The Monster is not Sulley, a friendly creature. It is angry, and it crushes me repeatedly. And yet- it is part of me, and therefore it is good. “I knit you together in your mother’s womb. God saw what God had made, and it was very good.”
The Monster is a self-protection mechanism. It rails at me, in a rage. It terrifies me. And I took that part of myself and made it my protector. The Monster shouts and screams that everything is fine, that I had a perfectly ordinary childhood, that I would be happy if I could only be manly, and not being manly is disgusting and spineless, weak, so impossibly weak that it must be the pretence of a cowardly malingerer, putting it on, acting, no-one could be that weak…
It was better that I froze, like Woody in Toy Story, who falls to the floor when a human approaches because he does not want a human to know he is conscious, than that I be hurt. Silent, compliant, uncomplaining, not protesting, I might be safe.
The monster is part of me. It might, like Sulley, stop roaring with the intent to terrify and be used for something else. I still freeze.
Sunday morning I do Richard Rohr’s exercise.
Identify the hurt.
Stop fighting it.
There is the monster.
You are part of me.
He leaves behind the Master’s role
she welcomes him, and I am whole,
I wrote, twenty years ago. I am not there yet. What was I thinking?
The monster is an echo of my mother’s- I don’t know. It felt as frightening as a murderous rage, to a baby unable to walk. Possibly irritation. Possibly an anger all the deeper because it would be suppressed, held within, as she did her duty, possibly denied to herself- I do not know my mother, only glimpses of her that are apparently inconsistent or opposite but in reality different facets of a huge shimmering complex jewel, as complex as any human. She controlled herself as rigorously as she controlled me.
I am that baby feeling that terror. It is better that I freeze, showing no sign of resistance or unhappiness, than that I express my feelings and experience the terror of the external threat, my mother’s displeasure. So I internalise it. It becomes The Monster, seeking whom it may devour. And then it fades into the unconscious.
-What are you frightened of, she asked me, ten years ago.
“The Monster will get me,” I said. And it seemed bizarre, impossibly childish, unimaginable. It was all unconscious.
It is Cerberus, it is capable of such rage. And yet it is mine, in me, part of me, is me. It could be an Alsatian, joyously playful, bounding after a ball, or trotting to heel on a chain yet ready, able to growl at a threat, or even fight it if necessary.
she welcomes him
At least I know it is possible. Rohr’s exercise is different.
Welcome the grief.
Welcome the anger.
Transformation can begin.
I am not sure I am there. I have been weeping with the anguish of it, this Sunday morning. For Rohr it is feeling the pain of all humanity- which each human feels and so no human can escape except by denial. Others have other pain. This is mine. Now, as I write in order to analyse, understand, and possibly lay a trail of breadcrumbs others might follow (well, I do want to sell this story eventually) I feel terribly tired. I must get ready for morning worship.
Transformation can begin. This is my work now. To take that angry part of me to my heart, and transfigure it. It is all Light. It is only Light.