SELF HELP: Ask A Werewolf “What can I do to stay strong?”

 

Illustration by Helena Garcia.

“Dear Werewolf,
I’m terrified nearly every day about what’s happening in my country. What can I do to stay strong and not allow fear to crush me?
Sincerely,
A Concerned Citizen”

Human:  Dear Concerned, I get terrified too. I realize that it’s my responsibility to educate myself about the state of the world, and my small part in making it what it is. So, I’m doing what I can to become more politically and socially aware and active, despite my lifelong loathing of politics. The cumulative efforts of everyday people definitely seem to be important.

But goddammit, wading through the amount of biased temper tantrums, inflammatory claims and complete horseshit that clutters up our news feeds could easily fill the majority of my work week. Even choosing which legitimate causes to support in this sea of outrage is a dizzying proposition. It’s not fun work, and often very confusing. Worse than that it…doesn’t feel like enough. So, in regards to facing the fear? I’m not sure I feel much different from you. I’m going to have to let the wolf side of me field that question.

 

Wolf: Hi Concerned. Fear is perfectly natural, don’t feel bad about it. Fear was probably the first emotion. All animals experience it, even monsters like me. Your species is very very thinky and clever, and as such, you suck at regulating your fear. I’m not very clever, but here’s a few perspectives that might help you manage it better.

You must recognize that you yourself are already the most fearsome monster on the planet. There is nothing to be more afraid of than you. When you say you are afraid about what’s happening in your country, you don’t mean you’re afraid of hurricanes or earthquakes or zombies or werewolves. You’re afraid of humans like you, the most vicious and destructive apex predators that evolution or God or whatever has ever produced. Do not create a distinction in your mind between the other humans that scare you and yourself. That will make them seem like big supernatural forces that cannot be defeated. That will make them seem like something more or less than human. This is simply not true. Look for the ways that you are actually a monster, like them. Look for the ways that they are mortal, like you.

Speaking of mortality, the other humans that scare you will die someday. So will you. So will every living thing on the planet some day, and it’s probably going to be your species that wipes us all out. That’s ok, even if you lot didn’t invent nuclear weapons, another giant asteroid will certainly trundle into us again sooner or later. It has happened before.

If you make peace with that, you won’t be afraid anymore.

On the nights when I stop being a frightened human, and grow my fangs and my fur and howl at the moon, I know I only have a short period of time to enjoy myself. I might get cornered by a team of the many highly skilled monster hunters in the world (there’s more than you’d suspect), or I might be attacked by a clan of vampires, or sunrise will simply come and I’ll turn back into a soft naked neurotic human again. My time is limited, regardless of the dangers, so I spend it doing the things I love to do while I’m still here.

I eat. I prefer to eat obnoxiously cruel people, because it is easier to morally reconcile with the human side of me, even though he’s still dreadfully conflicted and tiresome about it. I’m not. Killing and consuming things is deeply satisfying. Your species is the only kind of predator that has a problem with this. Many of you prefer not to know where your meat comes from. I don’t understand this behavior.

Anyway, I always eat cruel people. They have a particular identifiable smell. Sometimes I eat mean animals, too. I ate a hedgehog last month that was extremely condescending and rude to his wife, though I doubt she will thank me for it. Maybe you can’t eat the humans that scare you, but I invite you to consider the life force of the next chicken or carrot you eat. It’ll help you appreciate the joy of devouring something more. It’s a vicious, life-affirming pleasure, eating.

I spend a great deal of time in the woods. Being in the woods is good because it is beautiful, and because it is a wild and sometimes dangerous place that will also remind you that you’re going to die someday, and that you should be alright with that. It’s really, really good to be reminded of that. It’s astonishing how much you humans forget this.

I fuck a lot. I mean, a LOT. Not that there’s a ton of compatible werewolves out there–we don’t even have Tinder–but the ones I get along with are very important and dear to me. It’s quite similar to eating, and being in the woods. Messy. Life affirming. Fucking, and caring about who you’re fucking, is very very beautiful, and also reminds one that we’re all going to die someday. The French have some cute little term for it, that intense bit at the end.

Delicious people, the French. Plenty of cruel ones to choose from, too. I should visit Paris again.

Past that, I cultivate some small hobbies. I enjoy painting with watercolors and reading. I have a longstanding backgammon competition with a Golem I’m acquainted with in Minneapolis. It’s been going on pleasantly for a few decades now, but he tends to get depressing if I visit for too long. He inevitably gets drunk, and starts going on and on about the good old days. I have to remind him that there weren’t any.

Life has always been fleeting and brutal and dangerous, for everyone. That’s what makes it special.

That’s all I’ve got. Enjoy your time here, and don’t tolerate the cruel. They’re delicious.

Do you have a question? Feel free to discuss any topic at all, and please don’t be afraid of sounding weird. Actually, the stranger the better–would you like to know what goes into hosting a successful orgy? Curious about the benefits of doing ketamine with your dad? Want to know the best way to dispose of your abusive boss’s corpse after you’ve impulsively ripped his still-beating heart from his shattered rib cage and taken a big ol’ bite out of it? Anonymity is guaranteed. Just write “Dear Werewolf” at the beginning of your question, and send it with the alias of your choice to dearwerewolf@gmail.com.

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Werewolf

This particular nocturnal critter currently resides in the Appalachian mountains, where he occasionally engages in various weird ritualistic practices without actually believing in any of them. Belief is a funny thing. He can often be found writing songs, forging custom knives, and cooking brunch naked for his friends while listening to heavy metal, like any well adjusted person.

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