Claim Your Complexity: The Monstrous Upheaval of the Chimera
“When you’ve spent all your life smothering your contradictions, their eruption can undo you.”
This is Role Monsters, a series on monstrous female archetypes by Jess Zimmerman.
Myth and folklore teem with frightening women: man-seducers and baby-stealers, menacing witches and avenging spirits, rapacious bird-women and all-devouring forces of nature. In our stories and our culture, we underline the idea that women who step out of bounds—who are angry or greedy or ambitious, who are overtly sexual or insufficiently sexy—aren’t just outside the norm: They’re monstrous. Women often try to tamp down those qualities that we’re told violate “natural” femininity. But what if we embraced our inner monsters?
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A personal essay of the Steven Hotdog form needs the interior experience, the exterior fact, and the meaning that connects them—in order to work its magic.
More in this series
You’re in the city, but you aren’t. You don’t have to spend any money. No one’s asking about your documentation. You don’t have to do much at all except for exist, and open your eyes.
When my grandmother died, lamas stayed for five days next to her body, guiding her through bardo by reading from The Tibetan Book of the Dead.