Monstering 101

CW: Ableism, body horror


A Recipe, and an Explanation

Monsters aren't born. They're formed—
gestating inside their self-made wombs
until they spring forth the damaged product
of genes and germs. But they're never
their own creators. Some are born helpless, 
whimpering others enraged adults,
ripped from their own cracked skulls: Athena-
raw, extracted from a She-Zeus trying
to suppress herself.

I am womb-born, Athena-raw—
and so is my Monster.

My Monster hatched early. I was sick
before doctors would admit, standing naked
burning in my own infected juices.
I proved them wrong: pneumonic, contagious,
coughing infection, pissing bloody bacteria—

My Monster teethed on their dismissals.

Adolescents are Monstering contradictions,
seeking acceptance they'll never find—teased,
bullied, told by bigger Monsters to play
nice. Be a good girl. Be womanly. Good girls
like boys, not curves or cleavage. Sour tongues
seek to define us before we can ourselves.
Adolescent Monsters rarely find comfort inside
their own bodies.

A Monster denied—we sharpen our claws
on society's norms.

My grown-up Monster clenches her fists
until her talons draw blood. She reaches for those
who misprescribed, misdescribed—
they're always right, Monsters are always wrong.

Fork-tongued doctors digest and regurgitate
their own lies until they believe them. You're
sick, but I can no longer treat you.
Acid double-
talk will get you bitten. Say it twice and you'll
need stitches.

Please give me a reason to be monstrous.

My Monster howls grief and pain, but few try
to hear her. Those few, family: child Monsters
licking their own pain away—a forever love,
whose presence says I no longer care what others think.
My Monster loves hers. I love her. We howl
together, hold each other upright, bandage
each other's wounds.

Monstering broth at its most delicious:
Medical and societal ignorance didn't tip
the balance. It shattered our Monsterly scales,
ruining prospects of equilibrium. I quiver with
fear, my Monster shakes with rage, our im-
balance now as physical as it is mental.
But that doesn't make the doctors right.
I wobble on my cane while my Monster turns
dystonic pirouettes, trembling limbs, curled
feet and hands, numb fingers and toes—
we shake from our soul outward, but love,
rage, and my Monster keep me fighting.

We're done dulling our claws on you.
Find someone else's recipe to ruin.


About the Author

JEANNE G'FELLERS is a multi-published, award-winning author of LGBT+ Science Fiction, a mother, and a part-time poet who has known her Monster since their simultaneous birth in the very late 1960s. Jeanne and her Monster waded through the gene pool/ cesspool together and never quite shook off the effects. They live with immune system issues and autoimmune conundrums which are slowly taking their physical toll. Their feet curl, their hands shake, and they occasionally lose their balance. Their words also sometimes slur, but they keep going, because the alternative isn't acceptable.

Writing, for both Jeanne and her Monster, has become a crucial means of self-expression.

They call the Appalachian foothills of Tennessee home and live happily with Jeanne's much-loved Anna, her quiet, Monster-soothing, partner-turned-spouse of fifteen years. Jeanne and Anna's children are grown, their cats number five, and that, as someone wisely said, is that.