One time, as a girl of maybe nine or ten, I lay half-asleep in bed, terrorizing myself with unanswerable questions, my heart racing, until finally I became so overtaken by fear that I got out of bed and started towards my parent’s room, which was across the hall from mine and my sister’s. But I didn’t like to wake up my parents for no good reason, because it annoyed them, so I paused in front of the full-length mirror that hung on my door, debating firstly, whether or not I was truly terrified enough to wake my mom, and secondly, how on earth would I explain my fears?

“Mom, I’m afraid of something that is nothing…”
As I considered this dilemma, I peered quivering into the dark mirror, and I saw… this thing coming towards me. Massive and round, empty and full, black as an abyss but with shots of light writhing inside, like they were trying to escape. The mass was coming at me, slowly rolling as it oozed terrible, sucking blackness. It was wild and hairy, liquid and undulating, shallow as a puddle and deep as infinity. It was forever and nothingness, and it was coming for me out of that mirror. It was going to roll over me and fold me into its darkness.
I ran into my mom’s room and shook her awake, begging her to turn on the lights, because that was the only thing that would make The Thing stop rolling towards me. I was screaming at her to please please PLEASE turn on the lights, but she just wouldn’t. She was in hysterics trying to figure out why I was so afraid, but she wouldn’t turn on the damn lights.
Finally I broke away from her and dashed to the light switch and turned them on myself, a fraction of a second before the blackness would have eaten me up.
“What’s in the sink?”My mom whimpered, her voice trembling with the “Please, God, no…” sound that only a mother can make. The sink? I was awake, then. All the time I thought I had been begging her to turn on the lights, I had been dreaming, and what I had really been saying was, “THE SINK. Something’s in the sink! Please don’t look in the sink!
My poor mother.
And now, twenty-five or so years later, I can still sometimes call to mind that image that horrified me as a little girl. If I let my mind wander into that realm of uncertainty, completely un-tethered, I can scare myself silly. I can still overwhelm myself with deep thoughts of forever and nothingness. Of course I’m more mature and better at controlling my thoughts now, so I can usually shut it off.
But I still wonder things like… When did time begin? What was before time? More time? Does space have an end? What if it doesn’t? But how can it not have an end? If there isan end, what’s on the other side? And what’s on the other side of the thing that’s on the other side of space? What if, when I die, I can’t see my loved ones? Will I still be able to feel love after I die, or will I become a sort of omniscient being made of nothing but the infinitesimal spark of energy that comprises my soul? Do I believe in God just so I can comfort myself when I ask these scary questions? Those people I know who regularly profess their faith, do they ever wonder about these sorts of things? Or do they truly believe with such automatic faith? Do their brains really not swim like mine? Don’t they ever converse with a friend about something trivial while underneath, their stomach flip-flops with thoughts of unknowable infinity? Do they ever read a book and question and scrutinize every phrase until they almost can’t stand to read it anymore? Do they pick apart all the flaws of a TV show until the premise has been completely undermined? (Why are there so many damn zombies in The Walking Dead? If they’re so hungry, the zombies would have eaten most of the people, not just bitten them and left them lying around to transform into zombies. It just doesn’t add up, y’all.)
Oh, and speaking of God, here’s me reading the Bible:
Since God is all-knowing and has a plan and knows what’s going to happen next, why was He angry at Adam and Eve for partaking in the forbidden fruit? Didn’t He know in advance that they would do that? And if He knew they would disobey, does that mean He set them up to fail? Did He design them knowing that there was a certainty that they would fail? Planning for them to fail? Or did he know there was a flaw inherent in their design, but put them to the test anyway, just to see… like, for fun? Is this, all of this, everything, an experiment in free will? And why did He let that stupid snake in the garden in the first place? And after Adam and Eve ate the fruit and hid in shame, why did he come looking for them? Shouldn’t he have already known where they were? I thought you couldn’t hide from God. Was he patronizing them by pretending to look for them? And why did they hide in the first place? Didn’t they know that God would know where they were? That they couldn’t hide? Were Adam and Eve idiots? And if they were, why would God create idiots?
And that’s just like, a teeny-weeny little part of Genesis. I can’t get two pages into the Bible without getting my panties in a wad. I do read the Bible, but that’s how I read it. Even I think I’m annoying sometimes…
God must be so irritated with me. He probably rubs his forehead and rolls his eyes in exasperation at me. Or more likely, he just smiles knowingly, because he’s seen this a billion times, and my internal ramblings are really nothing original at all.
I wonder if God dreams…
Oh and by the way, I still can’t look at mirrors in the dark.

Is there anything that keeps you up at night that you’d like to get off your chest?


  1. Karen flint

    I remember that. I was terrified to look in the sink! You were so scared. What a nightmare!!!

    • I remember afterward we talked and you said something like you were afraid you would find Kassie’s severed hand in there or something. Ugh!!! Awful! LOL

    • We were glad too… and at least it gave me a reason to laugh, once I woke up and mom was like “what’s in the sink?!?!” and I was like, “WTF are you talking about, mom??” I thought it was hilarious that I had been saying something altogether different from what I had thought I was saying!

    • Oh my goodness, that is a REAL reason to worry. Obviously my ‘deep thoughts’ are trivial compared to your real-life worries.

      Saying a prayer for your children…

  2. LOL the paragraph about the bible is hilarious…because that’s exactly how I am!! I feel like a fraud when I go to church because I literally have so many questions. Just have faith? But there’s so much to knowwww

  3. Well Kristen, I’ve figured out one new thing about you. You are an incredible horror writer. I was looking for lights to turn on, I was so scared. Incredibly vivid. Stephen King better watch out.

  4. That was some vivid writing!
    I’m with you on the faith issue. I am a recovering catholic and I can tell you, if you find comfort in religion don’t overthink it!

    • I try not to use religion only as a way to comfort. I also try not to allow myself to be bullied into it. Both of these are hard in my situation. But was does truly comfort me are the teachings of Jesus. When I read the Bible, I always go to the parts where He is speaking. Especially the Sermon on the Mount. What beautiful things to say… 🙂

  5. i’m happy reading about your questioning god and the bible and all that nonsense. I was brought up Roman Catholic, then became a Lutheran, and at age 16 I decided I wanted nothing to do with church and I’m now an atheist. Reflecting back, it’s real child abuse for parents/elders to indoctrinate their kids when they’re blank slates, when they’re so innocent and so full of questions. To just keep telling them “that’s the way it is” or “God works in mysterious ways” is criminal. The latter is equivalent to feigning sickness to get out of taking a test you don’t know the answers to. Just man up and say (without shame), “I don’t know.” Instead of make up preposterous answers about talking snakes and shit like that.

    I came across this quote the other day:

    “We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing and all-powerful God who creates faulty humans and then blames them for His own mistakes.” I thought that spoke perfectly to the questions you raised in this post.

    I’m glad you’re feeling “fraudish” and that you’re actually asking legitimate questions about your faith. Keep questioning, keep being skeptical! Liberation from God and religion is scary, especially when you’ve been reared since birth to lean exclusively on him, but at the end of the day you just gotta know two and two make four, not three.


    • Although I have questions, I am very much a believer. I tend to think many of the more unexplainable passages in the Bible are meant to be allegorical, though. As for creating “faulty” humans and then “blaming” them… I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as giving people the free will I make a choice between love/good and hate/evil. As for blame, God is said to be very forgiving. As for belief in general… I have seen enough death and had enough prayers answered or things tilt a certain way that felt like more than coincidence that there is no way I could arrive at the conclusion that God doesn’t exist. He is there, and if you are open to it, He will show Himself to you. I’m not preaching (at least, I’m trying not to) because I for sure am not qualified. But I know my own experiences, and I can talk about those. In spite of disagreeing with you, I have to say I feel it was very brave of you speak so freely of what you feel is your truth. Thank you so much for that!