Sometimes, I see myself as the very monster I tend to create.
I’m out in space, spinning on a stream of fire and dust, like a meteor was pulled apart like bread, and drizzled across some dark horizon. I have no real form. Maybe shoulders. Some arms. Just a few features to make me still feel like the shadow of a human. I still need to feel alive. The parts you can’t distinguish on my body have meshed with the blackness, like I was nothing but a torso rising out of that abyss. My face is covered in a mask. It has no mouth. It doesn’t have a nose. It only has a few slits so I can see the debris around my core, circling like a pack of predators from any land or ocean on earth.
I’ve made monsters with masks countless times in my writing.
I’m afraid for people to see my face. I’m afraid. I lie constantly to avoid expressing my opinion. I’m so frightened I like things I hate. I’ve been so terrified of being lonely and abandoned, I’ve loved people I didn’t really love. I’ve been scared to be alone.
I have a mask on because I’m afraid of my own depression.
The mask I wear is pearl and perfect. There are no flaws to being scared. It is the oldest and most primal emotion of our kind. Empires have been built upon its back. Castles still sit on shores from its influence. I’m jealous. How can this fear be the mortar for my wall to keep the monsters out? How can I use the fear of sadness to build my life?
Depression can be an awful thing.
The easiest way to describe it is if you imagine yourself as a fish in water. Maybe a Northern Pike, a common fish here in Minnesota. You’re built to live beneath the waves. Evolution, or nature itself has forged you into some arrow to be shot across this underwater sky. You see some food in front of you. It’s a minnow, half-dead and shimmering in that inky deep. You bite down and something bites back. There is a hook. It sinks into your flesh, and pulls you in the opposite direction. You try and fight it. You dive and rise. You tear in every direction. You rip yourself. You bend yourself. You nearly destroy yourself to stop the gravity of the hook pulling you.
It doesn’t matter. The hook is there. The barb has curled into you. You’re being pulled up to the surface by your depression.
You’re lucky, though.
You’re blessed to have that depression yanking you to the surface of the water. You’re lucky because it allows you to see reality for what it really is. You get to see what life is like outside the water. You see it uncensored and raw. The fog is lifted. The city is no longer haunted. The paint is chipped-off and worn. You’re feeling life for how it really should feel.
If you’re depressed, you’re powered by the same gravitational drain howling in the center of a black hole. How lucky are you? How lucky are you to have the same powers of a void that can split space and time?
Sometimes, I picture my monster spinning and contorted in that chasm of gravity on the other side of the universe, and his mask is chipping away bit by bit. He isn’t afraid to lose it, to be ashamed of what he is beneath his artificial visage. He’s tired of the living maelstrom whirling around him. The reason why the storm of asteroids, space stations, and stardust twirls both clockwise and counter clockwise, is because his fear is at war with itself.
Depression must be accepted, so you can build with it.
One time, while fishing with my family a while ago, I caught a Northern Pike. It was a big one. It looked like I had plucked a narrow green fragment out of some dead god’s skin. It was jade and red-eyed, like it could only see in fire. It was covered with scars and scrapes from being caught before. Its belly was grey and old in marble speckles. I pulled the fishing line towards the edge of the boat towards a net. I had used a jig, which has rounded weight just above the hook. I had caught the pike perfectly. It was stuck in the white flesh just past its teeth, but before its tongue.
The pike stopped thrashing the more I pulled it towards the hull. Then, from behind the forest of its fangs, I saw the pike rub against the barb of the hook with its tongue. Some neurons fired cleverly in its narrow head. The fish swung its snout away from the boat and the hook popped free. It fell back into the water like it had never been caught.
The pike got off the hook because it knew it was there.