The Monster In Me: A Poem

As a child I wanted to explore everything

Wanting to understand all I saw

Following stories of scientists and detectives

My role models were the kinds that wore uniforms and lab coats

But one day I got lost

I followed a rabbit where I shouldn’t have gone

 

All of a sudden, I started falling downward

Down, down, down

In love

In drama

In worlds far beyond my reach

I got lost in the stories

And in the stories I found a monster

The monster lashed out at my own friends

for not acting in a certain way

The monster despised the world I lived in,

preferring the chaos of her wonderland

Illusions became more valuable than gold

And all I could do was write

Write the monster’s laments as if they were my own

How little did I know, how quickly did I grow

 

In a large barren dust bowl,

my monster told me her name

Autism was her species

Aspergers, her claim to fame

She wasn’t the result of faulty software

but built by the creator with a different hardware

She processed my thoughts, filtering them like coffee

Strong and harsh and bitter at times

until I added some milk or some artificial sweet

to make some version of me complete.

I denied this monster’s existence for a long time

Still lost in the harsh blinding sun

Far from what I used to know.

I put her in a drawer,

hoping she’d be forgotten,

falling for the lies of different monsters instead.

These monsters came

in the form of handsome men

And it wasn’t until they were gone

that I realized they never saved me.

 

My monster came back with a vengeance

as I transitioned from high school to college.

We walked on a tightrope

between the dark wonderland we knew

and a land of a thousand stars that shined in the distance

My monster and I fell down again

but landed in a safety net

in the land of a thousand stars

Stars that shone brightly in the dark, black sky

But I loved each new day as much as the night.

I started introducing my monster to my friends

who were surprised she even existed.

Little did either of us know

that this starry paradise had hunters in the foxholes.

 

One night, I was caught in a tidal wave

and found myself naked for all to see

My monster took over and started shrieking

singing out her agony

We drowned in a torrent of negative thoughts

with no one to save us

Nobody helped.

As the tide washed out,

the Queen of Foxhunters took us to court

and commanded my monster to chop off her own head.

Instead, we ran as far as we could

away from the heartless queen and her hunters.

 

We made a plan to work together.

The monster learned to be more like the others

And I hid safely inside a white tent

until a knight in shining armor

came and asked me to dance with him.

My monster was puzzled by this new man

And sometimes she would cover my mouth.

While I worried about why my white knight

seemed to be walking a tightrope of his own.

 

Then all of a sudden

Everything started falling away

Changing too fast for either me or my monster to handle.

The white knight got on his horse and rode off without us

Then we lost a beloved friend

Then we had to leave the starry land

No more games in the clean, white tent.

No solid ground, no safety net.

 

Wandering around, we got stuck in a rut

Lost in a maze with no way out

A little maiden in the maze started stringing us along

But when we came to a dead end,

the maiden became a minotaur

My monster couldn’t handle the minotaur’s strength

With a pierce of a horn, my monster lost

She fell down again

Shattered

Crying

And I limped along with my monster to safety

Not looking back, fearing the minotaur’s chasing.

 

Out of the labyrinth, we got caught in a storm

Constant rain pouring down on us.

But we stayed in the storm and let it wash us clean

It became the source of our growth, the source of our healing

The water healed my monster and stopped the bleeding.

Then the rain was gone and the sun came out.

I saw a reflection of the monster in the water

Except the reflection was that of my face

The monster was inside me all along.

Like a softer Hyde to my little Jekyll

or a female version of that big green thing

The monster’s still in me, being sought by the hunters

Too bad they don’t know I have the strength to protect her

After all, she’s a part of me

 

She’s the armor I wear and the tears that I shed

She’s the sword in my hand and the thoughts in my head

She’s my curiosity, insatiable in her hunger

Devouring knowledge and building new dreams

She’s a part of me without being all of me

And I wouldn’t want it any other way

 

What I Learned From My California Vacation

Sometimes vacations can be a lot of fun. Sometimes, they feel way too short. But for my California vacation, it seemed like I learned a lot about myself, things I never realized before. It wasn’t some big spiritual epiphany like in Eat, Pray, Love, but a lot of little things.

The first thing I learned is that although I liked getting dressed up for my cousin’s big 18th birthday party, I felt like I was wearing a costume. I hated having fake nails and while the dress I wore was beautiful, it was not easy to dance in. Also, I’m pretty sure my big toe is still hurting from wearing platform sandals all night. Sometimes, you have to play around with the idea of being something you’re not in order to figure out what kind of person you are.

The second thing I learned was that the best times I had during the vacation were whenever I was having a low-key element of fun. Singing karaoke, line dancing, or just having dinner with friends, I loved it all. But the most fun I had was whenever I went off on my own to have adventures. I learned that when it comes to being alone, there are good times and bad times, but sometimes, you can be your own best friend.

The third thing I learned was that I had a lot of emotional healing to do. The one thing I was afraid of when I went back to Los Angeles was running into people I didn’t want to see. Thankfully, I didn’t. But I don’t want the people who’ve hurt me in the past to have this power over me anymore. In the past few weeks, I found ways to forgive them. The pain won’t go away overnight, but I’m getting there and getting better.

The last thing I learned while I was in California was that I found that I can really write. The trip ended at the same time that the Writer’s Digest Poem A Day Challenge ended, so I spent my last day of vacation reflecting on the fact that I wrote 30+ poems in a single month. I also left California with an idea for a new character and a better plot outline for my novel. Although I’m nowhere close to publishing anything, I feel like I’m a better writer now than when I lived in California all those years ago.

So now I’m spending my time perfecting my writing. What’s next for me? You’ll find out this summer.

Lent Day 3: Broken, Refined, Polished, Restored

Fr. Robert Barron’s Lent Reflection today compared humanity as diamonds covered in the muck of sin. This reminds me of a verse from Malachi 3:3

He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.

Life is never an easy road. There are times that break us, times that test us, and times that heal us.

Today, I will post about a time that broke me.

This post is gonna get personal, so bear with me. I posted something about this in my first blog entry, but tonight, I’m gonna tell you about what happened in detail.

WARNING: If you have any emotional triggers tied to emotional abuse or manipulative and toxic friendships, please skip  to the end of the post which will have a cute picture of where I ate lunch today.

Back when I was in college, I had a friend whom I will call Narcissus Vanitas or NV for short. NV was the complete opposite of me, but he (using “he” as a gender-neutral pronoun) was there for me during a time that I really needed a friend. During my last two years of college, NV became my best friend and I helped him out during his own hard times.

However, last year things took a dark turn. Without even noticing, NV became codependent. He called me a lot, but I just thought it was just because we were helping each other with our writing. My subconscious started noticing that things were off, though, because whenever I wrote poetry, I wrote about having to leave a friend or feeling like I was being stabbed in the back.

It turned out that my intuition was right. NV wanted me for himself in the worst way. His constant calls were a way of isolating me from my family. He wanted me to change my name and all of my e-mails and cut myself off from my friends. Things went too far on March 7th, 2013 when he told me that he wanted to take my innocence. I was caught in the illusion, but my family staged an intervention and took my phone away before things could get worse.

At first, I was seriously defensive of NV until my parents gave me some perspective about the situation. I called NV for the last time that night, trying my best to try and cut things off without making it seem like my parents were making me say what I needed to say. But in the end, silence was the best answer I had to give him.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with cutting myself off from my now former best friend. But when I went to sleep that night, I dreamt of something. I saw myself at the cross, trying to hold onto it. Then NV appeared from out of nowhere and dragged me away from the cross. I kicked and screamed, telling him to let me go.

Ultimately, it was that dream that made me realize that my friend was leading me away from God, trying to hide it under the illusion of this whole “us against the world” complex that NV had.

At that point, I was broken. (Listen to Matt Maher’s “Empty and Beautiful” and you pretty much got how I felt during this time.) It took months for me to get myself together. I found new friends in places I never knew, found a strong support system through my family, and now, a year later, I can say that I have been restored.

As for what I wish I could’ve told NV, to quote my favorite character from Once Upon a Time…

YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE WHAT I DO OR HOW I FEEL, I DO!

Also Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” because NV hates Taylor Swift. Yes, I’m immature.

Have a drink from In-N-Out, where I ate today. On me.

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