Thursday, July 7, 2016

30 Days of Blogging, Day 6: Of Monsters and Me

The other night as I spent time with a bottle of wine I pondered the idea of monsters. About an hour in I typed in the middle of the screen: "What if I am the real monster?" After staring at that statement on the screen I laughed for 5 minutes straight and ordered a pizza and forgot to write. 

In the traditional sense of monsters, like the ones who lurk under children's beds, I have only truly been afraid of one "monster": Skeletor. What isn't terrifying about a flesh-less, talking skull with a beefcake, ripped body whose soul mission is to kill He-Man and She-Ra? Those chicks were hot.

Wait, weren't they brother and sister? What's with all the sexual tension?

Outside of my "Masters of the Universe" fear, my monsters have always been very grounded in reality. Now when I say reality I use it in the very loosest sense of the word. I wasn't terrified of fantastical monsters: I was, and still kind of am, terrified of the monsters I build up in my head.

I blame two things: the evening news and Unsolved Mysteries. And my parents. 3 things. I blame 3 things. Rescue 911, Unsolved Mysteries, my parents, and my brother. 4 things. I blame 4 things.

When it came to Unsolved Mysteries, I wasn't afraid of the things that happened; I wasn't afraid of aliens, or being kidnapped, or murdered. I was afraid of Robert Stack. Did that man realize how terrifying he is?

Don't tell me seeing this dude step out of an alley wouldn't make you pee your pants.

I recall a very vivid nightmare when I was 10 that my father and brother were trying to murder me, and I ran into my room where it had been transformed into a steamy ally and Robert Stack walked out in a fedora and trench coat and straight up stabbed me. That was the crazy shit going on in my head when I was 10.

My other monster was, and still is, disease. I was an early adopter of hypochondria. My first case was HIV. I would have been probably 7 or 8 when I first recalled hearing about HIV on the news, which my dad insisted we watched every day, so I'll be sending him my therapy bills. I of course didn't know how to get it and didn't know the symptoms, but I was pretty sure I had it from that one time I didn't wash my hands.

Every single time I had a cold it was a countdown to the end of my life. I would lay in bed at night terrified to fall asleep because I was afraid I wouldn't wake up, which lead to my very real condition of insomnia. I once read a book about a girl who found out she had leukemia after a nasty nose bleed; I got a nose bleed (from picking my damn nose too much) and I sat up all night until the sun came up. I almost choked on rice one night at dinner and I didn't eat for a week. I think my parents didn't really take exception to this, since they wanted me to lose weight.

I'm one neuroses from my goal weight!

My hypochondria isn't as bad as it used to be. My most recent episode was when I thought I had M.E.R.S. (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) a few years ago, because I got the flu and I was working with interns who traveled to work in Seattle from all around the world. My brain rationalized this and as I insisted to the doctor that I absolutely had the MERS. Between her trying to catch her breath from laughter she told me it was impossible, there are no cases in the US and I just have boring old flu. Didn't she know how special I am?

All these little monsters: diseases, spiders, Robert Stack--those have been manageable. I've never really been afraid of the real monsters in the world, not until recently.

I have a new feeling I've never experienced before: a jumpiness, and feeling of being unsure of the people around me. Every time I log on to social media or watch the new, a feeling powerlessness creeps over me, followed by a deep, profound anger. Pulse. Alton Sterling. 250 dead in Baghdad. I'm so angry I can't find tears to shed because they're being burned out of me. When I think of the possible solutions I get even angrier because I know there are mighty people with a lot of money that fight the best solutions. Those are the real monsters. The ones who can make things better but won't

I wish my biggest fear was still Robert Stack. 

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