My Monster

“How lucky am I to have a monster on my side?” – Amanda Parker

My friend, singer/songwriter Amanda Parker wrote a song about creating a monster to protect you from all the things that might hurt you. As I sat on the patio at Oast House listening to Amanda sing, I thought about how we’ve all patched together these monsters. How we’ve taken dead or dying parts of our experience and resurrected them into half-blind, stumbling beasts with gaping mouths, pressed into protective service.

The man I love told me that he can feel the truth in people that they themselves cannot admit. That it’s so incredibly frustrating to see this, but also see how unaware they are of this truth, or how hard they try to deny it. Days before he said this, I’d uttered these exact words to a girlfriend, about him. We’ve found common ground in this statement, and once again our dynamic has been the laboratory for another groundbreaking personal revelation. 

My sexuality is a frankenmonster. 

I love sex. It’s a sacred and profound experience to me when the elements are right. But that perfect recipe requires me to love so deeply and wholly, to lay open my soul and be completely vulnerable, that I can no longer face that with authenticity. I have loved so beautifully from this place, but my trust has been compromised again and again.

So I started digging up dead things and piecing them together:
The awkward, painful moments of my youth, where nobody wanted to kiss me when we played spin the bottle became a constant need to feel like I am sexually attractive to other people. And a constant need to sexualize others.

The excruciating pain of a legacy of unfaithful partners became a rejection of monogamy.  A declaration that even within the confines of a healthy, loving relationship, I would eventually need to seek someone else out. An insistence that whomever I am with be on board with that, before even learning how fulfilling our own sex life could be.

A fear that the most interesting thing about me was my sexuality grew into measuring my sexual vitality in terms of quantity, not quality. A belief that a wide array of lovers was proof positive that I was a vibrant, sexual being.

This monster isn’t keeping me safe. It’s holding me hostage, and it’s time to get out the pitchforks and torches. I need to bury this beast and step into either loving, or healing, with my whole heart. 

I don’t need other people to validate my sexual worth. I can feel my fire every single day, in my solitude as much as in a crowd. I can reserve that sacred space for someone who I connect with deeply, or if I have to, I can allow myself time to let go of and honour that love, before anyone else steps in. My sexual fire won’t diminish if I tend to it myself for a while. 

I deserve to continue to believe that it’s possible to be wholly sexually satisfied by one person. When I love, my heart wants nobody else. My body can feel this too. I deserve to believe that the sacred, sexual space I create with someone who loves me will be a safe space where we make it whatever we both need it to be.

I deserve to tear this monster to pieces and see who I am without it lurching ahead of me. 

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein after three of her babies died. We cannot give life to what we must let go. We cannot piece together fetid pieces of our experience and expect something great to result from such experiments.

I created my monster because I gave up on love, but love has saved me from the fire over and over again. It’s impossible to deny the healing and growth I’ve felt when I’ve leaned into the authenticity of my own heart. I don’t need a monster anymore, because I know how well I can protect myself. 

What is your monster made of?

“Soon these burning miseries will be extinct.” – Mary Shelley