Maybe Kevin Spacey is a monster, but it doesn’t shock me. Did you think rapists lived in coiled caves and drank blood under full moons, growing fur around their ankles? Monsters are not born in boiled mountains, fed on ash and bones. They are made out of gaping wounds, excuses, selfishness, the stupidity that comes from trying to do the right thing with your eyes closed. I’ve never murdered or raped anyone but I know the potential exists inside of me because I’ve been selfish and have convinced myself that I am doing the right thing when I hurt another human being out of some misplaced desire. It’s extremely unlikely, but also possible that I could become so angry that I’d tear someone’s throat out and boil a mother’s milk for my tea. Everytime someone does something terrible, I don’t feel shocked, I just feel saddened. But maybe because I know I wouldn’t shock myself.

On my DeviantART (Which I first made back in 2007 or so) I had the tagline, “Portrait of a Monster.” The first time I said I was a monster, it just felt right. It fit into the hole that I’d carved out of myself. Maybe I didn’t deserve the title of monster back then, but you can be sure that in the years since I’ve hurt a fair number of people. Sometimes just for the fun of it, or because I was bored, like I was just a casual acquaintance to reality and I could dip out anytime I wanted. I wasn’t trying to be bad, not really, but whenever I got close to real consequences of my actions I’d slip back into the carved bone of my fantasy, back into the excuse of being a walking disaster.

“Haha, all writers are terrible.”

“Haha, I’m a monster.”

Yes, I am a monster, no LOL attached, but I told myself it was okay because it’s not like they didn’t deserve it. For years I was abused, castigated, verbally flagellated, shunned, lured into traps, lured into falling in love, hurt by wounds disguised as people, hurt by people who wanted nothing to do with a woman who was like a broken toy. It was only fair – the whole world deserved to suffer because they had made me suffer. As far as I was concerned, everyone was a sinner and it wasn’t justice I wanted, it was revenge. Revenge for people’s stupidity and ignorance. Revenge for their cow eyes and their faces like broken light bulbs and the way they shamed me for being different. I saw no escape from the pain, so I created armor made out of broken glass and wisdom teeth. I envied Dostoevsky’s Underground Man. I envied the Grizzly Man. I was obsessed with stories about feral children but I never understood why they’d become rehabilitated back into society, because I wanted to run wild with animals forever. I fed my writing on self-loathing and outwardly directed anger and thought that maybe if I cultivated some kind of talent I’d create a shield between me and the world.

But the cashier at the 7-11 who’s a little slow and the girl on her phone with the husky at the dog park don’t deserve the wrath that was heaped upon me by 27 years of suffering. It’s not anyone’s fault except maybe God’s that the world was only functioning on mechanisms that were laid out since the beginning of time – and it doesn’t matter how much I yell at the ocean the waves won’t pull back, and my pain won’t go away.

Not like that.

It’s easy to be a monster. There are many of us, and we are even kind sometimes, and talented, and know how to smile. Some of us are worse than others. But we live here with you all the same.

Maybe there are good people out there who wouldn’t dream of ever doing something heinous, because they were raised with love and knee-pads, but most of us are mish-mashed balls of semi-catastrophe, waiting to explode into emotional blindspots and accuse others of our failings. We pour our pain ice-cube trays so we can freeze it and pop it out whenever we want. We tattoo pain onto our ribs. “Look at me, I hurt,” like that excuses the hurting. I see so many posts on Reddit that say something like – my boyfriend lays on the couch and does nothing, he ignores me, sometimes verbally abuses me, criticizes me, gets angry at the drop of a hat, I feel unloved. Followed up with – “Is he depressed?!”

It doesn’t really matter if he’s depressed, it doesn’t make the pain that he gives to other people any less significant. There are no excuses, not really, just causes and effects.

If you feel like a monster, that’s okay. It can’t all be fixed today.

You just can’t forget: No amount of hurt that’s been buried inside of you will ever justify the amount of hurt you give to others.

No amount of pain inflicted will make your own pain go away.

Because that’s how monsters are created.

That’s why I lumber out in the backyard feeling a howl grip my throat.

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