magic in the dark, and I am strong enough to face it.

After all, I’ve made it this far, haven’t I?

We are all more magnificent than we even know. There is a ball of fire burning in our bellies, and it will keep us angry, and real, and alive. This is Halloween and we are the witches. ♥ to you all.

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