When I was a small child I had an irrational fear of sleep monsters.
My first conscious recollection of experiencing this fear was when my parents bought my brother and I a new bunk bed...
Now this bed wasn’t your typical “one-up, one-down” type of bunk, but instead it had a split tier design that also housed a large set of drawers directly beneath the top bunk.
There was a part of me that was very excited about the arrival of the bunk bed.
Being the elder brother, I naturally assumed the role of sleeping on the top level. This elevated position augmented in my mind that I had arrived somewhere good. I must admit that it felt like some kind of graduation, that I really was becoming a fully-fledged little boy.
And so the first night in the bunk bed arrived. My parents tucked my brother and I in and wished us good night. They then turned off the lights and quietly closed the door behind them as they left the room.
As I lay there in the darkness, I noticed that a deep dark void had just appeared between my bedroom wall and the side of my bed.
My early feelings of elation quickly morphed into fear as my fertile child mind began to run wild. What existed in that dark space?
I quickly convinced myself that some kind of sleep monster had decided to take up residence in my room the very moment the lights had been switched off.
I was terrified. I wanted to scream out to my parents and get them to turn the lights back on. I somehow managed to bite my lip. The last thing I wanted to do was let my little brother know that I was afraid.
I squeezed my eyes closed, wrapped my teddy bear in a fierce embrace and silently hoped that sleep would overcome me before the monsters did.
Little did I know that this would be my first encounter with the ever-present human fear of the unknown.
I awoke this morning thinking of that little boy. My world has changed yet again and I find myself facing the unknown.
My wife Katrina and I have just completed an intense 18 month renovation project and we have just moved into our new home.
As I write this piece from my new creative studio contemplating my next unfolding, I have noticed that the sleep monsters have followed me to our new abode.
Over the years they have offered their constant companionship, particularly when I have contemplated something new. Only these days, I have learnt how to wrestle with them rather than wish them away.
I must admit that it feels like some kind of graduation…