Why I’m Afraid of the Dark

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been afraid of the dark. I don’t know at what exact moment that fear began, but I remember it always being there. Usually, I’d call my dad into the room to sleep in there with me, and that would make me feel safe enough to fall asleep. Or I’d hide under the covers, give myself a pep talk and bolt down the stairs to my parents’ room.

As I got older, this fear remained, but not as often. I remember, in my high school years, listening to my clock radio as I fell asleep. For some reason, this one song would always be played at night after 11 p.m. The lyrics said, “Don’t close your eyes. Don’t close your eyes.” Freaky, right? I would force my eyes open until the song ended and faded from my mind.

I loved the excitement potential inherent in horror movies, but hated the after-effects. I would tend to invite friends to sleepover on horror movie nights, or at least follow the movie with a comedy. My best friend, Amy, and I would often get so creeped out that one of us would hide behind the shower curtain while the other person went to bathroom, just so we wouldn’t have to be alone. Looking back, I find that hilarious and pretty cute.

Now, I’m a horror buff. I gobble up anything horror-esque and have seen so many films from the genre that Netflix is running out of suggestions for me. It’s gotten easier to sleep at night, probably due to the fact that aging, maturity, and rationalization skills go sort of hand in hand.

But every once in a while, I’ll watch something that just makes me feel uneasy, and it’ll be hard to sleep.

It’s just a dark room. Why be afraid?

Well, there are several reasons:

1- Deeply personal. I do have PTSD due to a past abusive relationship and experience anxiety and nightmares because of those experiences.

2- Psychology – check out this link for more information.

3- The unknown.

I recently viewed a TED talk on this topic, and found that this comment by someone named Brad Friend summed it up quite nicely:

“Darkness is the second greatest fear of any person who has ever experienced light. It’s not the darkness we fear but what it represents. Darkness is the physical manifestation of the unknown, and of ignorance of danger. It is not the darkness, but what lies inside it. And when we can’t see what is there, we are hardwired to imagine whatever frightens us individually the most. This is why the scariest part of a horror movie is before we see the monster, when we are imagining all the terrible things it could be. Its why, since landing on the moon, we’ve made so little headway in the exploration and colonization of space. Space is the single greatest form of darkness, of the unknown, the very thing we’ve known to fear our entire lives. And it seems reckless, even suicidal, to step boldly into that frontier, without first examining, experimenting, and pushing back as much of the unknown as possible first.”

As the talented HP Lovecraft once said, normal_lovecraft

 

As Brad mentioned above, this phenomenon is exploited in almost every horror movie. I must be honest – it works.

Because truly, I’m not afraid of the dark, but rather what might be in it. Not really because I’m scared of what I’ll find, but because I’m scared it will find me first.

For more information on nyctophobia, check out these links: TED Talks, Huffington Post, Gizmodo, Wikipedia

The World is Not So Accessible After All: The Constant Struggle for Independence and Equality for the Disabled

ADA Accessible! Yeah, yeah. It’s a word disabled people, like me, hear quite often. One would assume that going somewhere that claims to be ADA accessible would be a breeze, but that’s not the case. Often, “accessible” means something completely different to the owners of these properties; it means “adequate” or “good enough.” The problem is that it’s often NOT good enough.

Seriously.

Seriously.

This article shows pictures of seven absolutely ridiculous, totally dangerous wheelchair ramps. Some of them don’t even touch the ground. How the hell are these ramps considered to be in compliance with ADA standards?

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) understands that altering existing structures costs a lot more than making new construction accessible, which is why it tends to only focus on those new buildings. The law requires that public accommodations such as banks, hotels, restaurants, and stores remove architectural barriers in existing facilities when it is “readily achievable.” In this case, that means “without much difficulty or expense.” Things that qualify include adding a handicap parking space, installing a bathroom grab bar, widening a doorway, etc.

The purpose of the ADA is “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities … the Nation’s proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for such individuals.” The ADA also is intended to reduce federal payments for social security income and other federal tax-funded disability programs.

Juxtapose this paragraph with reality and you’ll see that there’s a problem. There are certain requirements in place that have helped, surely, but we are nowhere near total equality, full participation, or independent living. The ADA even states that restaurants are NOT required to print their menus in braille, meaning that waiters have to read the menu to blind customers. 1 – that’s going to take a long time, and 2 – that does NOT promote independent living. While many restaurants –Olive Garden and Applebees – actually offer braille menus, the fact that it is not a requirement further distances the disabled community from equality and independence.

In addition, a restaurant with a basement-level bar is not required to provide disabled access to the basement area, unless it is readily achievable, meaning “easy.” Why should it have to be easy? It’s not easy living with a disability, so why put the burden, again, on us? The burden should rest on the business owner. It’s like they’re tiptoeing around it so as not to upset their economic interests. Anyway, as I was saying, if alternative access to the basement area is “impossible,” then the restaurant is required to provide bar service at the same prices to customers with mobility impairments in the restaurant. I see several issues with this:

1- It’s not just about price. It’s about community, inclusion. If no one disabled can get down to the bar area, they cannot interact with people hanging out at the bar. It’s not just an economic thing; it’s social. We’ve all had days where we just want to hang out with friends at the bar, but imagine being in a wheelchair and unable to hang out with your buddies due to a lack of accessibility. Yet, the restaurant is still meeting ADA guidelines. Pfft. Maybe it’s good enough for them, but it’s certainly not good enough for us.

2- You could very easily lose business due to this fact. The disabled community is not a teeny tiny part of America; according to the US census, nearly 1 in 5 people have a disability. In 2010, that statistic translated to 56.7 million people. This is not a handful of people; this is a significant portion of the population. Many, many people are also related to or close to someone with a disability. Not providing access could quickly turn off customers.

Furthermore, the promises made in the ADA are not met. It’s this “good enough” mentality that is making it hard.

It’s simply not good enough. We need to reassess our values and goals and how to truly achieve them.

This man is trying to spur change in that area within the city of London. Check out his recent race against the “tube” and how it clearly shows what “good enough” means nowadays.

This post will be updated periodically. Check for updates as time goes on.

But You Don’t LOOK Sick: Invisible Illnesses and the People Who Don’t Understand Them

I have an invisible illness. It’s called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. The disease is commonly referred to as RSD/CRPS. I speak out about it a lot, so most of my social group knows what it is. However, you wouldn’t be able to tell by just looking at me. Hence, an invisible illness.

Read the Huffington Post article below for another woman’s experience battling ignorance on this topic:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-campisano/when-today-said-i-was-not-bald-enough_b_5915628.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046

I remember when my illness was at its worst. I was in and out of a wheelchair (I hated that thing, so I was desperate to walk). On the days I tried walking, people were always so surprised and very… vocal about it. I was going to class one day and had just parked my car when a guy in truck pulled over in front of me. He LITERALLY asked me, “How are you parking in a disabled spot if you’re walking? Are you faking it?” I was fuming. I calmly explained to him that I have a disease that causes me immense pain, but I still have the ability to use my legs. He obviously had never met anyone like this before, because he looked skeptical. “Trust me; I’m not faking it. I wish I was,” I told him.

It’s sad, but ignorance like this exists EVERYWHERE. It’s rampant. This phenomenon is further explained here.

It’s already hard for us. 73-year-old amputee Tom Hannah knows this struggle quite well.

For those of you who think you are doing a public service calling out the people who “look normal,” here’s a newsflash for you: you have absolutely no authority. For a fabulous explanation of this, check out this link.

Fighting Back

Some people put notes like these on cars that park in disabled spaces that do not have a disabled license plate or placard. Contrary to what some people seem to think, disabled spaces are NOT waiting spaces. Just the other day, I was on campus and a guy had parked his Mercedes Benz sideways across THREE DISABLED SPACES. Nah uh. Get out. Disabled people exist. We need those spaces, often a lot more than you know. A few steps, for me, can change my whole day. Don’t make me wait because you’re too lazy to go elsewhere.

Many people whine about the fines associated with these incidents. Let me repeat myself: DISABLED SPACES ARE NOT WAITING SPACES. Period. We take them seriously, and so does the law. Furthermore, NO; It is not okay to park in these spaces for a few minutes because you were “just running inside to grab something.” It doesn’t matter. Your quick errand is not more important than my health.

For more on invisible illnesses, check out http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/about/

Why Girls Should Never Stop Wearing High-Waisted Shorts: A Response Article

TAYLORED

I recently came across a quite nauseating article entitled “Why Girls Should Stop Wearing High-Waisted Shorts” written by an unnamed writer of the popular site Total Fraternity Move, or TFM. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, the article goes to express why one man believes that all women everywhere should stop wearing high-waisted denim shorts. His reasoning is compelling; get this, he doesn’t like them! I am fully aware of everyone’s right to an opinion, but this article was so disturbing and ignorant that I felt I had to pose an argument. I will now continue to tell you why articles like these promote misogyny, how they encourage body shaming, and, of course, why girls should continue to rock the high-waisted look, and whatever the hell else they want.

I’d like to preface this one with the same disclaimer: I am not a fashion designer. I am…

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James Wright Foley beheaded by ISIS

This may not be the norm, but this NEEDS to be talked about.

Link to NBC article on James Wright Foley. To watch the ISIS video, go to LiveLeak.

James Wright Foley was an American photojournalist. He was recently captured by ISIS and forced to make a video. In this video, Foley (is forced to) discuss Obama’s airstrikes as well as condemn them; he says that the decision to approve these attacks is what is truly causing his death, not ISIS.

In the gruesome video (which is not shown on the NBC article, but can be viewed on LiveLeak), Foley can be seen on his knees in orange, next to an ISIS member. After they both speak, Foley is beheaded. The next shot is of Foley’s dead body in handcuffs, with his head resting on his back. Though the actual cutting is not in the video, it is still very graphic.

The video ends with a view of another American and the ISIS member telling Obama that he needs to decide his next steps wisely because that man’s life depends on it.

A very chilling video and statement, indeed.

What does this mean for America? Will we stop the airstrikes? Is what’s good for this man good for the many? Will it even matter or save him if we do stop? There are plenty of questions to ask here and they are not easy to answer by any means. Lives depend upon these questions and their answers. How will America proceed?

12-year-olds blame horror meme Slenderman for inspiring them to stab classmate

12-year-olds blame horror meme Slenderman for inspiring them to stab classmate

To read the Verge article, click on the title of this post.

Two twelve-year-old girls claim that Slenderman inspired them to stab a classmate “19 times in order to prove themselves worthy of visiting his ‘mansion’ in a Wisconsin forest.” According to The Verge, the two allegedly planned to murder their victim — another 12-year-old girl — for months, but she ultimately escaped and, as of Monday night, was “fighting for her life” in a hospital. The two perpetrators are being charged as adults.

I’m sorry, but there’s something I have to address before anything else can be discussed. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF ANOTHER PERSON! I grew up having that lesson constantly taught to me again and again. It still rings true today.

It’s called victim-blaming, and it’s not okay. Rape victims are often told, “Well, look at what you were wearing. You were asking for it.”

Nah uh. Not okay. The problem is not the lady’s attire, but what the rapist did to her. The issue is that he committed an illegal act against another human being, not that the human being he attacked was wearing a mini skirt.

The same thing applies here.

Creepypasta is in no way responsible for this stabbing. ZERO. These kids made their own choices. Slenderman is a fake story. Completely made up.

The fact that they believed it – despite the numerous amount of information out there which explains that Slenderman is fake – is not Creepypasta’s fault. In fact, I think it is the fault of the parents. Where were they when this horrible stabbing happened?!

The Verge goes on to explain in the following selection:

“In response to concerned parents, the Creepypasta Wiki has published a statement emphasizing that everything in it is clearly made up. ‘Something like this was bound to happen, considering the size of the Creepypasta community. All it takes is one person to do something insane and radical in the name of someone or something,’ it says. ‘There is a line of between fiction and reality, and it is up to you to realize where the line is. We are a literature site, not a crazy satanic cult.'”

Japanese Horror: Two Pop Idols Attacked by Saw-Wielding Man

Japanese Horror: Two Pop Idols Attacked by Saw-Wielding Man

To read the article, click on the title of this post.

Japanese idol group AKB48 – which consists of 140 girls – is temporarily down by two members. According to reports, a 24-year-old man waiting in line at a “handshake” event in Iware Prefecture on Sunday pulled out a 50 cm saw and started swinging it around.

The two girls, 19-year-old Rina Kawaei and 18-year-old Anna Iriyama, were hospitalized. A staff member who attempted to protect the girls was also injured in the attack.

“I saw with my eyes, unblocked view, of my girls running out in panic, Kawaei on the floor screaming and crying, in blood. I might never forget this. Something is lost today, that bond between fans and these idols that you can meet, and it will never be the same again,” a fan wrote on her Instagram account @ energywen.

The motive behind the attack is unclear at this time.

-Samantha Davis

 

Til Death: Couple’s Suicide Attempt May Be More Than Just a Morbid Romance

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The gorgeous scene you see above is none other than the George Washington Bridge, a double-decked suspension bridge that connects Manhattan in NYC to Fort Lee, New Jersey.

According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 15 people jumped to their deaths from the bridge in 2013. It stands at about 212 feet above the river at mid-span. During this time, 49 successful interventions took place in which potential jumpers were stopped by police or passers-by.

Unfortunately, yet another jump has occurred. In what could be considered a morbidly romantic suicide attempt, a couple jumped to their deaths off the George Washington Bridge at 11:20 AM on Monday morning, according to local police.

The two floated about 1,000 feet down the Hudson River before fire and police responders were able to pull them out around 12:09 PM. They were rushed to St Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center. It was there that 40-year-old Nicki Hunt and her 41-year-old boyfriend, Gary Crockett, passed away one minute apart from each other.

Such a strange occurrence left many wondering why they did it. In a morbid way, it was a bit romantic, ending their lives together at the same time. But without further details, it was really difficult to pinpoint their reasons for the jump.

Wednesday brought new details to light; according to authorities, the couple might have committed a homicide before the leap.

Police were drawn to the village of Suffern, New York on Monday (which is about 35 miles northwest of the bridge) after a man called saying that he had found his uncle dead. According to the medical examiner, the man had been murdered by asphyxiation.

The victim was identified as 70-year-old William Valentini, who was living at the residence with his niece, Nicki, and her boyfriend, Gary.

The couple had apparently taken money from Valentini’s bank account without his authorization, police said.

Officers found a note at the scene which they interpreted to mean that the couple may have left the house wanting to harm themselves. Valentini’s vehicle was also missing and the key was later found on Hunt.

Police stated that both Hunt and Crockett had prior criminal records. While Hunt had faced grand larceny and forgery accusations, Crockett had been charged with possession of narcotics.

A Suffern police statement was released, saying, “The investigation is continuing but at this time we believe that Hunt and Crockett are responsible for the death of William Valenti.”