Memories of the dark

Hi friends!

Do you remember being a little kid, scared of the dark? I was thinking about times as a child when I would be suddenly afraid of the dark.

As we’re right around the corner from Halloween, I thought it fitting to begin this post with “It was a dark and stormy night” ooOOoOOooo how classically spooky of me, right? So here are some of the memories that have been dancing around in this head of mine.

It was a dark and stormy night… I was around six years old. I sat cross-legged on the floor with my younger brother. The storm outside raged, rain pelting against the windows relentlessly.

A particularly beastly clap of thunder rattled our entire house. Its effects ripped through the air, destroying the neighborhood power lines. The friendly lights in our home instantly died.

Is there anything more terrifying to a child? One second I was playing contentedly with my brother, and the next second I was in fear. Although deep down I knew that I was safe at home, I recall feeling a sudden rush of panic, and being almost certain that a something scary was about to clamp its hand on my shoulder.

Darkness can be frightening because it makes us feel disengaged, disoriented, and perhaps worst of all, calls attention to our unawareness of what may be right in front of us. It’s like the scene in the movies when an isolated – and eerily backlit – character is stumbling around in darkness only to discover (usually with the help of strategic flashes of lightening) that whatever they are afraid of is inches from their face.

But you know what? As I got a little older, I was pleased to discover that darkness had a non-scary and actually USEFUL side. Not as exciting as the spooky stuff, but I still found it super interesting!

One of the more fascinating roles that darkness plays is in our health and general well-being. Regular intervals of darkness (ie: natural night and day) fosters a healthy balance of hormones like melatonin which improve sleep quality… and it is mostly during sleep that the body repairs and restores itself. Exposure to too much darkness during the day or too little of it at night can disrupt the body’s normal melatonin levels and sleep cycle, which in turn disrupts our health and sense of well-being.

However, darkness can be frustrating, especially when it comes unexpectedly. In Kenya, where I grew up, we often had electricity blackouts. This can be irritating and is certainly not ideal. But as it happened quite often, we grew accustomed to it. My siblings and I even managed to have fun during these blackouts.

Although our family owned a generator for such times as these, generator fuel is expensive and we tried to conserve it for emergencies. Thus, to pass the time in darkness, my brothers and sisters would sometimes play games by candlelight.

The blackouts became opportunities for childhood creativity.

My sister and I created whole fashion shows, starring us (of course) as the runway models. Our runway was the corridor in our home. We sometimes had an audience (our other siblings haha).


Once, during a power outage, a couple of us choreographed an entire dance to the Spice Girls’s song  “Wannabe” complete with lip-syncing, costumes, and props. It was pretty awesome.

Another time, during a different power outage, my brother, inspired by Gambit, recruited the rest of us to play a new game which involved the art of throwing playing cards with great accuracy at opponents. It got pretty intense.

Yet of all these times in the dark, there was only ONE time that I was immersed in a special kind of darkness… it was so inky that I could not see past my own eyelids.

Have you ever experienced a darkness so dark that you feel like it is a physical mass enveloping you?

I remember that it took a while for my eyes to grow accustomed to it. And even then, I could barely make out objects.

Friends, I encountered this impermeable darkness on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The landscape, though vast, was cloaked in a thick coat of darkness (see more on my summit here). I remember that after peering about for some time, I started to truly realize the absolute magnitude of the night sky. This is something I would never have been aware of, had I myself not been dipped in darkness.

Up on the mountain, the combination of altitude, lack of artificial light, the impossibility of clouds far below us, and all the upturned eyes brought about the realization of the ridiculous smallness of my world.

I was suddenly aware that here I was… just a tiny, insignificant person… standing on this slightly less tiny (but still quite insignificant) mountain… daring to look into the unbelievable enormity of the UNIVERSE.

I have never experienced the beauty of the stars so profoundly as on that night.

It caused me to realize that despite the unsettled feeling that darkness sometimes leaves us, there is no doubt in my mind that darkness can have a true purpose and meaning.

After all, darkness has clear roles in the promotion of health, as well as in the provision of opportunities for creativity.

Thus I have now what I did not have as a child, sitting cross-legged on the floor, terrified by thunder on that dark and stormy night.

I have an appreciation for the dark.

And with that, I bid you all a very Happy Halloween! I hope you have an incredibly fun and safe time!

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Check out my other posts!

Have you ever been afraid of the dark? What are your plans for Halloween? Dressing up as anything?


97 thoughts on “Memories of the dark

  1. I feel like all little kids are scared of the dark because you don’t know what’s there but now I love it! It’s normal to find me sitting by a fire watching tv or a having a candle lit instead of a fire. Granted the tv doesn’t make it completely dark but it’s still fun and relaxing. My plan for Halloween is a little lame for the day of, just work then hanging out at my apartment. I’m debating if I have to buy candy since there are some kids in our apartment complex. No idea what to do about potential trick or treaters!

    1. It’s so true, it can be so relaxing to sit in the dark by a fire or candle. Your plan for Halloween is exactly the same as mine haha… we both work then will hang out at home. We are debating getting candy too. Maybe we’ll grab a bag in case any kids show up. I hope you have an awesome day!

      1. That’s what I’m thinking I’ll do too. I just don’t want to be stuck with a big bag of candy because I know I’ll eat way to much of it. Thanks, Dawn! Enjoy your day :)

      2. Haha me too! I feel like every year i eat all the leftover candy, and tell myself I’m fueling for my run haha! I hope your day is off to a nice start Maureen!

  2. I love the dark, my little cabin is on 20 acres so there is no street lights, not vehicles etc. It is perfectly dark and silent! I love it!

    1. That sounds so serene! It must be incredibly peaceful there. Thanks for talking the time to read, I appreciate it! I hope your week is off to a great start!

  3. I’ll be honest, I still get scared of the dark sometimes even as an adult! I was terrified of it as a child. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I’ll still sprint to the nearest light switch if I have to get up in the middle of the night. ;)

    1. I hear you Rachael! I prefer not to run in the dark by myself, and would opt for a treadmill in the gym any day over that! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read, I hope you have an amazing day!

  4. I’m still scared of the year. I think part of it comes from me being visually impaired and darkness renders me almost blind. With that said, I do remember being a kid and having fun times with my cousins in the dark when we would lose power during a hurricane. Power loss and being surrounded by loved ones sure does make you get creative when trying to pass time.

    1. I agree! Having loved ones around you can take the “scary” out of the dark. Thanks for stopping by Aitza, I appreciate your taking the time to read and respond! I hope you have an amazing day!

  5. Loved the blog. But honestly – that is the best photo I have seen in a long time. It just makes you want to smile. The kids are adorable.

    1. Aw thank you Brad! Those are my siblings, nieces, and nephews! I appreciate your stopping by, I hope you have an amazing day!

  6. I grew up in a very poor neighborhood and the power was always going out. I remember those times with my brothers better than anything else. I have yet to experience any kid of blackout with my son, but when it comes I’ll be prepared. I have the skills from when I was little.

    1. That’s awesome Megan! Your son has a creative mommy and nothing to be worried about! Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you have a lovely day!

  7. I used to be afraid of the dark now I cannot for the life of me sleep if even a sliver of light is present in the room lol! Have a fun Halloween too!

    1. haha, i know what you mean! it’s so much easier to sleep when there is zero light in the room! thanks for stopping by Joline, I appreciate your taking the time to read! I hope you have an amazing day!

    1. Aw thank you Morgan! I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and read! I hope you have an amazing day!

    1. it’s so common for kids to be scared of the dark but most of them grow out of it at some point. Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate your taking the time to read and respond! I hope you have an amazing day!

  8. I was terrified of the dark as a kid… and if I’m being honest, I’m still not a fan now haha. When my partner is away I leave lights on during the night! Fun to read about your childhood memories!

    1. I know what you mean Cassie, when my husband is away, I feel like I dont sleep as well. I really appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to read! I hope you have an amazing day!

    1. You’re definitely not alone on that Ashley! Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I hope you have an awesome day!

  9. I remember one time as a child where I was playing Kula World on the PS1 with my little sister, it was winter and my parents were watching the news on the television. Suddenly everything just goes dark, since a thunderstorm was passing by the town and I as a kid was irritated the game just stopped went outside to see what was going on. A beautiful sight of lightning streaking across the skies, followed by the loud booming sound that thunder ussually makes.

    But for that moment when everything went dark before I moved, I can remember my sister being frightened by it but I was more relaxed. So there hasn’t really been a time when darkness were scary but more faschinating to me, especially when you look at it from a philophical or symbolical perspective.

    Loved the piece, was an enjoyable read on this cold night in the northern landscape.
    Stay Cozy and have a nice day!

    1. Aw, this is so awesome! I love that you made the most of the thunderstorm! It’s do true that darkness can be interesting, especially when we’re not preoccupied by fear of it! I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post! I loved reading your experiences too! I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and respond, I hope you have an amazing day!

      1. Well this was a very good read that I enjoyed over some coffee as the night was still young outside. I will look forward to reading more from you in the future :)

  10. The only times I have experienced complete darkness are when in caves. So dark that you can’t see your fingers in front of your face . . . even with your hand touching your nose. Just BLACK.

    It’s an incredible experience because your other senses start to kick into high gear ~ acute hearing, acute touch, acute smells, acute taste.

    Your candlelit fashion shows sound like FUN!

    1. That sounds incredible! I can’t imagine being in a cave that dark! I totally believe the other senses would kick in! Haha yes the fashion show by candlelight was so fun! We must have looked hilarious — I wish I could be a fly on the wall so I could watch it and laugh! Thanks for stopping by, I hope your day is amazing!

  11. Ah yes, I remember being afraid of the dark as a child. It’s funny how suddenly there are so many monsters lurking in every corner and as soon as the light comes on, they disappear!

    1. That’s so true, the light certainly does seem to send those monsters scurrying away lol! Thanks for stopping by Linda, I hope you have an amazing day!

  12. I’m OK in the dark in places like my bedroom, but otherwise I’m terrified. I think it goes along with fearing the unknown, whether it be something you physically or poetically go through. Nice post!

    1. True, fear of the unknown is probably a big part of fearing the dark. I’m fine in my dark room too, but I can totally see that other places would be scary in the dark! Thanks Nicole, I hope you have an amazing day!

  13. Definitely the same…I remember being afraid of the dark as a kid. It’s funny how suddenly there are so many monsters but instantly disappear with the lights lol

    1. I totally agree! I don’t mind the dark now as an adult, thankfully. I appreciate your stopping by, I hope your day is amazing!

  14. I’ve actually always been fine with the dark and its only with the darkness that you can see the beauty of the sky at night (as you experienced for yourself).

    1. Very true! The stars never looked so spectacular! Thanks for stopping by Helen, I appreciate your taking the time to read. I hope you have a lovely day!

  15. Darkness is definitely often used by adults to scare the little kids, which is a little sad because it can also be so beautiful. I think it’s one of the best ways to appreciate nature, especially when you’re watching the stars at night without any lights from the city to compete with.

    1. I agree, darkness can be lovely, especially in the appreciation of nature and the night sky. Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you have an amazing day!

  16. Nice post reading about your childhood. The dark still gives me a creepy feeling at times..and I may still run to my bed and jump in when I turn off the lights! :-)

  17. This is such an eye-opener post. I am still scared in the dark but not to much, not the same as before.

    1. It’s funny how that fear is so much more intense as a kid! Thanks for stopping by Candy, I hope you have an amazing day!

    1. Me too! I don’t do well with scary movies in general. Thanks for stopping by Gillie, I hope you have a wonderful day!

  18. As an adult, I still can’t watch any remotely (literally at all, in any even tiny little way) scary tv show or movie! I have outdoor cameras all over our house. The struggle is real!! :) :)

    1. I don’t love scary movies/shows either, Marie! I appreciate your dropping by, thanks for taking the time to read! I hope your day is amazing!

    1. Thank you Jessica, for taking the time to stop by! I appreciate your checking out my blog! I hope you have an amazing day!

  19. So cool that you went to Kilimanjaro! I remember fearing the dark when I was younger, especially when there were thunderstorms. It sounded like the world was going to attack me at any moment!

    1. Haha, I know what you mean! Little kids have such imaginations! Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I hope you have a wonderful day!

  20. You certainly covered many of the common childhood fears and occasions to be scared of/in the dark. Not celebrating Halloween, but I can relate to the power outage problem, as it happens far too often here in rural Maine during high wind storms and winter storms. We have a lot of candles, but also much safer battery-operated lanterns and large flashlights. One December a few years ago, we had a blizzard and lost power for a week before and during Christmas. That was especially frustrating, but one thing that happened was my hubby and I worked together on hand tying a quilt by lantern light!

    1. No electricity for Christmas does not sound fun, but big-time kudos to you and your husband for your teamwork on the quilt! I’m sure that’s a Christmas you’ll never forget! I appreciate your stopping by, I hope you have a wonderful day!

  21. Never really been afraid of the dark as a kid but I got super scared if the dark this summer. I was riding a bike on a trip in Greece and as my flight got delayed I had to cycle late at night to my hotel (I was too tired and dumb to actually this of taking a taxi or something). There wasn’t any light around at all (and not intended) and my front light broke. I was riding in the complete dark I could see almost nothing through… and then I heard dogs barking. It turned out just fine if not counting on me skipping a day of cycling all in all.

    1. That sounds like it would be unsettling! I feel like barking sounds scarier at night when you’re alone and don’t know if the dog is friendly or not! I’m glad everything turned out fine. Thanks Lyosha for stopping by and taking the time to read. I hope you have an amazing day!

    1. Candles and fairy lights make for a very cozy combination! Thanks for stopping by Sian, I appreciate your taking the time to read! I hope you have a lovely day!

    1. It can be disconcerting to be in complete ad utter darkness! Thanks for stopping by Cynthia, I hope you have a wonderful day!

  22. I have a very different relationship with darkness. After watching a horror movie, I can’t stay in dark but if I am going to a romantic candle light dinner, I love darkness. :)

    1. That’s so true, horror movies make the dark a little scarier than a lovely candlelit dinner! Thanks Mayuri, I appreciate your taking the time to read and respond. I hope you have an amazing day!

  23. I guess you can say I fear the “dark”. Being claustrophobic does this. That feeling of not seeing what is around you sends me into a panic. Much respect to the visually disable. I am therefore grateful for my senses all being intact.

    1. I can see how total dark could trigger claustrophobia. I imagine it’s not a very comfortable feeling. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond, Sandra! I hope your day is amazing!

  24. My kids are scared of the dark but love a good scary story! We’ve been telling scary stories each night before bed because its so close to Halloween!

    1. Lol my sister loves scary stories too, always has! Thanks Sam, for stopping by, I appreciate it! I hope you have a lovely day!

  25. As a kid, I was afraid of the dark. So I slept with my blankets over my head. It just became habit. To this day, I still sleep like that.

    1. That makes total sense! Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Nina, I hope your day is off to a nice start!

  26. Im going to be honest, Im still afraid of the dark. I don’t trust it. If I come home and all the lights are off and its completely dark I feel like I have to search every room and make sure no one got in and is hiding. I don’t know why Im so afraid and I feel like I shouldn’t be. Very interesting post!

  27. Wow, very insightful post! I have a love and hate relationship with the dark. I am like a bat so I need my bedroom to be pitch dark at nights. However, because I have such a creative and vivid imagination the darkness can really get me spooked out and where I am saying silent prayers in my head!

    1. I used to have blackout curtains in the bedroom back in our old apartment – it was nice to have pitch black for sleeping! I appreciate your taking the time to stop by, Debbie, I hope you have a lovely day!

    1. Me too! There’s nothing like pondering the scale of the universe to really make all our issues seem incredibly insignificant. Thanks for stopping by Jennifer, I appreciate your taking the time to read! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  28. I love the dark as well. As a child, I never really was too scared of it either. For me, there is comfort and contentment that comes with darkness. I feel like I can truly relax without distractions.

    1. I can see how it would be soothing and relaxing! It’s sometimes nice to be in a dark, quiet room. Thanks for dropping by, Amber, I hope you have a lovely day!

  29. Whilst I was never a child who couldn’t sleep without a light on, I do remember being a little scared sometimes. I guess night time is usually when ‘scary’ things happen, but totally agree with you in that we need darkness just as much as we need light. Plus, as children I think it’s important to have times that we create our own entertainment without replying on power.

    1. That’s so true, removing external stimuli can sometimes help little minds to develop creativity and imagination! Thanks for stopping by, I hope your day is amazing!

  30. How fun! I love that you took a blackout as an opportunity to have fun. Perfect song to choreograph. haha.

    1. Haha! I was (and still am) fully on board with that song choice! Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening!

  31. Darkness can become positive in a way in a personal level. Meaning if going through something that may feel like a dark cloud over your head but eventually the cloud has to move and light will start shining. But when I think of darkness I think of scary things. It’s pretty cool you turn out a blackout into a fun and positive outcome.

    1. Aw that’s such a good way to look at it. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and respond. I hope you have a lovely day!

  32. Briefly growing up I was afraid of the darkness and a raging storm but I quickly got over it because where I live we have those a lot. Now I find it therapeutic hearing a rain storm because it bringing nutriment to the earth and darkness give me time to myself. A place for my head.

    1. That’s such a great perspective to have! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read, Lucicoo, I hope you have an amazing weekend!

  33. I used to be so scared of the dark as a kid too but as I got older I got over it. I was born in Colombia and lived there until I was 9 and we used to get random blackouts too. Maybe that’s why I started to get over it. I got used to it lol

    1. I can see how that would get you used to the dark! I appreciate your stopping by, thanks for taking the time to read! I hope you have an amazing weekend!

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