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Monsters This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

When I was young monsters were real, visible things. Things that were ugly, scary, and easy to spot. They had crooked teeth, sharp nails, wild hair, and they did not smell that pleasant. Monsters lurked in dark places, and could be conquered by covering up with a blanket and clutching my teddy bear tightly to my chest. If all else failed, a simple shout brought my mother or father running, a conqueror in shining armor, ready to vanquish all foes, brandishing their grown-up-ness like a weapon, setting out to slay all monsters on demand. As a child I easily identify monsters, and that made me feel safer, more secure. Once located, defeat is simple.

As I grew older, I thought that my disease was a monster; that there were spiders living in my stomach, devouring me from the inside out. These spiders had red eyes, they were black and big, and they laughed as they tasted my pain. I thought that the medicine I was taking was magic, which would fight off these monster spiders. The needle pokes, IVs and surgeries all working through the hands of my magician doctors to help me in the end. Maybe it was because I always read too much, but that is what I imagined.

Then I grew older still, and I realized that monsters are more permanently located inside of my head. They are invisible, and claw and cling to me, feeding off of my insecurities. Heightening my fears, deepening my depression, adding more fat to my thighs. Twisting and convoluting through my thoughts. They point out the wrinkles in my dad’s face, snicker and show me the grey strands in my mom’s hair. They tell me what I missed in my sisters’ lives by moving away, and how much they need me. They circle through my mind whispering “fat fat fat fat fat” and remind me of the pills I could take, the cuts I could make, the hunger I could fake, and the promises I could break to take my mind off of everything for a while. Because monsters, you see, are really the darkest parts of your mind taking form and expressing your deepest fears while denying you the solace your cognizance should offer.




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