We like to think monsters hide under beds, in closets, in the dark skittering corners of alleys. We cast them as The Others in our ongoing head-sagas. It’s rare to find the courage to actually look for a monster, because we all know where monsters live. They live in our hearts. They live in the hearts of your grandparents, your coworkers, your teachers. They live in you. They live out in the open, bathed in the light, right alongside us, and we shield our eyes from the glint of the sun on their carapace. We pretend we don’t see, but the truth is this: we are unwilling to do battle because it is difficult, thankless and even, for some, dangerous. So what do you do?

Identify the monster. (Mostly identify your own monster.)

Monsters are not especially diverse. They share roots in fear, ignorance, and hate. If you see a monster and you look clearly, honestly at it, observe how it drives its human, you can see the thing for what it is.

For ignorance and misinformation, do your best to fight hard. This is a defeatable monster. The more information you can absorb and disperse, the easier it will be to loosen the hold of an ignorant monster. Most people, myself included, have or have had an ignorant monster in their heart. You can never really get rid of it, but you can stuff it so full of experience that it is damn near silent.

Fear is more difficult, because fear has barbed talons and people are not so inclined to rip out their fears. Offer love, as much as you can, without hurting yourself. If you find it yourself, don’t attempt to shame it out. Instead, cultivate a sense of curiosity. Explore that which causes the fear.

Hate is something different. It’s fear hardened, attached to the bones. If you find a monster made of hate, don’t spill your blood trying to get rid of it. You won’t find a monster of hate in yourself, because hate blinds you to its presence. Hate makes you lash out, in short, even bites or uncontrollably. They always self-destruct. The best you can do is keep yourself and anyone else away from them. Call them out on their hateful actions. Try to make them see the depth of their hate. Have compassion, but also have compassion for yourself and the finite amount of energy you have.

Fight the monsters. Call out the monsters.

Lift your head. Pick up your paintbrush, put your writing hat on. Break out the good stuff. Make every effort to support each other. Feed someone that needs it. Make the diverse games and comics. Share your work. Put your stories out there. Share the work of those that may not have as big a reach as you, but are still doing the labor. Creativity is our superpower, so get to work.

(Cartoon vector designed by Freepik)