The monster that lurks . . .

It can be profoundly difficult to acknowledge the dark side of our selves.

We’re brought up to be “nice”, “good”, “well-behaved”, and get no instruction as children on how to deal with thoughts that counter those values in constructive ways so we work it out for ourselves. As a result – because we want to please our parents and other adults who are important in our lives – such thoughts can get buried, pushed out of mind, to fester in the deepest darkest resources of our brains. Left unattended, the smallest ‘unacceptable’ thought can grow into a monster, desperate to do what monsters do, and our psyches go to great and often bizarre lengths to keep the monster behind bars.

My partner wrote the following piece about his monster. It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge the monster that is part of us and even more to write about it and be prepared to share that part of our selves with others. I don’t agree with him though, that the monster needs to be banished. In my view it is enough to see it for what it is: a thought that we can simply be aware of, trusting ourselves enough to just let it be.

Frankenstein’s Monster

The monster, with the horns and tails of a devil, lurks in the deepest, dankest dungeons of my mind, eyes burning red, teeth like vampires’ fangs, talons like dragons, hunch-backed, ready to pounce. Saliva drips from its gaping maw, the talons clutch a dagger dripping with blood.

All is dark, the blackness is solid, no light penetrates.

The air is hot, oppressive and stifling.

The smell of death pervades the atmosphere.

The monster is a chimera reflecting all my fears in one being. Its hybrid nature combines all my fears.

The shadow lurks in my unconscious, emitting negative thoughts, amplifying the anxiety.

The dread is unremitting, the torment is ceaseless.

I close my eyes.

I breathe in. Om!

I hold my breath. Ah!

I breathe out slowly. Hum!

I exhale black smoke.

I inhale bright white light.

I visualise the banishment of the monster.

The dread eases; a dim light starts to glow dimly through the dark night.

The monster disappears in a cloud of sulphurous smoke, emitting a shriek of rage and frustration.

The dismal fog clears. I see the sunrise.

(c) Trevor J. Leavesley 2023

2 thoughts on “The monster that lurks . . .”

  1. Thanks, Maggie and Trevor, for sharing this poem. It is a really vivid image of a monster, brilliantly written. I do agree with Maggie’s comment that acceptance is key, then perhaps it just becomes – oh, that monster, I know it for what it is. I’ve been reading Alan Watts recently, here are quotes that support acceptance:

    “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.” So, to have a monster might be a source of anxiety, but if you can accept it then you may feel less anxious .. perhaps the key is in being ‘perfectly free’ – probably that is difficult. It is for me. Another way of looking at it is to say that this anxiety in me (or you) could be seen as a tiny eventuality in the universe and that it is not your responsibility to sort it out, it is better for you to keep focussing on the bigger picture (Alan Watts has many quotes on this subject).

    “To remain stable is to refrain from trying to separate yourself from a pain because you know that you cannot. Running away from fear is fear, fighting pain is pain, trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his thought. There is no escape.”

    ― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

    I’ve tried to find a quote that talks about the original purpose of the mind being to protect us in a dangerous environment (woolly mammoths etc) but now our perception of what is dangerous in our world and undesirable in ourselves is in danger of overwhelming us.

    Thanks for giving me a chance to put some thoughts down, I’ve got to that stage where I’m at risk of dropping into a total muddle! Sue x


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