When I Let the Monsters Win

There are no monsters in the closet--

Not yet.

Because the fangs of friends have yet to be sharpened

School is a land of heroes and misfits

Battling through learning

But every fairytale has a villain.


We’re told to grow up to succeed

Since the age of three

Without a sense of who to be

Except for the fact that the biggest sin is mediocrity.

Before you’ve had time to grow wary of what lurks in the dark

You think you’re the one to escape the mark.


By age nine you’ve never

stepped out of line

Restricting art to its box and

Math to the answer because there’s

No time for creativity

In the search for ultimate productivity.

The first time someone says you’ll never make a mistake

Is when there’s something in the corner of your eye

Just barely out of sight

Like the answer that is barely out of reach

Waiting for you to mess up,

Trip up,

Slip up

Slip down the rabbit hole

Unraveling your perfections because

The only thing

Madder than the hatter

Is how you thought your friends would

Never scatter

Simply to cling as moths to the light of another’s brilliance

All because of one mistake.


After age 10 you realize how

Monsters were never made for children

The creatures of the night

Weren’t meant for an instant of fright

But rather to feed off your insecurities

Because there is not enough light to drive out the shadows of your mind.


Suddenly the monster loses its growl

Leaving you able to dust off your confidence

In order to survive a few years

Where self-appreciation overshadows the impulse to spread


Hating how you’ll never be free

Of the fear of comparability

Because how can you say the dark has no more sway

When you turn on the lights

Before walking down the hallway?


Soon enough High School becomes

A magnifying glass for all the worst parts of you

Problems never considered through

The eyes of a three year old

Appear as the newest companions

In this journey of doubt and disappointment

I tell my friends how their bodies are worthy

Of devotion not revulsion

To stop taking their pulse with a knife

Yet mine is poised at my mind

A flick of the wrist

Or a single thing I might have missed

And I’m no longer one of a kind

Another soul to claim how

Imperfection is perfection

Never quite believing but needing

Some form of defense against

The death sentence that has become of

Meeting expectation but

Not quite exceeding.


When did mediocrity become such a crime?

We crucify ourselves for not being

Better than him or her

Allowing comparison to become one of our first words


The feeling of inadequacy knows us better than we know ourselves.


Our self worth is deemed by a false sense of superiority

For what would happen if everyone was a prodigy?

No skill would be worthy of attention because

Everyone would be as common as a weed

Replanting the seed of competition

Because we were raised to succeed

We were raised to be better

We were raised to stand out

We were raised to speak louder

But not to shout

We were raised to seek victory

But never experience failure

I was raised to fear

The monster in the closet

Because that monster

Is me.


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