Monsters. Perspective. Validation.

Jealousy is not the green eyed monster. There is no such thing as monsters. Have you ever wondered how many times as a child we were told this? Or if you are a parent, how many times you have told your child this? How many times is this question answered with irritation and frustration? A lot more than we realize. We spend the better part of 20 years being told that there is no such thing as monsters. But as adults, we are still scared of them. Why? 

We are the monsters. I am either my own monster, someone else’s monster or most likely, both. Let that sink in for a minute. 

The fear that comes from being aware of our environment yet not understanding it. Not comprehending what we have been told, taught, shown, seen or have endured. Unless you grew up in the Mr. Rogers neighborhood, I am sure that you have childhood memories that you are not fond of. As you have grown, do the reminders of them still trigger a negative feeling inside you? Does the hair on your arm stand on edge? Does your stomach burn with anger? Do you feel tears fill your eyes? Do you become silent and withdraw? Yes. I do. 

To change our perception of monsters when we are young, an adult must play the role of a parent to change our perspective. Questions must be asked and answered. Once, sometimes a thousand times. Our fears all have underlying emotions that must have validation. As long as the question remains unanswered, the fear will remain. The monster will remain. What happens when children grow up without those people? What happens when children are too afraid to ask questions? What happens when the answers are scarier than the questions? That is a reality all to often overlooked because it is ugly. It is turn around, hope like hell no one saw you and run as fast as you can in the other direction, ugly. 

I was the ugly. I am the ugly. I almost erased the word “was” but I chose not to because I want to be real. Authentic. Transparent. See the mistakes, see the mess. Because I don’t want people that can’t be okay with the mess. I never asked the questions because there was no one to ask them to. The times when there was, they couldn’t have answered if that was the only thing asked of them for the remainder of their life.

My nightmare.

I am an innocent, tiny, three year old little girl in her pajamas dragging a small blanket following my mother. It’s dark outside and I can’t see where we are going. All I can see is her hair in the moonlight and I think it’s beautiful. She is beautiful. She is everything. She did not say where we were going but I am getting very sleepy. After all, I am just a baby girl. Finally, I just lay down for a while. The moon is magnificent and I drift off to sleep in minutes. When I wake up, I am in five or six lanes of traffic going each way. I can’t understand, where did she go? Where am I? Why am I alone? The cars driving by are going so fast that my hair won’t stay out of my eyes so I can look for her. I am scared. Finally, I get a glimpse of her walking down the road but she is very far away from me. I try to scream out for her but she can’t hear me. My face is red and there are spots all around my eyes from screaming. The lines going down my face from tears resemble the road I am on and streaks are the only clean spots on my dirty face. I stop screaming, the tears stop flowing and I watched her walk into her own dark, stormy cloud. Her cloud was full of hands that gripped her with a force only a monster could have.

By age 18, half of me was full of hysterical fears and the other was filled with unimaginable nightmares about things that would never be a reality in my adult life. It took almost fifteen years for me to believe that. I am still a work in progress. I also prefer the dark.

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