Courage Born From Disobedience aka I Used To Be Afraid Of The Dark

Fears… phobias are just a few of the things we often keep close to our hearts. We don’t like to talk about them for fear others will ridicule us or worse, use the knowledge against us. Fear is a powerful thing; it’s enough to start entire revolutions – or stifle them. Fear can win wars or lose them. And yet sometimes the smallest thing can help spark the courage you need to overcome that fear. I used to be afraid of the dark. “Used to be” because I’m not anymore. In fact, anyone who knows me knows I now prefer a dark room and night time to day time. All for one simple, ridiculous reason.

From the 7th grade onwards I developed an insatiable appetite for reading. This was a localised fascination, it had to be fantasy (and largely still is) simply because of the creativity it inspired within me. *I’ll discuss how I became fond of reading in tomorrow’s post.* However high school loomed and the work grew more intense. I would no longer have the countless hours to pore though fantasy and science fiction novels the size of dictionaries day in, day out. I had to be realistic. This is what my parents told me.

“Focus on school, read the books later.”

Now I know what you’re thinking. This post is about fear of the dark, what does it have to do with reading novels and high school? Firstly let me rephrase the term “fear of the dark”. I possessed (especially in my younger years) a quite incredible imagination as often is the case with youth. All I needed was space and time to create whatever universe my whims led me to. I only fell just short of the imagination Oscar for never having had an imaginary friend. I had an imaginary army but never the one friend who would take up space at the table etc for that would have been near suicidal. It was this intense imagination coupled with the housekeeper’s fascination with horror movies, ones I had to watch with her at all costs, that made me fear the dark for a long time… yes even into my teens.

So I would sleep with the light on. “I need to read,” was the typical response. It wasn’t nearly as intense as the phobia I wrote about earlier in my blog though. So long as I was already in bed with my eyes shut, I’d have been fine. But that was rarely the case so the light stayed on… until I was told to stop reading novels at night. I had to wake up early in the morning since my bus to school left at 0630. Immediately my mind went into detective mode because the love for reading was too great to let go instantaneously, much less for something as mundane as waking up on time for school. How to beat the system? That’s what I pondered for a few hours at most. The answer finally came.

“Good night. I’m going to sleep.”

Then I would switch off my light, proof that I was actually sleeping… only to go into my  blankets, produce my latest novel from under the pillow and switch on my Nokia’s torch. This is how I read Stephenie Meyer’s ‘New Moon’ in one night. I did this often enough that the fear of the dark evaporated. I needed the dark for me to do what I loved; read. And I read. I went through 6 to 8 books a month this way. In a school of 700 students the librarian new my name and would set aside new books for me to devour. So repetitive and exciting was the new habit that even my study habits tweaked to accommodate this mindset so that even now I’m extremely productive in the hours from late evening to early morning.

And that’s it. I told my parents about it a while ago and they had a laugh. It was silly beyond belief. But one can’t deny that it got rid of an unnecessary, hindering fear… even if it may have replaced it with a less than necessary habit. The young man no longer feared the dark… he was just borderline useless early in the morning.

No. 10

Number 10. We both love football so we can both appreciate just how important a number 10 is. It is no coincidence that our favourite player of all time is a number 10; a playmaker. A number 10 is one who makes things happen, without them the team will struggle to score. Often the number 10 decides whether the game is won or lost. The number 10 can drag a team across the line – sometimes singlehandedly.

This is where you come in Dad. You’re our No. 10! You’re our Christian Eriksen, our Eden Hazard, our Kevin De Bruyne… Our Lionel Messi. You’re a prodigy at what you do and we love you for it. You might not get the equivalent of the Ballon d’Or but you have all our love and appreciation.

Today we’d like to celebrate you and all your awesomeness, technical skills… in spite of a lack of agility. Happy birthday Dad! To an extremely delayed retirement as No. 10!

PS A shame you support Arsenal 😉

Compliment

You look absolutely stunning in that dress…

More so without it…

I kid. I’m just playing…

But you really are gorgeous.

You make me appreciate the gift of sight.

Why?

Because you’re a gift.

I’m glad to be here right now.

What? No, it can’t be lust.

Can one lust after art?

Perfection.

Actually – it’s subjective perfection.

I’ve chosen to accept you flaws and all.

So that you seem perfect.

Because you are to me.

“You’re smoothtalking!”

No. I’m complimenting you.

Comments based purely on honesty, not flattery.

With these words I try to show a glimpse of your value to me.

 

End Note

I believe paying loved ones compliments is essential. Not only does it let them know that you appreciate them, it gives them confidence and strengthens your relationship. The only guideline would be to be honest. It’s best to be genuine with compliments lest they be empty words and that can normally show resulting in a detrimental effect. So when it comes to compliments, sincerity is key.