From Dracula to the Boogie Man, Jason to Michael Myers there’s always been these symbols of horror designed to scare us. As children our parents wouldn’t allow us to watch scary movies late at night (though we’d sneak and watch anyway) for fear it would give us nightmares. (And sometimes it did) They tried to protect us from having those fears...and they didn’t want us trying to sleep with them in their room.
We would try to pretend that those things never bothered us. “Nothing can scare me” would be the motto to stay up late and watch a movie I probably wasn’t quite ready for, to keep pace with my older brothers. I’d watch with them feeling fine until bedtime. I can remember being a small child and turning off the light then running down the hallway in the dark and jumping into bed. I didn't believe I was being chased...it just made me feel better. As cool and collected as he was movie time, my brother had a thing with being afraid to sleep with an open closet door. We were children and these things were normal. We eventually grew out of it and were no longer afraid. Freddy Krueger wasn’t coming to get us.
Funny thing is, as I’ve grown older I’ve come to meet some real life Freddy’s. Only instead of wanting to kill me, they wanted to kill my dreams, murder my goals. We’ve all met these people, no they may not be sporting the tight Christmas Coogi sweater or have the bladed glove and burned up face, but they are just as creative and determined to destroy. They pop up when we feel like things are genuinely going well and try their best to slash away all feelings of hope and accomplishment.
They might as well put on the dirty brown hat as they shift from dream to dream set on being an ambition assassin. They will try to break up our relationships, hinder us from bettering ourselves or just plain try to prevent us from changing. They don’t want us to progress or succeed and they’ll stop at nothing to make that happen. We can try to ignore them or set ourselves out to prove them wrong but in the end they must be eradicated…they have to go. We can’t give them the option of getting their little rusty glove on something we hold dear. All they’re looking for is an opportunity…a chance to bring us down.
I’ve also come to learn that these aren’t people to fear as much as to pity. Like Freddy they’re born from a place of pain, frustration and confusion. Lacking the strength or ability to pull themselves up they would rather keep us down. They will come in all forms from our parents, siblings, friends even significant others. They only know misery and we all know misery loves company. They will try their best to convince us that we’ll “never make it” or we’re “not good enough”. Phrases like “why don’t you just quit and do something else?” Or even “you can’t do it” can slice through the most driven of us and bring us down. That’s why we have to defeat them head on. Leaving them around in any capacity will only give them a chance for a sequel so they can’t be allowed to survive this film.
We may have grown up and dismissed the idea of a machete wielding maniac with a hockey mask but we do need to identify the real life monsters in our world. My dreams are important to me. I value them and will fight to protect them. We can’t be afraid to remove the cancerous people in our lives…even if we do walk a little faster after we turn off the hallway light.
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