Monster

Never speak the names. This is an old anti-curse. The name is a curse. To not speak the name is the uncurse. It is a silence that becomes a kind of curse, even as it is the opposite of the curse. The silence signifies the sound. The sound is forgotten. Soon, only the silence remains, and the idea behind it, an unknowable, unspeakable emotion that cannot be enunciated, and becomes worse from the silence of it. The silence is the word. The silence is the thought that transcends words.

When Odysseus was strapped to the mast, hand and foot, his ears exposed to the sirens, all other men heard silence. The sound was too dangerous. When he sailed his ship close to the six-headed demon, knowing six men would die that die – men he’d gone to war with, who were closer to him than his own son – he did not speak of what was to come. Cry out, after, perhaps, but before do not speak. When Grendel stalked the feasting hall, just before the arm was torn away, the men of war were silent, pretending to sleep. Hush, and do not speak, for it calls the monster’s eye upon the speaker. In terror or unterror, the monster’s eye turns.

There are monsters all around us, and we do not speak their name. We are afraid to summon the gaze upon us, afraid to face our own fear of them. Do not speak of what frightens you.

Wishes are like that, too, except sort of reversed. We are told to make a wish, but to never say it out loud, because doing so will mean it won’t come true. We teach our children to have a wish, but to keep it inside; never speak it. What are we so afraid of? A child makes a wish, and it will never come true if people don’t know about it. Speaking the wish is the critical component of making the wish come true. Naming the wish, summoning it in the dark, when the wailing heart sings to the moon, is critical to the physical realization of such a wish. But, the wish must be some kind of monster, because we tell each other never to speak it’s name.

Be careful what you wish for, is what we say. Do not speak your wish, if you want it to come true, is what we say. The monster of desire haunts our hearts, perhaps, and connects directly to the monster that we must never name, lest we draw the eye of the beast. Keep it all locked up. Wish nothing. Sleep quiet. Pretend it is all only a dream.

Or… Fight the monster when it comes. The fear that comes from facing such terror, the energy pumping through our veins, the fight or flight that drives our fear, has an alternate path.

Wish out loud. Fight for it. In fear, it is always fight or flight. Be the fight.

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