A creative monster called Bert
I’m going to sound a little crackers here…
I like to think I have this little monster that lives inside of me. He’s really fluffy, he’s khaki green (it’s my favourite colour) and he’s called Bertram because I like to give everything a name! He’s a boy just because I prefer boys names and he’s a complete new addition to my life. Well actually he’s always been there but he’s been invisible for most of it, so he feels like a new addition.
Obviously this is just a metaphor, I think it’s a metaphor? Is that the right word for it? My English is terrible. He’s just a symbol for the disruptive and deprived part of my personality, the part of me that’s impulsive, irrational but also the most fun part, the part that makes me so excited for things. I’m starting to sound a little like the bloke off Split now but bare with me. My theory is that if Bertram, (Bert for short) is ignored and if I don’t excersize him then he grows miserable, bored and sad, he turns to ASOS and Pretty Little Thing out of boredom, he’s turns anxious, obnoxious, wilful. He becomes dissatisfied with life and tries to fill the void. That’s exactly how he behaved before I started this blog. He was completely bored with life, malnourished, and he made my life absolute hell. I didn’t know he needed feeding, I didn’t even know he existed but all that time I bet it was Bert that was craving chocolate bar after chocolate bar, trying to fill up the empty void. I probably can’t blame him for all my problems with food, which if you want you can read a little more about that part of my life here on this post, but he definitely will have contributed. So yes, I have a fluffy green monster, I ignored him, but now I don’t and although I’m still full of self doubt and have bad days I generally am so much more satisfied with life.
Everyone has a little inner-monster
Modern life makes us ignore the little things that make us happy because we’re all in this race to be the busiest, the most productive, the person who can do everything and that just leaves our monsters all neglected and miserable. Not in every case, lots of people have their thing that really satisfies them, but also, lots of people get a little bored with life or upset with themselves because what makes them happy is ‘not the done thing’ these are the people who need to find, feed and exercise their monsters regardless of what other people might say. So I think it’s absolutely imperative that you find your monster, feed it, exercise it, and enjoy all the warm fluffy cuddles.
We all think differently and we all crave different things which is what makes everyone unique and you’re possibly yet to figure out what your monster is? But once you do, once you know how to feed and exercise your Bert, he grows into a huge big fluffy teddy and he gives you big cuddly hugs. My inner monster is a creative one, he’s a he but maybe yours is a she? Maybe they’re gender neutral? Bert thrives on new ideas and playing with his surroundings, but yours could be a wanderlust monster, only happy when travelling, or gaining new experiences. Yours could be an easy going one who likes to relax and is only happy once there’s an hour in the day in which you can read or take a bath. Yours could be a thinking one and Is happiest when solving some complicated problem or equation, or a party monster that’s happiest when dancing and laughing and talking, it could be a food one that absolutely loves cooking. The Idea is that none of these are better than the others, it’s just what makes you feel good.
How to find yours
This is the hard part, I think it’s realising what you genuinely look forward to, find what gives you that giddy feeling and what never becomes a chore. In personality typing they call it a flow state, it’s an activity that you do and when you do it you forget the time, food, everything because you’re so involved. That doesn’t have to be a practical thing, you could be so deep in a complicated thought you forgot to eat, you could be so far into a book you didn’t catch the time. I think the only way to really find your monster is to get out and try stuff, head out, do things, try things, go places But, also stay in, lay down, be lazy, watch TV; the key is to be observant, check in with yourself and figure out what it is you’re feeling whilst your doing whatever your doing and be mindful of your thoughts and your reasons behind it. You’re looking for intrinsic rewards, not extrinsic, so if you’re doing it because you think you should, or because other people are then that’s not your monster. It took me ages to figure out mine, I tried activity after activity and could stick at nothing, I’d try relaxing and I’d just get itchy and stand up, I tried knitting, I tried loads of things and absolutely nothing stuck, everything seemed like a chore pretty quickly after I’d started it. Then it dawned on me, my genuine excitement and happiness comes from not the actual activity but just from the fact that it’s new. It’s why I find it so easy to think of things to start and rarely remember to finish the things I’ve already started.
Things I’ve learnt from bertram
Bertram has taught me that to keep him big fluffy and cuddly I need to embrace my creative side. I need to learn, try, fail and create in order to feel excited and happy with life. This blog feeds Bertram so much nutritious food because of it’s variety, which is why the past year I’ve been the happiest I think I’ve ever been. Just the fact that something is new makes it so much more exciting and suddenly my whole life just made sense. I’d been trying to find my Thing forever but my thing is not The Thing, it’s just any New Thing”
Don’t compare monsters
I used to beat myself up for not being interested in just one hobby or passion. I became terrified of any commitment and I didn’t dare start anything because I didn’t trust myself to see it through. I saw the Farmer day in day out doing the same thing and it never seemed to bore him. I admired this so much, I wanted to be successful at something, have a hobby or a sidehustle and see it to fruition. But that's like swimming upstream for me, it’s not natural and by forcing myself to live by other peoples standards all I was doing was living a life of constant self judgement and disappointment, I was just ignoring my monster and trying to feed one like the farmers, a steady committed one that just didn’t exist. Needless to say I never stuck to anything anyway, I was just miserable about it. Bert is what he is, he likes new things and lots of change and that’s finally okay with me. If your monster loves watching films don’t feel guilty because he isn’t active like other monsters, just enjoy watching bloody films!
What If my Monster isn’t as socially accepted?
What if what makes you warm and cuddly inside is seen as a misguided indulgence by everyone else? Unfortunately for me Bert and I suffer from this, Bert isn’t exactly disciplined, and we all know modern society loves a dedicated, disciplined hard working individual. He has a per-pensive need for new and shiny toys and ideas, which is the reason people raise an eyebrow at me when I declare I’m starting some new venture, It’s not easy but I’d much rather keep my monster happy and cuddly at the expense of a few raised eyebrows. I think ignoring what people think is something that comes over time and it’s not at all easy, you just have to learn to give other peoples judgement the middle finger and carry on anyway, you’ll never please everyone so you might as well please yourself! Besides, If I don’t indulge him he’ll only go and wreak havoc where I can’t see him and more eyebrows will be raised anyway. Like in my old excessive impulsive spending habits, or my poor relationship with food.
How to feed and excersize your monster
Think of them as a child, let them do the things that make them happy but steer them in a healthy direction with it. To feed your monster you do whatever they want and to excersize it you practice steering that activity in a direction that’s healthy. You compromise and practice so the behaviours aren’t destructive to life. Now if you have a reading monster, you’ll probably be pretty safe, but a party monster or a holiday monster might need a little more steering. For example, if you love travelling it wouldn’t be great parenting to let your monster get into £30,000 worth of debt just so they can travel. Instead why not turn one big holiday into 4 smaller ones so the year is broken up a little more? Why not try camping or finding new things to do in your area that you’ve never done? You don’t have to fly 10000 miles to find somewhere you’ve never seen before. Or maybe start a travel map and diary, so whilst you aren’t exploring you can be remembering the last or plotting the next. Another example would be me and this blog, it helps me flip between baking, painting, creating, writing, photographing all with a cohesive reason or goal. It steers my impulses and gives me parameters to work within so I’m not picking up 40 new projects a day and leaving a destructive wake behind me.
So as you can see, I’ve really ran with and indulged my Little Monster Theory and there is every chance it’s absolute twoddle so I’m very sorry if you think so. But, as a general rule I think it’s exciting and freeing to listen to your gut and do what feels good, not what will make other people think better of you.