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When I was younger, I used to fear the night. I always thought that in the darkness, there was no life but the ghosts in the fairy tales who would come alive, so I refused to go out after the sun had set. It was not until I joined the Youth Camp in my primary school that I began to realise the irrationality of my phobia.
It all happened when I was at the age of six. My parents sent me to a one-week Camp, hoping that I would become braver. In the programmes scheduled, we had to hike at night in the jungle every day. For me, it was really torturous. Just the prospect of walking in the jungle without being able to see the direction could send shivers down my spine. I cried for a solid half an hour just to stay in the tent, but unfortunately, in the camp, the watch leaders were not so easily convinced. I had no choice but to join in the hike.
The walk was terrifying. Everything was in the dark. I tried to walk on tiptoe so as not to wake the ghosts at night. I dared not turn on the torch light for fear of being easily spotted by the ghosts, so I just walked gingerly stepped by stepped and extended my arms forward to search for any obstacles along the way. After what seemed like centuries of walking, I suddenly found my hands touching something long and damp out of nowhere. Startled, I turned on the torch light, looked up and see a myriad of similar creature hanging from the towering trees. It was the same every where. It felt as if I was stuck in the midst of a maze and unable to escape. My head spun as the strange noise in the jungle filled my ears. Instinctively, I ran away. I tripped.
I came back to the tent with a few bruises on my forehead and tears filled my eyes. I forced my eyes to close, but the image of the terrifying creature hanging on the trees kept replaying in my head. Suddenly, I felt somebody patting on my back. It was the watch leader. She asked if I wanted to take a walk with her.
"Of course not", I snapped back, a little too early to be respectful.
But gently she replied "This time, I will hold the torch light. Trust me, everything is perfectly fine." I wanted to refuse, but there was sincerity ringing in her voice, such that I could not help following her.
After a long walk, the watch leader sat down on a tree buttress root and sat me down on her lap. Then she shone her torch light at the long creatures that I abhorred. I shuddered, but she forced me to look at them and told me that those were called vines, a type of vines and that they would do me no harm. Then she told me to close your eyes and listen. For once, I realised that I had been wrong. There was life at night after all. The sound of bullfrogs singing sounded like a strange orchestra. There was the sound of crickets too. "You are not alone here," the watch leader whispered. Those animals really came alive at night and sang to call out to their lovers. After a long time sitting there, I started to laugh at myself. How could anyone be afraid of the sound of love?
After that night, darkness no longer held a terror in me. My watch leader said that there was no such thing as supernatural; even ghosts, if they do exist, are as natural as living things. I am deeply thankful for the watch leader, who had taught me to confront with my fear of darkness. Indeed, there is nothing to fear, but fear itself; and the only way to overcome fear is to confront it.