My Monsters Used To Hide Under The Bed...

My Monsters Used To Hide Under The Bed...

I never outgrew my monsters, they just learned to disguise themselves differently.

There is this monster.

A terror I can never seem to shake.

He is tall--almost eight feet. Tall enough to tower over everyone like they are nothing but helpless children. Tall enough to block out the sun.

Sometimes I wish I was nothing more than a child. As a child, I never knew he existed. He never towered over me. As a child, all my monsters lived under the bed.

He towers so high that I haven’t felt the sun for so long, he stands between me and the stars. Relentless in his ability to block all light from my eyes.

Now as he towers over me, constantly watching and waiting for me to fall, I can see him.

He is almost a skeleton. Almost--but not quite. Unlike cartoon skeletons he has skin. Grey skin stretched taut over his bones. With black cracks that span inches across his body. Like cracks in my heart, they are hollow and empty.

He doesn’t have hands, just claws. Claws that he slashes at me with. Determined to grant me some sort of physical pain. Long, smooth, and razor sharp talons that itch to slide across my skin.

As he stands he leans over me, his eyes searing into my skin, I avoid looking into those eyes. Eyes that were so sunken into his face that it was almost as if he didn’t have any. The parts of his eyes that should have been white were grey and bled into the pitch black iris. I can’t allow myself to look at them or they’ll swallow me. They'll never let me see the world as I would, but only threw their hideous reflection.

Even when I try to run away, try to hide, he stays between me and the sun. Whispering in my ear.

He fills my head with words, the way he whispers them makes it hard to let them pass by you. Instead, they crash into me repeatedly, swirling around my head, never leaving me alone. Drowning out the rational voice in my head, replacing it instead with these petrifying thoughts.

His breath fogging up my view of the world. Blending together the colors until the saturation has drained out, now just foggy grey, like the windows of a warm house on the coldest days.

Why can’t he go back to living under the bed?

His claws mark my skin whenever I find myself too weak to resist giving in.

His eyes burn into me as I let them consume me.

His mouth filling my head with those terrible words.

His breath fogging up my world.

He blocks out the sun as he towers over me.

When my parents told me I’d outgrow being afraid of monsters, they were wrong. My monsters have just changed. Disguised themselves better.

My monsters used to hide under my bed, and now they are hiding inside my head.
Cover Image Credit: Katie Schaffer

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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