Am I the Monster You Think I Am?
A Therapeutic Breakthrough Part 2
For so long I have acted the part of the monster. I do not blame you for thinking that is what I have become.
The thing about monsters is that we are not the evil you all seem to think we are. We just never can do anything right in your eyes. We are something to fear, to mock, to scorn, to abandon. No matter what we do, how we change we will never be good enough.
I just want to ask you: who is the real monster?
Is it the pitiful creature that made a mistake who has tried to the best that they know how to make amends? Is it the quiet soul who does not have the strength nor speed to talk against the overwhelming current of those who are so insecure in themselves that they are unable to stand up for themselves? Is it the one who hides in layers of clothing so no one can judge their appearance?
Maybe a combination?
Or is it those who keep them stationary in the eyes of the world? Those that never allow them to grow or at the very least see it?
Am I truly the monster? Or is it just what I have become in your eyes?
I lower my pen and look to the clock. It is time to go.
The car ride takes longer than normal. I watch as the world slowly goes by. It is not fast enough to be a blur, an image that is quickly in the rearview. Such is the symbolism of life that is painful in its irony. A moment in time that is moving forward but not fast enough to move around you but rather imploring, no demanding, you to move with it.
It is is a short drive but I cannot get out of my seat fast enough. My mind is a scary place to live when there is no noise in the background to drown my thoughts. I stop for one moment to look at the one building that I once called prison.
Now it was a sanctuary. Its walls seemed to brighten the day for me. What was once a dull blue of the sky was now alight with sunshine. Maybe it was just my newfound peace and the feeling of understanding that I received within those walls. A new person that I felt that in this moment, for this season, I can trust.
It wasn't always that way. I had felt misunderstood and judged. I have felt as though this was a place of condemnation and all the worst of myself was on trial. I have felt lonely and helpless.
Two opposite ends of the spectrum but through it all there was a consistency and stability. It was the only part of my life that I was able to count on. To knock me down. Pick me up. Console. Enrage. Protect and defend. Make me take responsibility.
I walk into the doors, walk up to the perky receptionist who opens the door and gestures me to the last door. The door is cracked open. So I do not get the luxury of a few extra minutes to have anxiety about what I am going to say. Then again there is no noise and it is unnerving me. Sometimes the scariest sound is the complete silence.
I walk into the room and my therapist. . . I don't even remember her name.
Wait. I know who you are. Who are you? What does your name start with? I am sure it is an S. Yes, it is an S. Sara. That is right. Sara without an h.
"Melody?" I hear her voice through the haze of my thoughts.
"Huh?" I say feeling the scratchiness of my throat of misuse.
"I asked how you are feeling today?" she said with a concerned glance to my notebook.
This has become routine. Ever since the first time I actually tried to give her something in my mandatory updates she gave me hope that not only did she hear my words and there might be a solution but that I had at least a decent talent in writing, something I have wanted to do ever since I was little. Something that gave voice to a being that was too afraid to be herself. Someone too insecure to voice the thoughts raging in her brain begging to be let out. It was in writing that she was able to voice those questions. Questions she would never dare to ask aloud because the world said it was wrong.
But that was not wrong. I was learning that was not wrong.
I had a major break through. From that moment I had admitted that my reality was not what I thought it was. That I had not really made an effort to keep up with the friends I had made since graduation but also that I had made no effort with people in general. I had admitted that I did not even know her name and apologized for it right away.
She smiled and repeated it. Which is why I was so frustrated that I could not remember it today. I had been struggling the last few weeks to write down anything. This is now obvious to her as I watch her expression as she flips through the pages of what I have written. They are scant fortune cookie notes in comparison to my novellas that I have been writing for a while.
It was not for lack of trying. And boy did I try. Today was different. I was finally able to at least try.
"I don't know," I answer honestly, knowing she would not judge me.
"Ok then what do you know right now?" she asks me and gestures to the comfy seat in front of her desk.
"I do not know what reality I am living." Ok that was not what I wanted to lead off with. I guess better to get straight to the point. Not like I could control it. My mind would stay on it until it was out. "I want to know which one I am living in so I can make sure the others go away."
"Alright then let us start from the very beginning? Is that alright?"
I do not answer. I just nod my head, let out a long slow breathe, and put my head in my hands. There is no noise as she waits to listen.
I hate the silence. It gives volume to the thoughts in my head and that is NEVER a good thing. Alright step one: find a place where I can start. Where would that be.
Hmm. . .
Let us start from the very beginning.
You were right once upon a time. My name and that of a devil were synonymous. I would yell, scream, and manipulate all who came near me. I became good at it too.
Not around my classmates. No, around them I was never worth a second glance. I knew that. They had their problems and I had bigger challenges. I later was able to spin any narrative at will outside of my writing. I became so good that I even made my mind start to see a new reality.
Until I became so terrible that everyone would see through it. It occurs to me they always did but just allowed it to pass. Then the rare occasion became a constant flow of lies and half truth that I would tell myself to be able to look in the mirror. I only fooled myself. I fooled myself so well that I was unable to function.
It became so bad that I could not tell one day from the next. Soon it wasn't legitimate excuses that could even sound believable to my teachers as to why I was unable to finish my homework, it was just that I would say "I forgot."
I wish that I could say it was just a lame excuse. No. It was that I had forgotten about assignments, I had forgotten due dates, and most of the time I would forget the books needed for that class. All I would bring was a notebook that I would day dream into. Write a new story for myself. Create relationships that to this day I do not know if they are made in my head or real. Little was it helped along the way by a sick joke that was meant to be harmless. Some would contemplate real life game over but those were quickly scrubbed raw by an eraser.
Then it went from haze to silence. Deafening silence that would strangle me from all sides. I would not be able to sit in a room without sound coming from something. Phones. Television. Laptop. Something had to be on. I could not sit in a room with silence for even a second. If I did then I would cave to an entity I did not want to believe was me.
The worst part was that it was me. This was real. I did not have any control. I did not want to admit that this was even a part of me. That I could ever be this way.
The silence would take over. The silence is never really quiet. I get that. But my thoughts would scream. Thoughts I had long since discovered were not helping me with reality.
Later on I became the embodiment of self-fulfilling prophecy.
I stopped even trying to get good grades and purposefully did bad so that I would never get into college.
I did not have a job that would allow for better promotion or get me where I want to get to.
I was slowly allowing my health mentally and physically decline to the point that I was actively trying to get hospitalized.
I kept hearing people ask me when my book was going to be written because I was one of the few that had said they wanted to have a published novel by the time college came around but didn't even half a finished manuscript draft.
Yes I thought I failed. At the time I viewed all of these things as failure. That it was not good enough. That I was not good enough. That I had not only failed myself but others as well. I had already given up on myself and I wasn't even 20 years old.
Now I am.
And. . .
I lift my head from my hands. They are tearing up I can feel it. Yet somehow I am smiling through it because I remember the one thing that I have written on my own. Journal entries, short excerpts or thoughts compiled over weeks that came to my mind. This was hidden from my therapist in a small notebook. I think to the piece that I wrote today.
I have already accepted that I am a monster and a villain to some in their narratives. I am just now thinking of how many. How many have I wronged and never made amends? How many have I hurt with my words and my actions? How many friendships did I purposefully destroy?
More importantly have I earned the right to move past it.
I do not even try to hide as I wipe it away. I do however shrink further into the chair and pull my coat tighter around my body.
"What is going on in that head of yours?" she asked with a gentle knock on my head.
I cannot even come up with a clever quip in retaliation to the gesture but I am just too emotionally vulnerable to do anything else but respond, "I was writing earlier today."
"Diary entry?" she asked looking at me.
I shake my head in response.
"A real story?" she asks, her eyes widening.
I nod my head, "for the first time in a long while."
She nods her head for she knows how long it took me to just start opening up in our sessions let alone write again. I kind of gave up on writing anything meaningful when I was diagnosed with all of my health conditions. I would write here and there but never anything of worth to me.
Any creator worth their salt would know that you do not put out what does not have any meaning or worth to you.
I remember the days when I would have several notebooks in front of me with scene after scene that I would be writing in my book. I remember the nights when I would stay up late to read and write. My fingers would be red, my knuckles smeared with ink, and pencil shavings covering the floor. I would awake with a pen in hand, face in the pages of a book and a paper that had been discarded underfoot.
I smile at the memory.
I feel a hand on my shoulder and turn to see Sara looking down at me with a smile. "I want you to keep writing there. It seems to be something that takes a weight off of you. You are smiling in a way I have never seen on you before. That alone is the biggest leap of progress I could have ever asked for from where you were."
There was not even a beat of silence before I said, "would you like to read them?"
I immediately clamped both hands over my mouth.
"Are you ready for me to read them?"
"I must be," I say looking to the floor.
"And why must you be?"
"I think that I want to understand but will never know until my subconscious is set free," I say almost as a question but more of a definitive statement as I finish. My mind continues to shift its gears and it was all starting to come together. I open my mouth and more words come out, "and I am able just let out everything that I have pent up."
"I think that is a smart starting point."