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Veiled Monstrosity

Cristen Sunga


Growing up as an overweight Filipina girl with a lisp in a predominately non-Asian city - as well as within a tactless family - has bestowed a life of struggling with OCD, severe anxiety, and crippling depression upon me. At the start of 6th grade, I overheard a former childhood friend say, “I wouldn’t be caught dead with that monster,” after she had ditched me to be with the popular students. The term monster has stuck with me to this day. Societal standards cause humans to turn into monsters on two different fronts: those who inflict vile harm - physical, mental, and emotional - onto those who do not fit these societal expectations; and those who fall victim to othering, insecurity, and trauma from being treated as monsters for failing to fit in. I decided to personify my trauma, anxieties, and insecurities through various monsters from mythology and folklore, whose stories coincide with my own. There are many experiences that are much easier for me to show, than to say out loud, and these creatures have allowed me to finally portray and document feelings and thoughts that have never seen the light of day.