“If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.” – Gospel of Thomas
“…To a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.” – East of Eden, John Steinbeck
“There’s a monster in your chest…It’s a really nasty one. And in a few hours it’s gonna burst through your ribcage, and you’re gonna die. Any questions?” – Ripley, Alien Resurrection
It’s in there, lurking in the depths you hate to explore. It hungers, it wants, it needs.
You are its Creator, its Parent, its God. You brought it into existence, yet you’ve bound it in chains, gagged it with your will, and stuffed into a closet. It calls out for food, for sustenance, yet you stuff earplugs into your ears so you don’t hear it. You feel guilty when it cries, but not enough to feed it because you’re certain it will wreak some sort of horrible havoc on the world. And, it could, if you refuse to acknowledge its presence and work with it in such a way that its needs are reasonably met. It is important that we not only understand our monsters but embrace and accept them. They are us, after all.
I started examining my own monsters in response to a section of Raven Kaldera‘s book Dark Moon Rising. It’s just five pages under the heading “Shadow Play and Monster Work” but, when I read them, I was overwhelmed with the need to face what lurked within. I tried to ignore the urge for about a week before giving in, rolling up my sleeves, and getting to work.
I started off categorizing my monsters. Some were whiny, some were raging, some were sneaky and manipulative. I thought about what each category might need from me – the whiny ones needed attention, the sneaky and manipulative ones needed ways in which they could control a situation to my benefit. The raging ones…well, in most cases, they needed victims. I wrote down their possible needs and what I was willing to do for them, and started by tackling the first and (in hindsight) easiest whiny monster.
I am now a fan of my monsters because I believe they fill in the pieces my public persona is missing. In my work with them, I’ve pulled each one into the light of day and examined it. Some I’ve hugged and accepted into my daily life, some I’ve fucked and accepted…with chains attached and in certain circumstances, and some I’ve patted on the head, fed lightly, and put back into the closet until I’m ready to address them more fully.
There’s a method to my seeming madness – each monster has to be handled on its own level and in its own way. For example, Perfect Narcissist is perfectly happy to come out in situations when she’s needed – I rely on her a lot in my job as a corporate trainer, actually. However, Raging Sadist couldn’t care less about my job. She wants to hurt someone and be thorough about it. I have to offer her things she’ll appreciate in order to get her to work with me rather than against me BUT I have to take into account how much harm I can actually allow her to do. Inmost situations, I keep Raging Sadist on a short leash while still allowing her enough slack to meet her needs.
So, the next time you look in the mirror, check behind your eyes. Look closely and recognize yourself for who you are, monsters and all. Then, get to work. It makes all the difference.