September 6th, 2022
Starting today, I’m going to be taking the rest of the month off from posting essays. I feel like you and I could use a break from each other, in a good way. I hope you’ll catch up on posts, if that’s your thing, or pick up some of my work and drop me a line with what you think and/or feel about it.
Before I go, though, I have one more.
This is called The Kind Monster.
When my mom died, she left me a lot of stuff.
I love stuff.
The most special stuff she left for me was colorful plastic boxes; inside them are words, art, photos, report cards, and notebooks she collected, starting the day I first picked up a pencil.
I’ve been using this stuff to figure out who I am.
From the moment I could draw a picture of me, I drew myself as a monster.
By all adult accounts of me, however, I was a kind, human person.
I remember being a scared kid. I was/am in a constant state of anxiety; I always felt like I had a lot of responsibility, and I also believed in everything. Ghosts and aliens, Bigfoot and Bat Boy, anything was possible and everything was out to get me.
Looking at my art from then, knowing what I know about me now, I see a child trying to control his world. He drew so many ghosts and aliens and vampires that you would assume he loved them, and he did, but I see how love and fear became the same thing.
And it scared him to think that anyone else could feel the same way he did.
So he tried to be nice.
But he knew he was a monster.
And that never went away.
As he got older, if he ever made a mistake or was less than kind, he affirmed that monster. He didn’t feel like the bad moments were the break in character, or anomalies; no, he felt like that was the true thing he was.
He lived in very dark places for a very long time because that’s what he thought he deserved.
It wasn’t until he realized he was both — he was kind and a monster — that he was able to reconcile them.
Being a monster has nothing to do with evil.
Being a monster means being different. It means you feel things deeper. It means you’re misunderstood by others. It means you don’t always understand how to deal with your feelings; sometimes they’re too much, and sometimes they’re so little you worry that they abandoned you, too.
But being kind isn’t being human. It’s being something more.
It’s being the thing in the dark that offers a light to someone so they can see. It’s offering someone understanding after spending so much time misunderstood.
It’s knowing what it’s like to be anxious, and hopeless, and so unspeakably scared, and giving comfort, hope, and a hand to hold, because that is all you ever needed.
A kind monster like you.