The answers we seek, magic we crave and growth we need, lies in that which we avoid
The Monsters are a simple bunch, peculiarly simple you might say. They have a way of stating the obvious – they did grow up watching Catchphrase – “Just say what ye seeee” (not always the best advice thanks Roy).
It’s safe to say, they have a lot to say. Contrastingly, they choose not to at times. They choose their thoughts and words wisely, for the simple fact of making sure what they do think and say is of value and benefit. Not just for themselves, but for those they care about too (they’re a considered bunch The Monsters).
Other Monsters are known to take advantage of this. Yet they remain resolute. Grounded.
Because they’re truth-tellers and love-makers, understanding and compassionate as fuck. They have an ‘I would walk 500 miles’ level of patience, unafraid to feel, even the Shitty McShit Shit. They listen and consider before unleashing their love grown sentiment in the world, which can be deafening or unheard (depending on who’s listening).
Armed with self-worth, this is a formidable combo, one that allows for the ability to calm the stormiest of seas and encourage love to grow (even) in places its light has been dimmed and voice silenced – and not take shit that isn’t theirs to take.
You see, the Monsters light is bright and their love loud and unapologetic. But it isn’t always. Their brightness isn’t immune to traumatised, demonic, pitchfork-wielding villagers.
The Monsters have extremely inquisitive minds, but we all do, that doesn’t tell us much. It’s what we’re inquisitive about and put our energy into (or rather not) that begins to tell the story of who’s behind the inquiry. Who we are, what we like and don’t like, what peaks our interest, soils our souls and where our priorities and values lie in the wastelands and oases of life. Where our deepest fears, insecurities and notions of self reside – and with them, the answers we seek.
Our inquisitive nature in one direction indicates what truly matters (in another). A tactic to distract and avoid something else ‘over there’ – the bigger picture. Something inescapably real and closer to home compared with the external avenues and alley ways we distract our day to day with out of denial and avoidance.
We all avoid something. Question is What? and Why? when we know it’s where our inquisition (effort) will be best served. Where we can find our truth, our answers, the things we crave most in this (very) short life we have.
To feel whole, happiness and love. To feel content, secure, safe. To have hope and peace of mind. Many of us find this despite our avoidance, yet we know deep down we’re just cheating ourselves and it’s simply an extension of our avoidance.
A mask we wear to keep ourselves facing the things we know we need to face within.
What we avoid is nailed with ‘do not enter’ signs.
But they’re also plastered with ‘trespassers will be shot on sight’ ones too. So it’s clear we’re sensitive and fearful of what lies behind those barbed wire fences. And woe betide anyone who tries to love their way through that tiny crack we left in our (de)fence.
Thing is, those who love us cannot ignore, deny or avoid what we do. It impacts them too, they see it just as clearly. But they also see the real us behind the fence, the version of us that we long to reconnect with. Yet we’re often locked-and-loaded ready to blow their head off. We take their love for us, their strength in facing our demons and their loving challenge for us to fight them too as an attack, an offence against us, when in truth we’re just afraid – because they’re right. And we know it. They remind us of the very thing we’ve been avoiding one way or another since we lost ourselves.
It’s a scary truth, it truly is. But we’ve gotta brave the barbed wire or risk losing ourselves and the people who love us. Because we can, we have done and may do again.
Trespassers will be shot on sight remember - until we’re ready to put down the shotgun.
There are those who will say it’s impossible. That you just learn to live with the emotions we’ve locked away, you cope and accept the scars. Which you do, at first. But eventually you realise there’s no avoiding it if you actually want to live again, to love, to be your best self, to feel happy, to feel content. To stop doing the things you know deep down prevent you from finding that magic, the answers to the questions and indeed the you that you so desperately want back.
The Monsters know that anything is possible, what’s loaded within our avoidance is the truth. Our truth, the stuff that makes us whole. The truth that sets us free, the truth that’s been taken from us or that we have taken from ourselves.
Truth can be painful, many of us don’t like facing it or being called out on it. Especially the shit that’s behind our barbed wire fencing. Some truths are better left unsaid out of compassion, yet the truth, as much as it hurts sometimes, does not diminish the love someone has for us. Those we love and who love us have our best interest at heart – sometimes that means being challenged on our hurt and how that’s impacting others.
It’s a healthy balance – to show compassion for others whilst protecting our self worth. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.
When we avoid our darkest parts we can sometimes believe it’s for our own good, that they’re so deeply locked away and compartmentalised somewhere safe that they can’t hurt us.
This is of course a myth – Nothing goes away through avoidance. We all kinda know that too (deep down perhaps) but it can be just as difficult for us to admit that to ourselves as it is to change our approach and face that which we avoid. Before we know it, things pile up and we have an attic full of disorganised and misplaced locked boxes – making it harder to sort through and see our true self.
But knowing this doesn’t always help. We of course don’t want that messy mental attic to exist, but, now, it does. Balls.
Inevitably we find ourselves with a choice to face it all. Or not. Every now and then we decide to have a clear out, we take stock, so we know what we have and can find what we need (when we need it). And we throw out what we don’t anymore. Sometimes we put things back in the attic, despite knowing it’ll stay there gathering dust for no apparent reason. That box in our mind attic will stay there until we’re ready to accept we don’t need it and throw it out for good.
When we make the decision to begin sorting through our crap, we’ve made the greatest (and bravest) choice we’ll ever make. A choice to find ourselves and unpack what’s been laid to waste in the mothballed attic of our mind. It’s a choice for self. For self-worth, self-love and happiness – the greatest reward any of us can hope for in life.
It can take a while, it’s a life-time journey in fact. But it’s worth sifting through, worth throwing shit out and dusting ourselves off.
As we grow, we learn. The less we avoid the better, not just for us, but those we hold dear. Because what we avoid isn’t far away in some distant place, it’s right here in front of us, bubbling under our surface. It’s on our face, in our eyes and rolling off the thoughts, words and actions we embody. Our attics are present in our day to day life, as much as we’re able to convince ourselves and others otherwise, we know. Just a those closest to us do. They are often the ones sharing the weight of the attic hatch as we avoid what it’s holding in.
It remains no matter how good we are it hiding it or how long we’ve had our shoulders propped up against the hatch. This impacts others a much as it does ourselves. It’s exhausting keeping it shut, it takes all our strength, all our energy away from living, from doing what we actually want to do, from *being* ourselves – from what truly matters to us.
Those who love us share that burden with us, which can be an inspiration for us to go into our attic.
This is a beautiful thing, but ultimately, we have to do it for ourselves, for our self-worth, our love and our own happiness. It’s what those who love us want too, and why they shoulder our burden with us, knowing it isn’t theirs to carry.
(Not always a harmonious balance) this is love, and self-love at work.
If what we avoid is particularly salty, it can feel like an attack when it’s exposed, a threat to our very being.
As much as we know and understand someones intentions are good, it becomes a case of us versus them when our avoidance is triggered. A survivor in particular will always choose them over us.
It isn’t selfish, it’s survivalist. Survivors are brave warriors. Some of the strongest Monsters of all, they’re acutely aware of their avoidance and as much as it frustrates them, sometimes they must. It’s hard to let go of, hard to trust, hard to be vulnerable because they’ve had a salty diet when it comes to love and life.
It can be a difficult thing to understand when you’re face down in the mud with their shotgun pressed up against the back of your head. But as you lay there, choking on the worms and pieces of broken glass they’ve fed you, remember that both you and they know this truth. Find your calm, your compassion – but stand up for yourself, worms and glass are not good for anyones guts.
We’re all human and have the right to defend our self-worth. No matter how much we love the one holding the shotgun – abuse of any kind is wrong – we can show empathy and compassion whilst still standing up for ourselves.
The reality of avoidance are the side affects it has that cause harm to ourselves and to others. It hinders healing, growth, happiness and muffles self-worth.
We’re often reminded of what we avoid by those we love, simply because of their proximity. Which can feel uncomfortable. That’s just the challenge, traumas hair being ruffled by love. It hates it. With trauma, we can be mowed down like a frog in a weed-fest that used to be our prized lawn.
It takes a lot of strength, a lot of self-worth to resist the lure and games that trauma likes to play. The trouble is, avoidance itself comes down to self-worth. Whatever we’re avoiding damages our sense of self. Avoiding hurt is ultimately what hurts us, making it difficult to always be ourselves. Painful shit can alter our ability to behave appropriately when we’re not particularly fond of ourselves. It’s one of the truest tests we face as humans, it can cause cracks in our foundation and wreak havoc on our surface.
The Monsters do have self-worth, they are the type to challenge and smash trauma over the head with a sack full of love and let the good times roll. But they’re not immune, they have avoidant parts too, an historic aversion to confrontation. Despite facing and overcoming this years ago, it can still remerge if self-worth is cracked.
It’s no coincidence. Trauma has a way of seeking us out, using its host as a vessel to deliver its dark deeds. In the extreme, think sociopaths, malevolent narcissists, abusers and you’ll get the idea.
But most of us aren’t the extreme.
We’re broken-hearted souls needing love, we’ve perhaps had love altered within us. It’s emotional, not the dark extremities of humanity, even if trauma tries to tell us it is. It’s wrong. Self-love and self-worth are the enemy of trauma, it makes sense it’s those things affected most in its presence.
Thing is, despite what’s on the surface, underneath, it’s trauma holding us to ransom. It’s the wounded child inside us all. The self-hate chatter that crushes our self-worth. Our past experiences that have no relevance in our present, our irrational fears and insecurities. Everything we humans like to avoid. Whatever it is, it all points to the pain and hurt of what we avoid. It’s even that way with narcs, sociopaths, axe-murderers and indeed demonic pitchfork-wielding villagers.
The point is, we can’t, because it’s our love for self we need most in life. To drive us forward into *being*. Self-worth, belief and love make themselves known when we face our fears. We’ve all been there. We overcome shit, feeling fucking awesome as we do so.
The more we avoid, the harder it becomes to know our value, and fight for that value. Self-worth can feel light years away, but in truth, it’s tantalisingly close by, unlock the gate…
It’s right there waiting.
When facing trauma The Monsters lost themselves, allowing their compassion for others to outweigh their own. Their love and self-worth wained as they were rejected by trauma. They regressed, lost touch with who they were and what they knew. Trauma did its thing.
Their experience of those fucked up villagers in their past was repeating itself in the present, only this time the villagers knew what kind of pants The Monsters wore to bed – a much bigger challenge to understand and not take personally.
In losing self-worth we lose our fight for self. It’s incredibly easy to have no fight left for other things and become a shadow of ourselves as a result. Especially when it feels so pointless. But this in actual fact is us giving up on ourselves as much as it is others, taking the rejection, someone else’s version of love and self personally when it’s not. We must remember it’s not personal, and never stop fighting for ourselves.
We cannot do for others at the cost of ourselves.
We all need self-worth to fight the good fight. It’s the needle that our fabric is weaved with and the pin on which our entire existence is precariously balanced - self-worth is everything. And that’s our personal responsibility.
To rebuild their self-worth, The Monsters set about reaffirming their values and their beliefs, retracing the steps they’d previously made in life and relearning what they’d learned long ago in order to right the wrongs they now faced with more of traumas pesky villagers. It had become about avoidance.
After so much rejection, they’d given up and began to avoid (enable trauma). They now had to refocus and redirect their love inward. This was their greatest lesson as Kid Monsters and it was one they had to remember in the here and now – confront the wrong’s we face in life, don’t avoid them. It’s the balance between compassion and love for others and ourselves (protecting our self-worth). It’s about authenticly living in the present, being true to our self.
Self-worth had been beaten out of them long ago and the villagers were knocking at that door again, but they’re damned if they’ll let it happen again. A Monsters strength and resilience, their empathy and love, values, authenticity and truth is magical and worth protecting. Despite any rejection they face. No matter what happens, they will always fight for that – villagers beware.
As you watch this affirmation unfold in The Monster Guide to Life, perhaps consider where your inquisitiveness takes you – and look the other way. To what’s really going on deep down in the undergrowth of you. What answers do you seek? What magic do you crave?…
What do you avoid?