What happens when an adult child of an alcoholic dates a narcissist? Read on!
I was in love with a monster. The cold, hard, middle-of-the-night truth is I was in love with a monster. A monster I painted in fairy tale colors, clothed in my dreams. I wrapped him up so tight so I couldn’t see him, couldn’t see his face, or his tail, or the ravenous hunger in his eyes. I daubed him in gold dust and we both admired the way he glinted in the sunshine, his image fractured by the light, difficult to discern. Sometimes he looked like a prince. He wanted to be a prince. I wanted him to be prince. I held the monster lovingly, and tickled his underbelly, and cooed soothing words into his ears. I fed him, helped him grow, made sure he didn’t disappear. Sweetly offering him honey and nectar, candies made of my own desire, Irish coffee, ambrosia, and chicken wings. Monsters like chicken wings. I think it has something to do with being flightless. Of eating appendages that are supposed to lift you from the ground but can no longer do so.
I was in love with a monster.
So what of this monster? This monster who wants to be a prince? “I’m a prince!” the petulant child says, with, of course, a stamp of his foot. And he notices that his fingernails grow thicker each time he says that phrase. “I’m a prince, not a little boy!” he yells stubbornly, and feels a tingling at the base of his spine. He starts to dress himself in purple, but everywhere that color touches his skin coarse black hair starts to grow. “I’m a prince! I’m a prince!” he cries into the mirror, even as his reflection is changing, morphing, unnerving him even more. He runs his hand over two small bumps forming on the crown of his skull. Too ashamed to tell anyone, he desperately starts looking for people who understand that he really is a prince. Looking for the people who will give him jewels, put a crown on his head, let him sit on whatever could pass for a throne. And there are some who see a bit of a prince in him - everyone has a bit of prince in them, after all. But the hint of a tail worries him, and the bumps on his head are growing and hardening. His shame starts to turn him into an imitation, desperately turning tattered purple linens into a costume, making fake jewels out of lint and glue and stolen food dye, creating scepters out of toilet paper rolls. And he has to hide himself more and more, hide his increasingly claw-like hands, cover every inch of his skin growing rough, dark hair. He can’t smile too much because his teeth are lengthening and sharpening themselves into points. And his eyes have become ravenous, searching out anyone who sees a bit of prince in him, ready to suck every last drop of that belief from them. But he doesn’t really believe them anymore. How can they not see the horns behind the tinfoil crown? He’s weary now. “I’m a prince” he echoes hollowly, looking at himself in the mirror. I don’t even know what he sees now. Monster or prince or monster or prince or monster or prince or monster or prince? Whatever happened to the little boy? Did he disappear entirely? Is he in there somewhere?
Enough. Fairy tales aside. I crawl into bed and turn off the light and realize – I was in love with a monster.