Molly

“Mom, where’s Molly?” I asked. Molly was my favorite stuffed bear. My parents made her for me at Build-a-Bear when I was only one.

“I just got her out of the dryer,” she said, “Here she is! All clean.”

“Thank goodness, night mommy. Love you.”

“Love you too, Char,” she said, while she closed my door, leaving a crack so the hallway light could seep in; her version of a nightlight.

She thought that if I had a real night light, I’d be up all night reading. I kept telling her that I needed one to scare off the monsters, but she didn’t believe me. All she said was, “You’re nine-years-old now Charlotte, I know your tricks. You’re not getting a night light so you can read all night.” Little did she know, I wasn’t lying. I did need one.

See, things often weren’t what the seemed in my house, but I was the only one who noticed. I’d wake up screaming for my parents nearly every night, just to have them check my shelves and find nothing.

“No! There’s something over there I know it!” I would tell them, in a pit of frustration.

“There’s nothing over here, honey. You’ve got to stop doing this every other night, just go to bed,” my dad would say while shuffling me back into my loft bed.

After he left, I barricaded myself with every stuffed animal I could find. Making my bed a safe space filled with a variant of critters surrounding me while I slept, but the only way I could, was if I got as far away from my shelf as possible. So, I scooted into a corner, shuffled everything around, curled myself into a ball, found Molly, and managed to squeeze in whatever sleep my brain would allow.

Now, you might think I was being ridiculous, but there was just something about that area of my room that made me uneasy. My loft bed was sitting just a foot away from my ceiling, so I could see everything in my room; including that shelf. The shelf. It was a little 1×4 shelf that my mom hung up in my room to hold all of those items off of the floor, made out of nothing but a piece of wood held up with four pieces of really strong rope.

Yet, every night it sounded like something was falling, but I’d wake to nothing on the ground. I’d wake to crashes, bangs, and thuds that seemed like they were only a foot away from my pillow. I kept telling my parents all about the noises, but they never believed me, and they never would. It got to a point where we had to take the shelf down altogether after a while because they were tired of my paranoia. So, they set the American Girl dolls safely in their boxes, along with all of the ceramics and little trinkets I’ve collected over my eight years of life.

There was no way those noises would come now, I thought while I was brushing my teeth, hoping I would get more sleep than I have been.

I finally settled my head down on my pillow, my stuffed animals back where they belonged, squeezed Molly, and everything felt lighter. It wasn’t long before I drifted off to sleep and let my dreams take ahold of my subconscious.

“CHARLOTTE, WAKE UP AND GET OUT OF THIS ROOM,” my mom screamed and shook my bed, and suddenly I felt hot.

“Mom, what is it?” I asked her, still groggy, but she left the room before I got the whole question out. What time is it? I thought to myself. The sun was just starting to seep in through my windows. It had to be early, but what was going on.

After I finally got up, it wasn’t long before I saw what freaked out my mom so much. The shelf was back up. With everything in it’s place.

This had to be a joke. I thought to myself. A sick joke, but who would’ve put it up while I was asleep? Dad’s in the field, I don’t have siblings, and my mom always slept through the night… I kept staring at the shelf dumbfounded. I still couldn’t believe it.

“Mom! Who did this??” I yelled for her.

“It doesn’t matter Char. Just get out of there, I’ll deal with it later!” She yelled back.

I kept staring at the shelf, at the dolls, and all of the trinkets, and suddenly, a wave of panic ran through me. I knew what was making the noises.

The realization flooded through me as I saw what it was. What put the shelf back up. It wasn’t my mom; it wasn’t my dad; it was the dolls. Their expressions weren’t smiling anymore, and they weren’t alone.

I kept eye contact with them while their faces changed. Their brows became furrowed, and their smiles turned to something I’ve never seen before. They weren’t American Girl dolls anymore; they were monsters.

Similar faces came between the two I had on my shelf, they bared their sharp teeth, and looked almost real. I could still see the pink wall behind them, but they appeared as solid as the dolls. I couldn’t help but watch them uncover. My body felt paralyzed while they came out of hiding. I tried to scream for my mom again, but my mouth wouldn’t move. Stricken with fear, I started to look around the room at my other shelves. Hoping there wouldn’t be anymore, but I was mistaken.

There were around fifty faces staring back at me with their angry, terrifying expressions, and they were scattered all around my room. It wasn’t long before I saw them everywhere; I was surrounded, and the only safe place was in my bed.

I scooted back into my corner as quickly as my body would let me and closed my eyes tightly. In my cocoon, I started to say the “Now I Lay Me” prayer to myself until the I could feel the individual hairs stand on my neck. Something was breathing on me in long, hot breaths. Slowly, I turned around, and Molly was tucked between the bed and the wall. Her face was the same as all the others.

It wasn’t long before I started to scramble out of my bed. I turned to put my foot on the ladder so I could get down, but my foot didn’t touch anything. The ladder wasn’t there anymore. It was just gone, and my bed was too tall to jump off of, so I tried climbing over the side. After a slow descent, I felt my toes touch the cold tile, and started to run towards the door. There were faces everywhere I looked, and the door wasn’t getting any closer. The small hallway that led to it kept expanding, I would never reach it. I was trapped in my own room.

Soon, the floor began to darken. The tiles were hot beneath my feet, and when I stepped, they disappeared. The floor was falling, and I was going to fall with it. I could feel my body tense up as I tried to figure out how to get out of this. I had two windows, but they were surrounded. The only other places to go were the closet, or back in my bed where the height would give me more time to think. Despite Molly, I chose my bed. I hugged the side while I climbed up the wooden posts, but when I got to ledge, my bed was covered in even more faces.

I held on tightly to the post while I watched them move closer and closer. They reached my hands and I tightened my grip. Their hands started to pry each finger off slowly, I cried and begged for them to stop, “Molly, please. Don’t let them do this. I’m going to fall!” But she didn’t care. Instead her face twisted into something even darker while she joined in. Molly wasn’t in there anymore, she was my sole protector my entire life, and she wasn’t in there.

It wasn’t long before the only thing that was holding me to the post was my arms. I refused to move them, but the creatures were persistent. I kept latching my fingers back onto the wood, but they pried them off again to a point that there were splinters underneath my nails. I won’t let them drop me. I won’t let them drop me, but they got smarter.

The creatures across from us started to pass my pink duct tape around the room and while they pried each finger, they taped it to the previously pried one’s joints. Leaving me with the inability to grasp. I felt myself start to give up. This wasn’t worth it. There’s no way I’m going to get out of this, and soon they were crawling all over me. I could feel their sharp nails penetrating my back, leaving bloody trails wherever they went.

My eyes started to water and I let out a piercing scream while they shoved my arms off of the post and tape them to my torso. I’ve become their prisoner, they were going to shove me off into the dark pit below me, and I was going to let them. As soon as they were content with their tape job, they let me go, and my body jolted itself awake.

“Charlotte, are you okay? I heard screaming,” my mom said. “What’s going on?” Immediately I started crying, I couldn’t believe I was hearing her voice, it was all just a nightmare. I was just having a nightmare. My pillowcase was soaking wet with tears and snot, and my sheets felt damp. I was sweating more than usual.

Quickly, I climbed out of my bed and hugged my mom. The floor was intact, the ladder was where it was, and the shelf was still gone. No more creepy faces.

“Honey, what happened?” my mom kept asking, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. “Did you have another nightmare again? I can schedule another appointment with Dr. Landcaster if you need. Would you like that?”

Dr. Landcaster was one of my therapists, except he was allowed to prescribe me with medication that would help my nightmares and daydreaming. Dr. Haslett was my other one, but he only let me play board games in his office while we talked about things. I liked him more, but I couldn’t have that dream again. “Sure mommy, thanks for taking the shelf down again. I didn’t like the dolls.”

“Char, what shelf? You’ve had your pink bookcase up for a while, why would we take it down?” she asked, puzzled.

NO, this can’t be right. “Never mind momma, it must’ve just been a dream,” I said while I hugged her tighter while fresh tears started to fall down my cheeks.

“Okay, well if you’re okay then get dressed. We’re visiting your dad at work today,” she told me, I loved visiting him. He always let me color on all of the old documents and sit in the big trucks.

“Alriiiiight. I’ll be ready in a minute,” I told her, knowing she already laid my clothes out for me. In a rush of excitement, I started getting dressed, but then I felt it. The hot air on my neck was back, and I slowly turned around. Molly was on my bookshelf, breathing hot, hot air on me, and suddenly, I screamed.

Disclaimer: This is loosely based off of things I used to see in the dark as a kid. It wasn’t as extreme, but the faces were just as creepy.

The Year(s) of Growth

While I write this with medical tape around my cuticles, Cinnabon coffee in my Leo mug from Target, and Kenny Loggins on the Crosley turntable, it dawned on me. I have all of these goals. These ambitions. These whatyoucall, “resolutions” for this year alone. Yet, when are you supposed to start them? The resolutions you’ve set for 2018, when do those begin to form? How do you start to grow and get the motivation just on the first of January? Download all of the habit-breaking/building apps on your phone that you want — but here’s the thing — they don’t help, or at least not for me anyway. So you might as well should save the space.

It’s January 2nd, 2018, and this year is about growth.

Growth could mean anything to the human body or mind. Growth could mean leaving all of your negative friends behind or cutting carbs. Growth could mean learning to love yourself with all of your mental health issues. Growth could also mean setting personal goals that were achievable like: finish a book this week, go to bed early, listen to some new music. Take it day by day.

For me, the hardest habit to build is self-love. In my anthology on breaking The Cycle of Self-Hatred, I interviewed several people on how their cycles would start and how they’ve overcome it, or why they haven’t. Originally, the anthology was written for my ideology class as a final grade. So here’s what my professor wrote in the notes:

Brilliant. You have a real gift for psychology and for writing. Thanks for a genuinely moving, insightful, original paper to read!

Happy Holidays, 

Barbara Goodrich

I received a 100 on this paper in a class I didn’t care for. I took a risk, I made the prompt my own, and I just dove into my writing. School starts in fourteen days and it has just dawned on me that maybe I am good at this. Maybe all of the people who have told me I have a real “knack for writing” were right. It’s amazing how a few comments from my peers and teachers couldn’t push me until now. Until now, I’ve only just appreciated all of the support, but I haven’t put any of it to use. I’ve been filled with self-doubt ever since I started comparing myself to others.

This year, one of my “resolutions” is to stop comparing. Which is going to be really difficult but it’s still attainable.


Along with self-doubt, I also experience body dysmorphia and emotional detachment. For those of you who just got here, I wrote a blog about a symptom of my body dysmorphia and social anxiety called I Don’t Like To Talk About It. If you don’t have time to read it, it’s basically an excerpt of my life. It’s about this thing called dermatillomania, where you’re constantly scanning your body for flaws and picking at them. In my case, my flaws are my acne and the skin around my fingernails. What first starts out as popping the annoying zit on my cheek, eventually turns into a full-fledged scanning spree in the bathroom or wherever there’s good lighting. Fully aware of the consequences, I still continue to scan.

In public, however, it’s a different story. My hands and nails go to the back of my neck and they travel to my lower back, or my fingers continue to push down the skin around my nails whenever I’m nervous. It’s gross, I know. I don’t even like talking about it but it’s already put out there.

(Emotional detachment is a different story and I’m not really going to elaborate more on this topic until I know more about it. So until then, continue to keep up with me to find out more. In the process of continuing my blog,  I’m making myself more vulnerable in order to solve my personal problems like many of you do on social media. This is my output.)

It takes 21 days to break a habit. 

21 measly days doesn’t seem too hard if you think about it, but can you guess how many it takes to build a habit? 66. Yepp, it took approximately 66 days for those of you who have achieved your goals of getting back to the gym, eating better, making it a point to drink a bunch of water every day, or any other personal goals you’ve set. Just the idea that it only takes approximately 21 days to break them is so absurd.

Starting today. January 2nd, 2018. I am going to start keeping track of each day I participate in my bad habits and I am going to break them because I’m tired of the scars. (Hence the taped fingertips.)


Along with all of the above. I’m also a homebody. When I go out, I go out with someone. Almost never alone. The last time I went out alone was a few weeks ago when I was frustrated and needed to leave my house. Every time before that was to smaller stores and every time I spent more money than I planned to but I didn’t care. I made it out of the house. The extra items were personal rewards. This is yet another thing I need to work on.


Stevie Nicks is on now, and speaking of resolutions… with this last purchase from the antique mall, I now have a collection of 301 records (See: Collections) that are cataloged and organized. First by genre, then by artist.

Here’s the thing though, since I’ve cataloged them into my MusicBuddy app on my iPad last summer, I’ve only listened to about 30 of them. So far, just today, I’ve listened to about 8 or 10 more. In these next few months, I hope to make it a habit to listen to at least one every day or a couple each week. (Especially since a good chunk of change is going towards buying more soon.)

Along with listening to more music, I also need to cut more TV out of my life. I’m always watching TV. It’s on while I do my homework, read, write, draw, anything. It’s always on. This is yet another thing that needs to be worked on. Cut the TV, replace it with music. I’ve been listening to the same music since 2010 and I rarely falter. I need new things to listen to. New artists. New genres. New songs. I just need to expand. TV isn’t bad in small helpings, so I’m not going to say that I’m going to cut off TV altogether… especially since I have shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Gotham to watch at the edge of my seat.


Another personal accomplishment I’ve noticed that I want to continue developing is my GPA. When I first started Central Texas College during the fall season of 2014, I started from scratch and ended with a 2.3 GPA. I started with four classes and ended with three because I dropped one. (I’d elaborate more on why I dropped it, but frankly, it doesn’t matter.)

At the time I was three months out of high school. I had just turned 18 and a week before school started, I took on a full-time job while I was registered for a full course load. It was rough. Two of my classes were on campus, two of them were online. Thankfully, my boss understood that I had school and it came first before anything else so finding me on break with a book and my laptop was the norm for my coworkers. However, even though I had a great job (See: An Introduction to my Job) and a set work schedule with a set salary, I still couldn’t focus. It was a lot to put on someone with no work experience and not a lot of motivation for school.

While I was pushing myself to the limit, I noticed that a lot of my hobbies were put on the back burner in order to achieve better grades and work harder. I wasn’t myself and I stayed on a fixed schedule and ended up losing most of who I was. I didn’t draw anymore or read as much, and I rarely got to see my fiance. Because of all of that, I now make it a point to cut schoolwork off at certain points throughout the day to allow myself to focus on something else. Whether it’s to read a chapter out of a “personal” book (a book not for school), or if it’s to play a video game or actually pay attention to the show I have on for background noise. Even now as an online student,  I make sure to keep a “personal” book with me at all times.

Now I might’ve sailed through high school with A’s and B’s but that’s only because I didn’t apply myself where it should’ve counted. I only took the easy classes. My extracurriculars were art and band. I took four years of both and marching band was my physical education credit (which I ended up being damn good at, I just never had the right attitude). Considering all of my classes were easy, except a few AP classes (art and math), I finished high school with a 3.75 GPA. So, coming out of my first semester of college with a 2.3 GPA was rough. I might’ve sailed through due to easy classes, but I was still an overachiever.

After almost three years of CTC, I brought that 2.3 up to a 3.2 and got my degree in General Studies. It wasn’t until last Spring that I decided I wanted to major in English because English has been my favorite subject ever since I could remember (next to math). Well, the first Fall semester at the University of Colorado — Denver consisted of two English classes, Biological Anthropology, and an ideology class. Let’s just say I aced all four. I finished it out with a 3.7 GPA and I can only push it to go up from there. From here on out, that 3.7 is only going to improve.


As someone who doesn’t believe in setting resolutions, here’s a list of 10 personal goals I want to achieve in the long run.

  1.  Stop comparing
  2.  Break my bad habits
  3.  Leave the house more
  4.  Eat healthier
  5.  Listen to more music
  6.  Read more
  7.  Produce more art, whether it’s paint on a canvas or a new blog post — writing is an art too
  8.  Make it on to the deans’ list
  9.  Stop letting people take advantage
  10.  Ignore the insults

I’m not going to give myself a time limit because most of these are considered “life goals” rather than “try to achieve them in a year” goals. Also, I realize I didn’t discuss all of them. Right now, I don’t feel like going more in-depth on about my physical attributes and insecurities in this post. Maybe that will come later, who knows. Like I said, 2018 is going to be a year of growth but so is every year after that. So make sure to keep up with me throughout it all. Starting a new year means bringing on more blog posts and hopefully bringing in new followers.

Thank you all for your support, I only hope to grow my blog more with help from all of my you.

Danielle