50 ROADS #29 THE ROAD I WALKED WITH MONSTERS
I have known some monsters, let me tell you.
And I used to think they were real.
My biggest monsters have been big old bullies. And I have never quite known what to do with bullies, or about them. It’s been a struggle for most of the years of my life that I thought would go away as I got older. This road I’ve walked with monsters has taught me that even after I was a powerless child, I was still essentially feeding my monsters a very balanced diet that kept them alive and well.
I was actually giving power, energy and life-force to my monsters & bullies.
I was the one keeping them alive.
I know the path of the bully quite well, because the most heinous one was living right in my head, taunting me day and night. Shouting or whispering, whichever was most effective at the time. They both have their uses.
I almost always shrunk in terror and did whatever I had to do to keep the bullies from getting even meaner and scarier.
But then the reckoning came. With all of the bullies in my head, I suppose my soul was ready to get this figured out once and for all in my thirties and forties— and my very soul led me right to the master class of overcoming this old habit of feeding the monsters that vexed me — by giving me the opportunity to learn from some of the meanest people I could ever imagine. Adult bullies.
Thank you, life teachers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This can be such a triggering topic for people, so I want you to know that this is going somewhere very good and you’ll be glad you read it, even if you are cringing right now.
And I also want to tell you that I know that bullying is typically a trauma response. I understand this and I wish no one ever had to be traumatized, especially children. A bully is usually someone who has been mercilessly bullied themselves in some way. It’s typically someone who feels powerless in the world and so they medicate themselves by trying to dominate and crush the spirit of others. It starts in childhood and you hope it will go away, but adult bullies are even more brutal in my experience. I send them love and healing, and I also get to talk about what it’s like to be bullied by them.
In my half a century of being alive, I’ve noticed something about we human beings — we all have to find ways to expel the energy inside that comes from big feelings, especially scary ones. The monsters. And, what I’ve noticed is that people either lash outward or lash inward.
What is unfortunate about this fact is that it often becomes 2 toxic puzzle pieces that fit perfectly and make a pretty destructive picture once they are put together. The ones who find temporary relief in lashing outward somehow find the ones who have a habit of lashing inward.
People who lash inward are already bullying themselves so much on the inside that when a flesh and bone bully comes along to lash out at them, the lashing is exponentially damaging.
It’s a vicious dance. And I suspect that a bully doesn’t love how they feel after they’ve self-medicated their powerlessness through fear, intimidation, insults, accusations, taunting and domination. This is just a losing game for everyone all together.
Now let’s get to the part where this road became one of the greatest blessings of my life . . .
I had a dream one night during a time when I was smack in the middle of dealing with someone I didn’t know how to deal with. A bully, a lasher-outer. It was affecting my health, my creativity, my relationships, my sleep, everything. I was also keeping it a giant secret from people in my life who could have helped me.
Well, in this dream, I was walking down a road that was lined with monsters. The monsters were moving their arms and heads and bodies in creepy ways that were very intimidating. It was foggy and scary. But I had to keep going, even though I was terrified.
As I got closer to the monsters, I saw what they actually were.
They were those blow-up dancing guys that often get installed in front of car dealerships. The ones that are made of a big tube of fabric for the body and head, and 2 more tubes of fabric coming out the sides to make the arms.
And what was giving them life was air being compressed into them.
So . . . I was giving my entire life over to a bunch of blow-up dancing guys that weren’t even real. This realization was both hilarious and horrific.
In the dream, I saw the big extension cord that led to the air compressor that filled them up and made them do their scary dance, and I realized that I had the power to unplug those cords.
And then I saw that the cord was actually plugged into ME. I was the power source.
I’m sure you see where I’m going here. That dream was a whopper, but it didn’t immediately fix my problem — it just started to reveal it. I was a woman in my forties who had done so many powerful things, but I was utilizing a large portion of my energy and life-force blowing up a bunch of fake monsters.
And all I had to do all along was unplug them. Easier said than done, but pretty simple all the same.
And the thing is, I am probably someone else’s blow-up dancing guy monster thing and I don’t even know it. Life is like that. We get to play all sorts of teaching roles for each other and we are changed and strengthened either way. So much of what we think is real is simply an illusion, but it teaches us just as effectively as if it were real.
You can blow up your fears and inner bullying thoughts and make them so enormous, you can also do that with others who are bullies. They’ll plug right into you because you are the electricity for their compressor.
It’s a bad match, someone addicted to hurting others and someone addicted to being hurt. And almost always, this dynamic will not end without one or the other putting a stop to it.
So I started imagining these bullying words and actions that either originated in my head or came at me from a real live person as blow-up dancing guys, and it shifted everything. It made it kind of funny and it also took the wind from those monsters.
Have you ever been driving through your neighborhood during the holidays and seen those giant sad blow-up snowmen who are laying on the grass at a neighbor’s house early in the morning because the compressor got shut off for the night. All in a pile?
That’s what we’ve got to do with our inner-monsters, inner-bullies and inner-meanies. And outer monsters and outer bullies. Unplug them and see them for what they are, a pile of outward shell that has no ability to frighten us without us giving it the power to do it. We have to deflate them, all of them.
Our thoughts, beliefs and attention are the air that fills up those monsters. We are literally PAYING them to fill up and be scary, with our attention. I decided to stop paying attention to their dance.
I decided to put my attention elsewhere.
So now I walk right through them, and by them, even when they’re dancing. And sometimes I will do a funky little dance with them just for fun before I do what must be done — then I unplug them.
And there they are, in a very revealing, sad little pile — just like a deflated giant fabric snowman on the neighbor’s lawn.
We can do that with the bullies in our head and also with the real life bullies.
But we have to remember something important about real life bullies — they were never the scary monsters we thought they were and or the fabric blow-up things, that’s not really who they are either. It’s just who they were pretending to be. And when I don’t engage, maybe it gives them the opportunity to figure out their own magnificence, their own value and their own inner power. Maybe if I unplug them from me, it can help them realize that they don’t need to be plugged into anyone at all. Maybe they’ll learn that they’re not powerless at all, they’ve got their own power source right inside, that it’s safe just being who they are.
Maybe they’ll learn that it’s even safe to be kind.
These days I only have the energy and strength to unplug them and walk away, not much more.
The Road I Walked With Monsters has taught me more lessons than I can count. I don’t intentionally entertain monsters in my head anymore, and when they arrive unannounced and uninvited, I lead them back to the door. I pretend they’re just little kids going trick-or-treating and I give them a dumdum sucker and wish and them well. Some of them are pretty cute.
It’s a beautiful thing how our walk through healing can shine a big light and expose the things that were so scary in the shadows. We have to remember that sometimes the things that are scaring us most are filled with air and not much else.
Our power is sacred and meant to be used in sacred ways that grow us, build us and teach us. It’s not meant to be squandered away in front of the car dealership.
So if you’ve gotta dance with your monsters, dance with them. But don’t be afraid of them. And when you’ve had enough of the dance, just unplug them. You have all the power.
So, mighty soul,
What monsters have you been airing up? AND
What would life be like if you stopped giving them life?
I love you, I believe in you and I thank you for walking this road with me.
Tomorrow, we will travel The Road I Walked With Angels. Some of these roads are pretty exquisite, and that’s one of them. I will see you there.