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Monster in the Closet

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Dear Monster in the Closet,

You may see yourself as a monster. You may view yourself as a horrifying, grotesque being. You may look at yourself and see someone unworthy, undesired, unloved. You may cringe as you glance in the mirror, expecting everyone else to do the same. If you see a monster, everyone else must see a monster. Monster, you may have an idea of what will happen once you open that closet door. Your mind may rattle off a thousand scenarios.

First, you cautiously creak open the door. You attempt to be as soundless as possible. Then, you tiptoe carefully, placing each foot lightly on the carpet. You pause to scan the bedroom, looking right and looking left. This is similar to the method of crossing a road or entering a danger zone. But you see no danger here. You sigh, relieved. You are alone. You take one more step, with less caution now, and reveal yourself. Somebody screams. Your heart races, knowing that the scream is one of terror … terror of you … the monster. A child runs from one corner of the room to her bed in fear. She hides under her covers and pulls her blanket up to the brim of her nose. Her eyes overflow with tears. She wails. She screams. She yells, “MONSTER!”

But Monster – sweet, beautiful Monster – you are not grotesque. You are not horrifying. You are worthy. You are desired. You are loved. Fear, anxiety, insecurity creates the monstrous image the mirror beholds. Except you are not your fear, your anxiety does not control your life, and your insecurities do not make you a monster.

So Monster – or Ted, Angela, Charles or whoever you truly are – do not be afraid. The world will not wail, will not scream, will not yell when it sees the true you. The world will look at you, Monster, and still see Ted, Angela, Charles – the world will still see you. I think you’ll realize that once you open that door, “Monster” is the last thing you will be called.

Maybe in movies, the real reason monsters hide in the closet is because they are afraid people will not accept them. Maybe they are hiding diffidently from the monsters outside the closet, the ones who say they are not good enough. Maybe if the people outside the closet opened their arms wide with acceptance rather than closed their minds with fear, the monster would have no reason to act the way monsters act.

But life is no movie and you are no monster. No matter what you are hiding – a love for “Dragon Tales,” mental health issues, a desire to crochet, beliefs contrasting your peers’, your aspirations, a fondness towards Donald Trump, your hidden sexuality, your untold failures—you do not have to hide anymore. The people outside that closet – your friends, your girlfriend, your family, your coach – will not yell, “Monster.” We will accept you. We will still love you. So, Monster, come out of that closet.

Love,

Your cheerleaders from outside the closet

favaro1@stolaf.edu