Tuesday, August 10, 2010

quarter life monsters

quarter life monsters
under my bed & within my head

the term "quarter life-crisis" always struck me as a bit dramatic. don't get me wrong- i'm in no way trying to diminish the magnitude of a quarter life-crisis, but just as with the 'terror level' in america, the name instantly sets a tone...and it isn't an uplifting one. why couldn't psychologists dub it the more friendly, "quarter life-kerfuffle"? i for one wouldn't mind talking about that ad nauseum. whereas admitting that i might be in the throes of a life crisis (amidst my early-to-mid twenties, no less) is overwhelming and kind of embarrassing. i'd even settle for the appropriate "quarter life-cluster fuck" or the alliterative, "quarter life-quandary" having the word crisis in the title is the equivalent to having death in the name of an illness- it doesn't instill a feeling of optimism.

i keep telling myself if i don't classify it as a crisis then it isn't one. this theory was born of another that worked out great when i was a child. as a fresh faced babe i was terrified of the dark. i had night terrors and trouble turning off my mind...a normal sleep pattern is something i've never known. my parents chosen form of protection was in a monster-light (which was actually just a normal lamp with a colored bulb...my parents stopped at nothing in their quest to help me get to sleep soundly) but nothing could ease my restless mind.

i had a particular fear of wolverine hiding under my bed. if i where i to move just a fraction of an inch his giant blades would tear up through my mattress- slicing each and every one of the major organs housed in my tiny body. nightly i would stand atop my bed and jump on different pieces of furniture in order to escape his clutches.

my bed wasn't the only place i feared. in my mind my closet was a portal to another world. during the day- it was where all my dreams came true. i would climb into it and close the door- pretending i was an astronaut locking myself in the shuttle. when i would open it again my bedroom would transform into a new world. with the flick of a switch that dreamworld would turn into a horrorfest. i never knew what exactly was so terrifying inside my closet, all i knew at that age was that i was not to go in there when it was dark.

i'm not sure if it came out of sincere concern or he was sick and tired of having me come into their bed to sleep night after night, but my father finally broke down my monster-walls. he put me back to bed one evening and simply told me to close my eyes and go to sleep. to help ease my fears he did a run down of my room; first flipping up my bed skirt- nothing there; then he pulled back my bi-fold closet doors- still no monsters. he assured me that i was the only one besides him in the room and the monsters i feared so much only lived in my head. he then proceeded to slip his legs under my bed and scream, "oh my god- ashley help! they've got me!! HELP!" i burst into tears and began screaming as well.

some might mark this milestone as traumatic one. others might tearfully recount the events to a therapist later on in life. but in my slightly-off young mind i understood my fathers intentions, even if his execution gave me nightmares for weeks afterwards. his attempt was to teach me that even if there were monsters under my bed they could fucking eat my father, so for me it was certain death. there is a sense of comfort in knowing that the man you see as untouchable could also be nomnom'd on by some subconscious creatures.

after scaring the shit out of me my father gave me a big hug. "i'm sorry honey, i didn't think you would get that scared. everything is ok- i was just playing around with you. monsters are silly and they are not real- you should laugh at them instead of crying about them." with big, blue, tear filled eyes i looked up at him. my superman just told me everything was going to be ok and i should laugh about it.
"but seriously ashley...go to sleep, it's late. i'm done joking- close your eyes and it will all go away."

i wish i could say that in the trying times i've faced in recent months that i've clung to my fathers positive advice from years ago. truth be told if i had chosen to believe that everything was going to be ok and that i should be laughing about my worries versus crying about them, i'd probably be on more stable emotional footing. instead i chose to close my eyes and believe it would all go away.

my world has taken a shift and i don't like what's going on within it. i don't like seeing people act in ways that are unbecoming. i don't understand how people can treat each other in such terrible ways sometimes. i don't like feeling anger grow inside of me. i don't want to live in a society that throws respect away in order to be more self-sufficient. the shroud of negative energy that surrounds me this summer is a self imposed one. i've placed myself in a position where i don't actually have to engage with people. i've not been ostracized as much as i've been awol. even knowing that, i've found it hard to shake this feeling of having no fucking idea what i'm doing with my life. i push as hard as i possibly can when it comes to work not knowing if i'm going in a direction that will lead me to ultimate satisfaction.

i feel like i'm on a scavenger hunt looking for little scraps of happiness. along my walk through life i've picked up all sorts of things that bring me joy. one day i believe i'll be able to construct a whole world for myself filled with all the things that i enjoy. the tricky part with life is that yes, you will find things that fill you to the brim with excitement and elation but you will also have to deal with things that bring you unmeasurable pain. it's how life balances itself out.

so, am i in the middle of a "quarter life-crisis"? i can't lick the envelope on that one just yet. if i admit that's where i am then in a way i'll have admitted defeat. as for now, all i can do is continue to ride out this storm and remind myself that monsters aren't real- and life isn't worth crying over...and if that doesn't work keeping the lights on never killed anyone.

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