When you think of a closet, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Skeletons in your closet?
The monster hiding in your closet?
Coming out of the closet?
Skeletons and monsters coming out of your closet?
Or maybe just a place to throw everything when your mom tells you to clean your room?
For me, I guess, it’s a little of all of the above, and then some.
Like a lot of other kids the world over, I went through a phase of being afraid of the closet. I couldn’t get to sleep at night if the closet doors weren’t shut tight. Everyone knows that if the closet door is even a little bit ajar, some supernatural being can slither out and “get me,” whether it’s a ghost, an alien, Bigfoot, or even Ramona Quimby’s boneless gorilla.
My kids, thankfully, don’t seem to suffer from that fear, but oddly enough, when I go in to say goodnight to them, if I notice their closet door is ajar, I make it a point to shut it tight before turning their light off.
When I was a teenager, after my brother went off to college, I moved into his room. It was bigger and had a bigger closet. Most people will likely think, “Oh, of course a girl wants a bigger closet for all her clothes and shoes.” Well, that was partly true, but my brother’s closet was even better because it was big enough for me to clear a space on the floor inside and sit there and read, write, or just be alone with my thoughts. My parents thought I was weird, but they allowed me this little space, as long as I didn’t shut the doors (They were worried, I think, that I’d somehow suffocate in there).
I know that “coming out of the closet” is a term usually attributed to someone claiming their homosexuality, but I have used the term occasionally when I feel that I am revealing some part of myself that I have deliberately kept hidden out of fear of being ridiculed or rejected. One of my biggest “out of the closet” confessions has been my belief in the paranormal. For a long time, my husband and I attended a church that holds the belief that ghosts, in the generally-accepted sense, do not exist, that the spirits we experience are only the Holy Spirit, or angels and demons. Human spirits cannot and do not walk the earth for any reason. For the longest time, I tried to accept that belief, denying my own experiences and scoffing at those who believed in ghosts. At one point, I even taught a Bible study about why belief in the paranormal was silly and wrong. I just wanted to fit in.
Long story short, I busted myself out quite by accident on social media and got into a bit of a disagreement with someone at that church (That post is here). I suppose you could say that while others may have skeletons in their closets, I have ghosts in mine. We ended up leaving that church, and for a long time, I kept my beliefs to myself, not trusting anyone, fearing another backlash like I experienced at that other church.
Then I started writing. I wrote ghost stories, some based on my own experiences. Those stories turned into a novel, and then two novels. I published them, and now my books are out there for anyone to read, and I am out there for anyone to see. My author bio declares plainly and publicly that I believe in ghosts and I have seen ghosts. I feel as though I have stepped out of the closet. Some days I feel quite brave in declaring who I am, and other days I just want to crawl back in the closet and hide again. It’s an ongoing process.
So, what’s in your closet? Feel free to share below in the comments.