It’s true! Whatever monster, specter, obsession is haunting you right now? It lives in your very own head. Which means it belongs to you, and you can do what you want with it. Dress it up in your grandmother’s hat, put roller skates on all of its legs, shrink it down to 1/10th of its present size — absolutely anything.
We get this mixed up sometimes, I think. Something huge rears its ugly head in our heads and we’re like “Aaagh! Something bad is happening and there’s nothing I can do!” And we hunker down and cower in the corner until it’s over.
But there IS something you can do. It’s your monster, so talk to it. Work with it. Make it do your bidding.
I know that some monsters are massive and terrifying and you might need some help to deal with them. But honestly? Most of them are pretty standard issue, nothing special about them — we just picked them up from living at this place and time in history. Like, I dunno, obsession with one’s thigh size, or paranoia at what other people are thinking about you and your life choices, or thinking you’re an incompetent fraud and it’s only a matter of time until everyone finds out.
These kinds of insecurities have been drilled into our heads from the moment we arrived on this planet, but they are not accurate reflections of reality, right? I mean, your thighs are just thighs. And even if someone is judging you, are you really going to live according to their judgements? And you’re not a fraud, you’re just lacking confidence because you were raised to believe that fitting in is more important than courage.
And you know all this, of course, but these monsters are still real, and sometimes they still flare up, and in that moment it is very easy to allow them to take possession of your body. But this is the thing we are trying to avoid — shutting down and letting them take control. Because they can do a lot of damage … plus once they get going, it’s hard to quiet them down again.
So what can you do? Well, first, try to understand them. Try to keep them calm as much as possible. And when they do rise up, do your best to limit the detonation radius. Remember that they belong to you, they live inside your head, and they are, in fact, your responsibility.
The cool thing is, by learning to deal with your own, you become better able to deal with other people’s, too. You don’t take them so personally. And you become a shining example of what it looks like someone has a small, chilled-out monster entourage (it looks pretty good).
Life becomes a thousand times easier when you stop fearing and fighting the contents of your own head. It works a lot better to acknowledge that there’s some weird shit in there, and try to get to know how it operates. What triggers it? What quiets it down?
You are bigger than your monsters. You can handle them.