Monsters: Sharing Stories
The "Monsters Inside Us" is a series of sketches I started when I was feeling really sad one day and was trying to find a way to turn that emotion into something both positive and tangible.
For more on the series you can click here.
Since I just used this picture for a blog on my other site (to check it out click here)
I thought it would be a good idea to use this space to talk about the meaning of this drawing specifically.
The Monsters Inside Us series is about our shadow self-- the part of ourselves that we dislike (maybe even hate) and try to run from. The shadow represents all of the pieces of us that we feel are "wrong," depending on your values it might include things like: anger, rage, shame, weakness, fear, sexuality, desire, etc.
Since we label them as wrong and we want to see ourselves as good we then tend to separate ourselves from them. We fracture ourselves so that we don't have to be associated with the things the natural feelings, instincts and drives that make us human (this is not usually done consciously) and then we spend a whole lot of time and energy running from and fighting these "monsters" that we create from all the broken "wrong" parts of us. The problem is that these "monsters" are not actually "wrong". They just are and even more importantly they ARE part of us whether we want them to be or not.
The reason this is so problematic is that basically we are using up all of our energy to either fight with or run from ourselves and creating a cycle of destructive behavior in an attempt to do the impossible (get away from ourselves). No matter how fast you run you can never out run your shadow. So then what?
In this picture the person finally stops running and fighting and TALKS to his/her shadow monster. The shadow monster is not actually trying to hurt the person, he/she is just wanting to express him/herself. Basically the shadow monster is asking for the "right" to exist. It only wants to be validated as a part of a whole.
So in this illustration the person stops running and lets the shadow monster share his/her experiences and in doing so the shadow monster becomes less monstrous and more "human." There is a sense of compassion shared between the person and the monster and realization that they are the same after all-- neither good nor bad but just a self with a need to be expressed and from this expression comes the possibility of a healthy relationship between the two. Then instead of using up all that energy to either fight with or run from his/ her self, the person and monster can combine their strength to do something positive.
Maybe things like anger, fear, desire etc don't have to be so big and scary after all. Maybe they can work with the conscious part of the mind to do something beautiful and amazing.
I've been learning recently that powerful doesn't have to be terrifying. It just is and when used for a constructive purpose it IS AMAZING.