There was a time when my daughter was very scared of monsters. These were nights of 3a room visits and long conversations in the dark. Nights when the blinking light on the smoke detector threatened to eat her in her sleep.

During the day, we could talk openly about her fears and I tried to find humor and perspective for my Dear One. “Face your monsters,” I’d say. “Monsters chase us when we run. But, when you turn to face them, they either run away or they play with you.”

So, one day we tried to look straight at the monsters and get to know them…

 

Wolves

BEING A MONSTER IS LIKE….

E = my daughter’s answers, Age 5
M = My answers, Age unnecessary

E – gobbling up chips really fast

M – knocking down a door when you try to open it.

E – Eating everything around you when you are hungry

M – trying to bounce a basketball and it goes through the floor.

E – Winning every basketball game because people are scared of you.

M – Being scared of the light instead of the dark

E – they like to sleep in your room all night and protect you. In the morning, they are in your room with the lights and blinds off.

M – looking in the mirror and startling yourself

E – being scared of your shadow

M – trying to watch TV but your fingers are too big for the remote control buttons

E – …So he just kicked the TV

M – wanting to make friends but everyone just runs away.

E – eating everything (including the jar) in one bite

M – loving camping and scary stories around a campfire

E – when you sleep in a tent, make sure to bring meat to eat

M – trying not to scare the bears

E – he wants to see wildlife, but he can’t because he’s a monster!

M – what does a monster eat while camping?!

E – Meat.

E – Rock climbing is awesome for a monster

This exercise made us laugh and gave us something funny to remember at bedtime as the lights went out.  Now, three years later, I hear her creating stories full of scary but empathetic monsters just struggling through life like the rest of us.

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I think, right now, I am really scared of monsters. But mine don’t come at night, they are here all the time and I just keep running. It’s scary to feel chased; a serious fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. Adrenaline. Fear. I don’t dare stop running or look back. We all know that when you look back, you trip on a tree branch and get eaten. We know. So, just look ahead. And run hard til you get to town.

I’m not following my own advice, though.

Have you ever done that? … Not followed your own advice?

So, today I am vowing to turn around and face my monsters… to name them and examine them.

Hello, Monster, What’s your name?

Loneliness– no one cares
Criticism– if anyone cares, it is only to criticize

Shame– you suck
Disqualification– no more tries allowed
Failure– wasted time and energy

I’m ready to see which ones run away and which ones I will learn to play with.

What about you? What monsters are chasing you?  Are you ready to face them today?

-Nicole