Fara Greenbaum spent 10 years working as a stand up comedian in NYC, performing at virtually every club in town, except Dangerfield’s for some reason, which is just as well since it’s so far east. She wrote and performed two solo shows, ‘How I Became an Astronaut’ and ‘My New Weird Show’ which were presented at numerous theater festivals. Fara is also a dancer and dancing is her eternal expression of delightful devotion. For the past few years Fara has been residing in South Florida while undergoing a deep personal transformation, so we’ll see what happens next.
by Fara Greenbaum
Every night, before going to sleep, I check under my bed for monsters. I don’t check because I’m 100 percent certain there’s going to be monsters, I check because I’m not 100 percent certain there’s not going to be monsters. My childhood fear of monsters lurking “in potentiale” under the bed has persisted. Most of my adult life I slept on a mattress and box-spring without a frame so there would be no space under the bed in which a monster could hide. Several years ago I moved and purchased a very low bed. It does have space in which a monster could hide. So now, I have to check again.
It’s a nightly ritual. I enter my bedroom, turn on the light, kneel down and check for monsters. So far I haven’t seen any, only the box from my flat-screen tv and a picture I drew of myself sailing on my favorite catamaran. The placement of these items under my bed is highly strategic. I figure that the lowness of the bed combined with large items underneath prevents an entire segment of the monster population from getting under my bed, as they simply will not fit.
It often occurs to me, right before I kneel down to check for monsters, that I haven’t really thought this through. What will I do if I kneel down and there ARE monsters under my bed? I have no plans for that. What will I do the one night monsters are not not there? My first thought is; freak the fuck out. I mean, that’s what’s most likely to take place is it not? 1. Kneel down 2. See monsters 3. Freak the fuck out.
At this point you’re probably thinking ‘Monsters? Really? Get a grip. That’s exactly what I’m afraid of…monsters getting a grip…on my leg. My monster under the bed fear stems from a fear of something reaching out from under my bed and grabbing my leg while I’m asleep. When I was a little girl I was 100 percent certain this would happen. Not only would I check under the bed but I would also wrap myself up tightly in the covers in case a monster got under there while I was sleeping. I would wake up in the middle of the night gripped by fear that a monster had snuck underneath and was getting into prime leg grabbing position, frantically unwrap myself from my anti monster leg grab cocoon and get down on the floor and check. It was a terrifying ritual I repeated endlessly throughout the night. No wonder I was such a skinny kid. I think it’s a sign of maturity that I’ve dispensed with the bedsheet mummification portion of this ritual and am now satisfied with one cursory glance under the bed before climbing in. What changed? It probably all boils down to life experience. Life experience has taught me that if a monster is not under one’s bed from the get go then he’s probably not going to show up later.
It also often occurs to me that this monster under the bed fear is ridiculous, especially since I’ve conquered so many fears in my life and experienced so many liberations, including but not limited to; the joy of being thoroughly myself, the ability to be around people without being altered by their states of mind and no fear whatsoever of writing extremely long run-on sentences that are grammatically correct. I'm not afraid to die, or so I think. On the one hand I imagine/hope death will be a lovely respite from the relentless yammering of consciousness. On the other hand, I do believe in reincarnation and I don’t want to leave the incarnation I’m currently in, as it’s super rad and tons of fun when expressed well.
But really, on a deeper level, my fear of monsters is about feeling unsafe because the world can be an unsafe place. I think monsters are scary because they’re uncaring and impervious to reason. Humans do possess the facilities to care and to reason, but, tragically, not all of us are expressing these abilities. There’s all manner of scary monstrous behavior taking place amongst the humans. People hate and often kill each other for the way they look or the places they’re from or things they believe. People subject themselves and each other to physical and mental enslavement. Greed and short-sightedness have created enormous inequality. The earth is being defiled in the name of progress. It’s enough to make even the fiercest leg grabbing monster seem cute and cuddly.
Humans need to grow out of being monsters. Much like I need to grow out of checking under the bed. The only way humans can evolve past monstrous behavior is through heightened compassion and an expansion of consciousness. Those of us who are not acting as monsters but are watching monstrosities play out on the world stage need to stop watching that show and turn our attention, thoughts, words and actions toward creating a beautiful world.
I do believe thoughts become things, so the very act of writing about monsters is making me apprehensive. I’m worried that speaking about the under the bed monsters will breathe life into them and when I kneel down tonight to check I will find a monster indeed. This monster will either be A. perfectly shaped to fit under my bed despite all the precautions I’ve taken or B. too large to fit and just wedged himself in there, exit strategy be damned.
However, if I truly believe thoughts become things and I’m waving a flag for the power of positive thought and action, I must admit I’ve been going about this checking under the bed business all wrong. I’ve spent over 17,000 nights of my life checking (or preventing the need to check) for monsters under my bed, when I could’ve spent all that time doing something entirely different! Like checking under my bed for pots of gold, or the elves that left them, or even the catamaran I drew in all it’s 44 foot glory, although there would be no need to kneel down to see that, as it would definitely stick out from under the bed. Yes, from now on when I perform my nightly ritual I will expect to see something far more delightful than monsters under my bed! Furthermore, in the spirit of my total liberation from potentially lurking monsters I’m going to apply this same course of action to the other place in my home I check on a nightly basis, my closet.
Because fear is just reaf spelled backwards,