I've been a little obsessed with fear lately. I guess it probably has at least a little bit to do with the recent holiday, but I just wanted to be scared.
I've never watched a horror movie that actually scared me. Usually I find them laughably over the top. Sure, I'll be startled when something jumps out unexpectedly, and too much gore is a little revolting, but I want to be so scared I freak out and am scared of every little noise and shadow for a while afterward and maybe even have nightmares.
In an attempt to achieve this state of fear, I downloaded a bunch of horror movies to try to help the cause. So far I've only gotten through The Exorcist and [rec]. The Exorcist was really not that scary at all. [rec] was a teensy bit frightening at first, but that quickly wore off. This provided a useful insight, however. [rec] started off well because I was like "oh man, what is up with that old lady? ack!" but by the time I was like "oh, zombie virus, whatevs, lameboats" I basically got bored with the whole movie. So, this tells me that I am scared of the unknown.
I didn't know, for a while, why I wanted so badly to be scared. I spend a lot of my life being scared, and I'm not especially fond of the feeling. But I just want to be terrified out of my wits. Then, by coincidence, Neil Gaiman posted a link in his twitter feed to this article that he wrote a few years back, and it shed some relevant light on my situation:
Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses. You ride the ghost train into the darkness, knowing that eventually the doors will open and you will step out into the daylight once again. It’s always reassuring to know that you’re still here, still safe. That nothing strange has happened, not really. It’s good to be a child again, for a little while, and to fear — not governments, not regulations, not infidelities or accountants or distant wars, but ghosts and such things that don’t exist, and even if they do, can do nothing to hurt us.
The reason I want so badly to be scared, maybe, is precisely because I am always scared, and it does suck. I want to be scared of something that's really really scary, so I can "get off the ghost train" so to speak, and realize that maybe strangers and social interactions and the future are not actually things that I should actively fear. After all, it's not like they're ghosts or anything.