I’m having a bad mental health day.
Well, I’ve been having a string of bad mental health days.
Ten weeks or so, it seems, and every day is a battle just to get up and face it.
I’m paralyzed by a fear of failure, and that fear is stopping me from creating anything that matters.
Hell, it’s preventing me from creating anything at all.
So I gave myself an exercise today, to see if I can help move this ship that’s been trapped in ice.
I had a simple idea, and I gave myself permission to just spit it out without thinking too much. I decided to write in a style that I don’t normally use, just to crack the ice a little bit.
And because I’m so afraid of failure, I gave myself permission to share this unvarnished, unpolished, trapped-in-ice bunch of words that spilled out of my head.
The monster lives under the bed. It sleeps among the dust bunnies, wraps itself around the box of sweaters, stretches its legs between toys.
It keeps the lost socks. Lost things are desired to be found and that need sustains the monster when the children are not in their beds.
The children know the monster is there, as all children do, having felt its presence in the dark of night. Their parents don’t believe in monsters, as no parents do, having forgotten the truths they knew when they were children.
What the children and the parents don’t know is that the monster under the bed does not threaten on the children.
It protects them. From the other monsters.
The monster in the closet.
The monster who taps at the window when the wind blows.
The monster who lurks in the hallway, just outside the bedroom door.
The monster who stands in the room when the children hide beneath the covers.
The monster who lives under the bed waits for them to come calling. The monster who lives under the bed waits for them to tap on the window or scratch on the walls or creak the closet door open. The monster who lives under the bed waits and when the children are in danger, it reaches out with an impossibly long arm, covered with fur and scales and blisters and oozing pustules. It reaches out and opens a claw, snaps it closed on the neck of the monster who lives in the closet, crushes the life out of the monster who taps on the window, flays the skin off the monster who lurks in the hallway. When the children hide beneath the covers, it breaks the neck of the monster who stands in the dark bedroom.
It protects the children, as it protected their parents, as it will protect the children’s children long after they have grown into parents and forgotten it or any of the other monsters existed.
It protects them
and it waits.
It waits for all the other monsters to be driven out, so that it may uncoil itself, stretch itself out, creep into the bedroom
Fifteen or so minutes, 352 words, a few images, an unexpected ending. Something where there wasn’t something before. Something unpolished and raw and imperfect. Something published for the sake a making a thing that isn’t perfect. Okay.
Maybe this will crack the ice, or at least sweep away a few snowdrifts.