This is a legacy post from a blog I wrote in 2018 about language, storytelling, and the shape of things. Delivered here straight from the archives, please enjoy the following issue of The Quiet Post.
Hey, you. It’s been sort of rough lately, hasn’t it? The world. Life. Politics. Family. Mental health. I can tell. Not everything sucks, of course. You’re really good—seriously an ace—at uncovering moments of happiness, but still. There’s something soft inside that hurts.
Guess what, though. I’ve got a dozen monsters lined up over here, breathing down my neck, and they’re all waiting to tell you how great you’re doing. They might be unsightly, sure, but they strike me as pretty keen observers. They claim it’s because of all the time they’ve spent watching us from the shadows.
This strange horse (?) told me it’s stabbed a thousand men and women with its venomous stinger, and that you are seriously looking great today. Is that a new outfit? New haircut? In any case, keep it up!
This, um, octopus introduced itself as the lord of the deep, and would like to remind you that you have so many people in your life who love you. So many. It suggests making a list of them, and then calling at least two.
This self-proclaimed behemoth was wiping drool from its lips as it told me how super smart you are, and how you know all kinds of interesting facts and stories. It might not feel like it, the behemoth continued, but that’s because you’re always judging yourself against the collective of human knowledge. Stop that.
This unicycle would like to remind you that there is no default skin color, body shape, gender, ability, or sexuality. You, as you are, are a unique facet of this weird human tapestry. The bird agreed.
This fish monster wanted to tell you that you’re enough. That you’re doing enough. That your actions count, even when they’re small. That you can’t singlehandedly topple cultural structures, but personal change in small communities is enough to change the world. “Tiny things add up,” it burbled.
This furry manifestation of anger and malice is incredibly impressed by how kind you are. The kindest kind of person out of kind city. Also, how well you balance kindness with firmness and truth. You’re no doormat, either. Nice work, you!
This handsome equine broke a lot of furniture as it stampeded around the room, shouting about how your emotions are real, but they’re also not reality. It’s okay to have them and it’s also okay to second-guess them, or ignore them, or follow them, or let them go.
This reclusive creature went on and on from within its shell about how good you are at taking care of yourself, about how you deserve time alone and time with friends and time to do something that makes you happy.
This—ah—thing would like to remind you to breathe. Right now. Take a deep breath and let it out. “Yes, that’s good,” it said. “Very good. Veeeery goooood. Mmmm.” It proceeded to make a series of chewing noises.
This robotic spider-lumberjack kept referring to you as a “tree for the felling,” but nevertheless was sincerely, deeply proud of you for getting out of bed this morning. It was said without an ounce of condescension. Really, very proud. You know how hard that can be sometimes? Super hard.
This worm spoke about how you are so many different people in so many different situations throughout so many different stages of life, and that this is wonderful and valuable and that you are not one thing but one thousand glowing things, good and bad and painful and joyful and you.
This birdlike monster swooped in through a closed window, shattering it and sending glass everywhere, and then stood darkly in a corner and said no matter what’s happening, or how you’re feeling, that you are made of brightness. A lightning-powered machine. That’s pretty awesome.
This week will be exactly as good or bad as it will be. You’re doing great. Take it from the monsters.