It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know
(IS CAT STEVENS MY NEW WALT WHITMAN?!)
Just breathe, nerd.
Consider what is real.
There are no rules beyond the ones you set. There are no walls beyond the ones you build. There are no monsters beyond the ones you hide from in your own head.
Yesterday, in therapy, I was asked about The Monster. My Monster.
They are… gaunt. They are a tall, pale, clawed, vampiric sort of thing and they are starving. They do not know how to ask for what they need and so I do not know what to give to them, so they scream and wail in their little corner and it’s not so much that they are malevolent but that they are longing for relief.
I bring the monster an eclair at first. Just to try, just to see. They wolf it down right away, cream filling dripping from their jagged teeth, and they are only hungrier still.
My therapist said he pictured the monster and I in a Victorian manor library and I immediately made it clear that I get a fucking cravat in this scenario. I am Penny Dreadful-ed out in my waistcoat and cravat and I am handsome and I am the hero. And I do not know how to feed the monster yet and I am running out of things to try, and so…
I take the monster by the claws and I am not afraid to slide my hand up their monster-skinned back and hold them. I am not afraid of their teeth or their big, unblinking monster eyes as I lead them around the library to some perfect Victorian manor library soundtrack.
And the monster is…relieved, finally. No one has ever asked them to dance before.
That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? I don’t need to escape to grad school or to Orlando or to any tangible place. (Like, I can, sure, and one day I will.) But that isn’t the solution. The story– the comedy, the tragedy, the love story, the epic poem- is the one between the monster and myself. It is an enemies-to-friends 90k slow burn and we don’t have to Get To The End in any particular hurry.
But we have to get to one another. We have to be willing to link fingers and claws and offer one another the comfort of a dance when nothing else will do.
I sought once to slay the monster. But, in doing so, I only risk slaying myself.
All the times that I’ve cried
Keeping all the things I knew inside
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it
(“I know,” I whisper into the monster’s ear. “I know.”)
Daniel Elton dances with monsters and he is not afraid.