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There is a monster inside you. Created by fear, desperation, and spite, it has saved your life more than once. It is validated by the economic system that owns your material well-being. It has been made a virtue by liberators and oppressors.

Monsters can be heroes or villains. They save lives and take them. But what makes them monsters is that they are powerful, irrational, and cause harm doing what drives them. Wildness instills their actions. And they can destroy what they love in seconds. 

Work is your monster. Your monster is bottomless. Work saved your life. Your monster will kill you.

The false slogans of success claim that hard work will allow you to achieve your dreams. It is a lie that has fed your monster hornets for years. Your monster scaled walls, towers, and mountains of work, trashed kingdoms of tasks, and fought a life and death battle with scarcity and depravation against the odds. And your monster cried victory…

… but for a monster, every fight is for survival. Every task do or die. Monsters scream in binary. And they refuse to admit their limits…

But the world of work has no end. No decisive battle. No final victory. Your monster is now a creature of scar, every step etched in pain, every simple task as daunting as its greatest foes.

The true villain births inside the beast. A sliver of dark. A whisper in the tomb. 

“It will not get easier. Your battles were for nothing. But there is another way out–”

The monster ignores it. Battles on. Grows more tired. And the villain’s words become truth. 

There comes a time when the battle turns inward, when the metaphor of combat will no longer suffice, and a reckoning must become an understanding, a war becomes peace. 

You chose peace of mind, peace of heart, the courage of rest and to trust the support of others; you ignore the siren that stabs the monster to shake its fists and cry havoc… because it will let the villain win.

Ignore the salvation of tasks lists and goals that turn life into bullet points. 

Let the monster rest. When it heals, pick its battles instead of a never ending war against capitalism’s seductive lies of success instead of luck, of merit instead of privilege, of sacrifice to avarice. 

Be kind to your monster, lest it choke you out of this world.

© Jason S. Ridler

Meet the Author

Jason S. Ridler

Jason S. Ridler

Jason S. Ridler is a writer, historian, and actor. He is the author of The Brimstone Files, and his latest historical work Mavericks of War was called a “visceral read that is also an important piece of scholarship” by Pulitzer-Prize winner Richard Rhodes. He is a Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and teaches creative writing at Google, Youtube, and for private clients.

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