These monsters don't let me sleep. They live under my bed. They come in my dreams and turn them into nightmares. Often, in the middle of the night, I wake up to see myself drenched in sweat. These whistling winds frighten me. Somedays, these monsters move into my cupboard and I hear heavy thuds. Mom tells me to fight with them, just as my favourite superhero fights the evil. She opens the cupboard and scares the monsters away, and makes sure that there is nobody under my bed. She cuddles me when I am not able to sleep and sings my favourite lullabies. She runs her hand through my hair and I doze off to sleep. She tells me tales of magicians and princesses and unicorns. I tightly hold onto her hand and easily fall asleep.
I am sixteen years old teenager.
I have my own room. And my queen sized bed has the most comfortable mattresses. After a hectic day, a good sleep is all I crave for. But these monsters still live under my bed. They follow me everywhere. They have become stronger. They don't jump into my cupboard, instead, they live inside my head now. They make incoherent noises and unreasonable excuses. They build up impossible situations and keep me occupied. They make me anxious and tired. They feed on my happiness and want me to be lonely. They keep me away from my friends and force me to remain quiet. They take advantage of my weaknesses and snatch my sleep away. I have to fight on my own. My mom doesn't understand when I tell her about these monsters. She tells me to distract myself and focus of studies and my future. I feel lethargic throughout the day, so I sleep in my classes. Don't worry, I am habitual now.
I am twenty six years old now.
I have my own flat. I live away from my family because of my job. I got a job in the company I always wanted to be in, but the experience isn't matching my expectations. Everything is changing but the monsters under my bed are still there. They have become stronger. They still live inside my head, and have captured every bit of it. They keep a constant check on me and are well aware about the people around me. They can imitate the voice of my boss and play the same scornful comments over and over. I always feel frustrated. They keep on reminding me of the monotonous life I lead. I always feel dizzy and uneasy. There is always alot of pressure on me. They shapeshift to people with mean tones and remind me of the incidents I want to forget. They have found new techniques to keep me awake.
I am thirty six years old.
I have a loving husband and a cute five year old kid. These monsters have my address till date and they still live under my bed. They have started scaring my little son and I have to stay awake to keep them away from him. They make annoying ticking noises reminding me of the passing time. I miss my parents but time doesn't allow me to visit them. It is scary how as a kid, I couldn't stay away from them even for a minute and now, I don't even get to hear their voice everyday. These monsters have become stronger. They stay with me all through the day. They keep me on my toes. All I do now, is work. They are extinguishing my energy and strangling my willingness. They always make me feel tired but I am never able to sleep. Wisdom has brought down the fear but insecurities are increasing.
I am fourty six years old.
These monsters are turning wild. They have started altering my physique. My black hair have traces of their mischief, my hair strands are turning gray and face has started showing signs of ageing. These monsters have learned to turn my insecurities to reality. They have taken control over my body. My sheen features are fading away. These monsters live in the mirrors showing me the unwanted metamorphosis. They have darkened my nights and increased my anxiety. My son is a studious student, but these monsters keep distracting him. He has become moody and rude. These monsters are directing him to do so. He doesn't talk to anybody and stays in his room. Seeing him in such a state seems like a deja vu. These monsters have made me helpless.
I am fifity six years old.
My son has moved out of our house for his job in a renowned firm. It is so hard to see my son go away from me. These monsters are too strong, they serve melancholy to me. They make me feel miserable. My parents have moved in with us for a while. My mother had her knee replacement surgery recently. The once strong and independent woman, has become meek and so dependent, it breaks my heart to see her condition. My mom struggles with the monsters that have been following her. I tell her to stay strong and fight them. I am not able to juggle my job and my family. These monsters are forcing me to surrender. They have sown seeds of self doubt in my head and I am watering them religiously.
I am sixty six years old.
I have fallen prey to their tricks. I am no longer a young, strong woman with self control but I am a senile woman who has retired from her job. I don't have my parents by my side. Endings are indeed sad. And the sadder part is, these monsters are erasing the valuable memories. When my grandchildren come to visit me, I really feel comfortable and extremely happy, but these monsters have made me a hopeless creature. The only thing I can think of, is them leaving my husband and me, all alone, again. These monsters are feeding regrets to me. I took life too seriously and failed to get the best out of it. These monsters are dominating and have enslaved my mind. Overthinking is my new pass time.
I am seventy six years old.
I have lost my husband. My son lives in another country. These monsters are my only company. I let them rub salt on my wounds, I let them play my husband's voice and remind me of the life I had. These monsters have grown with me, they have become stronger and I have become weaker. In the beginning I tamed them but now they have tamed me. At this point in life, I have nothing to lose and nothing more to gain. I surrender to them, I let them satiate their hunger. I let them take me down. I don't want to fight anymore, there is no reason for me to fight with them. My shell has rotten. My face is puckered, armpits have bulged and my skin has turned pale. My head has residual memory, my eyes have blurred visions, my ears have feeble, inaudible voices and my skin has faint impressions. Because age is not just a number, it is a timeline and your life changes its course while traversing through. Just like these monsters find new ways of haunting you, and you change the ways of fighting them. -Vanshika Tandon -----------------