I read this the other day and was saddened by its profound truth. As children, we are scared of what’s under the bed. As adults, we know better. We know it’s other people who commit the greatest transgressions.
As a child, I had fears not unlike many. I was exposed too early, perhaps, to Jason Voorhees and Freddie Krueger. They didn’t really haunt my dreams. I was enthralled by horror. I was drawn to Hitchcock movies and Stephen King novels. But as you know, humans more often than not were the culprits in these stories. It is too often that when unmasking the villain, we find just a person capable of the worst. How often were the monsters really monsters on Scooby Doo?
As much as we’d like to see the good in people, that seems to get harder and harder. We don’t live in a world anymore of unlocked doors and stopping to help someone out on the side of the road. We can’t trust so easily anymore. It’s just not prudent. Being compassionate can actually get you killed.
I try neither to see the good or bad that may be inherent in others. I try to see the truth, whatever that might be. Maybe it’s because I learned from the beginning that monsters weren’t under the bed or in my closet. They were right in front of me. They were people in my life that hurt me in ways that I’m still recovering from. I’m far from the only one who has found monsters among them.
Then I found myself with monsters within me. They were the voices of doubt, fear and disgust. The constant rumbles of not being good enough. The monsters kept me numb and dislocated from reality. These monsters mostly only did harm to myself. But I am not immune to being a terrible person. I’ve hurt others. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated. Hurt begets hurt way too often.
Expelling the monsters, whether internal or external, requires more work than most are willing to put in. It’s easier to let someone keep destroying us or to keep destroying ourselves. It’s beyond comprehension what people do to one another. I’m not just talking about the most egregious evils. It’s the things we say or don’t say. It’s when we leave and don’t return. It’s when we look into another’s eyes and say nothing but the truth.
And right now there are many monsters among us. We are monsters every time we look the other way and just let things stay unchanged. That’s what is truly scary; not the boogie man. I don’t waste too much time on fear. It does little good to be overcome with fear about those things outside of our control. It won’t stop me from experience and opportunity. I will never let the monsters take these from me.
Monsters don’t just appear in fairytales. Those evil characters simply prepare us for the horrors of life. And the real life monsters are much scarier than the ones of fiction. We can’t turn those off. They play in our minds forever. I’m not sure if monsters can ever change. They are too good at it. Many want to be. They are orchestrators of chaos and discord. But we can’t let monsters have all the power. I let them have power over me for too long. Even though they can’t hurt me anymore, I still feel their presence. They still win sometimes.
I want to live in a world where monsters aren’t real; they’re just stories. That’s not really possible or realistic. What I can do and will always do is to realize my own role in the story. And try not to be my own worst enemy. We live a life of so much rejection and suffer a lifetime of being casually spit out by life. There’s no room for monsters. They steal your joy. And at the end of the day that may be what makes us human.