The Monster

It loves to creep in when you are sleeping, oozing into your dreams and manipulating them to promote the utmost confusion and terror. Of course, then those dreams wake you up, and the rest of the night becomes one of tossing, turning, insecurity. “To sleep, perchance to dream” but without sleep the dreams hold you hostage>

The monster has been there.

Next it weighs you down in bed, making you tired and unable or willing to get up. But to stay in bed means to sleep more and to sleep means to dream. A vicious cycle.

You wake up and begin to write. Three pages. Morning pages. Pages intended to get the monster out of your head and enable you to face the day with energy and creativity. But the monster grips your pain, making each stroke painful. The monster whispers in your ear, “It’s futile. This won’t help. You can’t escape.”

Somehow you write the pages anyway. The monster hasn’t completely won.

Perhaps you get up, but the monster has not let you out of its grasp. No, it tricks you into thinking that everything is good. That you have defeated it and sent it back into its dark and stinking lair. You try to greet the day with cheer and a positive attitude, shaking off the grip of the monster.

“I’ll make my own breakfast.”

“These eggs taste funny.”

“Do I have to?”

Harmless words that have nothing to do with you. But, the monster twists them, using its power over language so that you hear this instead:

“You don’t know how to cook.”

“Daddy makes better eggs.”

“You are such a nag.”

The monsters niggles and pokes until every moment of being awake is almost as torturous as the moments of the dream. The sun refuses to come out, because it too is afraid of the monster.  Words circle around you and suffocate you. You try to escape in the words of others, but that only allows the monster a new form of attack. “That writer is better than you. You have no original ideas. That person is more popular. . . ” The comparisons that hold you down, away from even trying.

You take a shower, hoping to wash the monster’s slime off of you. To cleanse away the tentacles and claws.

For a moment it works, lulling you into a false sense of security. You feel your breath ease. You begin to relax. Your eyes begin to close, falling into the comfort of a new kind of sleep, after the disturbances of the previous night.

But the monster knows how to get in once you sleep.  The cycle begins again.

I want to get out a torch and slay the monster. This is not the beast of Beauty and the Beast, trapped in the form of monsters by his own ego, but basically innocent. This is not the Hunchback of Notre Dame, hated for a deformity and because of people’s ignorance. This monster is invisible and hurtful. This monster is terrifying and powerful. This monster grips many of us in its grasp and will not let go.

I’m ready to fight it. Lisa the Depression Slayer is on duty now, and she intends to win.

 

Reflections on Occupy Thanksgiving, Joy Tinged with Sadness

Starting to load up the table

Insomnia struck at 3:30 am after a fitful sleep before that.

Simply a result of overindulgence?

It would have been convenient if I was one of the crazy thrifty multitudes who choose to line up outside stores for the early openings and buying frenzy known as Black Friday, but I’m not.

Instead it was a reflection of something more. When denied sleep I buried myself in the beauty of tragic love past, reading Jane Eyre for the first time in many years and relishing every dramatic throb of love torn asunder. Finally, I thought I could go back to sleep only to find myself crying convulsively, waking Nathan with wracking sobs.

Why would a day filled with laughter, smiles and thanks bring on this insuppressible sadness?

Because amidst the celebration I saw my mother’s eyes tear up when Sarah interviewed her and asked two important questions:

  1. “What are you thankful for?” Answer: “That all my loved one’s are here together.”
  2. “If you could have one wish, what would it be?” Answer: “That Papa would get better.”

You see, in the cacophony of voices, telling jokes, sharing stories, there was one gaping hole of silence sitting to my left. My Dad, who used to be the life of the party, now caught in the trap of Alzheimer’s would only interject in discomfort or annoyance if we pushed him too hard to eat.

Note my tongue sticking out, a habit I got from my Dad

The silence is heartbreaking.

The day, overall was joyous. Sarah’s excitement and enthusiasm for interviewing everybody was contagious. The food delicious. The laughter and conversation scintillating.

It’s been a long time since my family sat down together for a meal, followed by playing games together.

Love this image with Mom joining in the fun.

All in all a wonderful day that I will always be thankful for, and that I believe Sarah will hold in her memory.

Sarah got the big end of the wishbone. I hope all her wishes come true.

Still, for me, a joyous day tinged with a little sadness.

Most photo's taken by Steve, also known as Taochild

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