My Monster Ethel

The trees out back where Ethel lived…

Sometimes a monster only needs to be  kissed in order for it to be turned into a beautiful prince or princess.  Choosing today to give a hug and a kiss to my monsters.  Some days that may be all it takes to make the ugly in your life become a wonderful experience. 

It is big. It is ugly.  It has hair down it’s back.  It has a big, loud, thunderous voice that screams when the light of day if flashed it’s way.  It has warts on it’s nose, and a mole on it’s cheek that has a long hair growing out of it.  It sits on my chest when I am overwhelmed.  It sits on my head when I am in deep thought.  It twists my heart when I feel threatened.  It stands on my feet when I need to move.  My monster, Ethel.  Yes, it has a name and yes, it is a woman.

My monster comes out when I am at the times that I when I fear the most.  Sometimes she grabs my throat and reduces me to silent screams.  Sometimes she punches me so hard, that I verbally lash out to all those around me.  Most of the time she grabs me from behind and hold me still.  It looks like I am moving, but I am not going anywhere because Ethel has a hold of me.  I first noticed Ethel as a child, I would get a large sense of anxiety – panic – at the thought of our family moving.  And because my father was a Pastor, this was a just part of life and,  it did occur a few times.  And each time for me was traumatic.  Move to another city, so did Ethel.  Move to another school, so did Ethel.  Move to another church, there was Ethel.

Ethel’s job was to take the pain, fear, anger, sadness, and hurt away.  Ethel came became my friend when I could not talk to anyone.  Ethel became my alternate personality, when the real me could not perform.  When my  marriage was not working the way I thought it should,  Ethel’s marriage was not working either.  Staff that would not cooperate, Ethel was on the scene.  Friends not dependable, Ethel took care of it.  With each passing year that I did not get a handle on Ethel, she became stronger and stronger, and I withdrew and became weaker.  Ethel did things that I did not want to do.  Ethel joined groups that I did not want to join.  Ethel began to say things that I did not want to say.  Yep, Ethel was large and in control.

Until the day I realized that I was really Ethel.  I had become the Monster in my life.  I was the worse kind, the invisible monster.  No one else saw it, but I knew that any given moment, my monster would come out.  My monster was passive, rarely loud, but her inactivity spoke volumes.  I did not like it.  I needed to get rid of that ugly part of me.  The part of me that could decide not care at the drop of a dime.  The part of me that would let go of relationships and people for no reason in particular.  The part of me that held on to hurts, and pains with a simmering anger and a smoldering rage.  The part of me that was “nice nasty”.

I discovered that at the core of it all was the need to feel secure.  The need for safety.  The need to know that I whether you liked or loved me did not matter on what I said, or did.  Security.  That is what Ethel wanted, and that is what I needed.  And so I reached deep inside, and gave Ethel a hug.  Not one of those church hugs, taps on the back,  and fake smooches on the cheek hug, but a long deep, two arms around you that nothing can break it hug.  A hug that let’s you know that I have you no matter what.  A hug that let her know that she was loved, accepted, safe and appreciated.    I hugged her to let her know that she did not have to keep fighting.  That she had done her best to be the protector, and she had done a wonderful job, but now it was time for her to let go.  I kissed her on her forehead, and said good-bye.

That was the most freeing and liberating thing I have ever done.  And it has led to wonderful experiences that I would never been able to have if I still had Ethel in the corner of my life. Sometimes our monsters only need a hug and kiss to be put in perspective

We have to know that there is a reason for the monsters in our lives.  Our monsters serve a real purpose.  Our monsters may be there for our safety.  Many monsters are created out of fear.  Monsters can be there for protection.  Monsters can be our guilt and monsters can be our shame.  There are monsters of loss and monsters of gain.  Whatever the reason your monster is with you, it may be time to give them a hug and a kiss and watch them change into something that is beautiful wonderful and marvously made.

Sure there are days when I miss Ethel, and even days when she comes to visit.  But she does not take up residence in my life anymore.  I tell her about the things that are going on with me, and  share with her my life, laughter, love, joy and even the pain and hurts, because it is all a part of my life today .  So give your monster a hug and a kiss and watch you change.

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