I’ve only recently noticed how much of a wuss I’ve become but I’ll be honest, I can actually trace my new fondness of wussiness back to that ever changing moment in my life. Yes, that moment. The moment a human being sprouted from my body and I became Momma Bear. I know this blog has its roots in becoming the new me through parenting but sheesh I didn’t think losing my nerve was one of those ‘new me’s.
Wuss is probably quite a harsh word to use but I’d say B would whole heartedly agree on its use. When we first moved in together and probably right up until the moment I was impregnated with the obvious scaredy cat gene, B and I would binge watch horror films, watch documentaries about abandoned and haunted towns and I’d revel in one or two Stephen King mind melters.
We’d take a whole weekend and watch 70s horror B movies, all the classics and other less known, equally woeful gore fests. B introduced me to the weird and wonderful world of zombies, apocalypse, ghouls and vampires. I drew the line at humanising horror where mad psychos’s turn human beings into flesh outfits or heads on walls. But still I watched Saw and House on Haunted Hill without a flinch, digging into my popcorn. I laughed as Ash took on the Necronomicon in Evil Dead and praised Tom Savini for his outrageous, blood riddled zombie special effects.
I don’t think I’m the only one who changed when the family expanded and started cowering behind the cushions as our TVs blared out threatening creatures and terrifying spectres. B and his work colleague were only talking last week about how in their teens they loved Resident Evil and yet the newest edition sends shivers down their spine. Both are doubtful they’d have the guts to play it.
I’ll admit to averting my gaze when something disturbing lights up the screen and I haven’t read a horror book in years. I have been a massive Walking Dead fan for years. I started reading the graphic novels one day as I lay in bed dosed to the high heavens fighting flu. I was fascinated and enthralled by the characters, the idea of this new society fighting a prevalent enemy that was terrifying, unpredictable and dead. Zombies were amazing and I was wrapped up in the decaying flesh, blood and gore with every page I read. And then came the TV show. I actually can’t tell you how excited I was to see my favourite characters jump out of the comic book onto the screen. The blood was redder, the wounds deeper, the enemy more threatening and the fear was prevalent. I loved it!
And then A was born and my emotions went to wack. I cried at the simplest thought. I cowered from any ill fated news story. I wanted the world to be simpler, less terrifying and not so crazy with mad men and knife wielding lunatics.
I have missed all of the current season of the Walking Dead because I absoutely can’t stomach the fear, blood and guts which I know my favourite character, Negan, will deliver. He is brutal in the comic books – which I’ve also stopped, or rather paused, reading – from the get go with his first victim. I knew what it would be like and Lord knows I couldn’t watch it.
Is it part of the maternal gene of wanting to protect my children? Is it the thought that something terrible like what I see on TV might happen to my family? Is it living in fear that something as horrific as torture could filter into my real life?
Not necessarily, because I am equally terrified of ghosts, banshees, witches, vampires, werewolves and other spectral and mythical beings. God dammit I am such a wuss! I absoutely can no longer deal with fear in the same way.
Perhaps I avoid fear so that I am able to deal with my daughters fears with a strength and perfect force which she needs. Perhaps by shielding myself from anything that frightens me, I am inadvertently shielding her.
I don’t know. Either way, as soon as I became Momma Bear I also became a wuss, vetoing any horror film B wants to watch.
Recently, we watched Stranger Things which is an incredibly written and acted show. But lord, I spent half of my time behind my hands and cushion as the Upside Down encroached on the characters. It’s back on Halloween this year and I hope I have enough stamina to make it through the season again without having nightmares. Yes, the Upside Down played on my mind and made it into my dreams.
Will I ever be able to watch a horror film, a supernatural TV show, a psychological thriller ever again? And don’t get me started on clowns.