Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Slaying the Closet Monster

Hey Guys,

I'm on my way to Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference. Post your comments and I'll answer them this evening.

Have a great day!

Do you remember when you were little, left alone in a dark room to sleep all by yourself? I do. I remember it so clearly. Lying in the bed, Wilber my stuffed pig tucked close to my side to keep me safe, and my imagination working overtime.

Mom had already checked under my bed, so I knew the monster hadn’t hidden there. There was only one place left for him to hide in waiting--waiting for me to fall asleep and then he would creep out of the shadows and attack. And yet for the life of me, I couldn’t make myself reach for the knob and open that door. Without a doubt, I knew, the monster lurked in my closet.

Amazingly, I grew up without that monster ever showing his face. I don’t think I actually forgot about him during my teen years. I’d lie in that dark room, my imagination working overtime. Ahh, but it wasn’t monsters I imagined. It was David Cassidy, AKA Keith Partridge. However, occasionally when I’d hear a thump in the night, I’d tuck Wilber a tad closer to my side to keep me safe. (Hey, I really liked Wilber)

Eventually, I grew up. Felt more confident, secure. I knew what was real and not so real. So I gave up David Cassidy, but Wilber got to stay.

Then I became a mom and I had to do the nightly checks under the bed. And one night, my daughter asked. “What about the closet?”

While what I wanted to tell her was, “Hey, I did the under-the-bed check, I’ve given you Wilber, don’t push your luck,” I tapped into my maternal instincts instead, pulled up my big girl panties, snatched up Wilber to go with me, and I opened the closet door to show her no monster lurked in the dark creepy shadows of her closet.

Fast forward twenty years. Wilber has gone to rest in stuffed animal heaven, where I’m sure he has gotten his angel wings, pissing off everyone who ever said, “I’ll do that when pigs fly.”

Luckily, I’m not one of those people. Nope, I seldom say “never, ever.” My flaw is saying, “I’ll do it when I get around to it.” My hubby even bought me a coined-shaped rock that has the word, “roundtoit” on it, so when I say, “I’m gonna clean the closets when I get a ‘round to it,’” he says, “You already have one. Do you think you might be a procrastinator?” Now, Wilber flying around heaven doesn’t bother me, but my husband saying that plum pisses me off.

Why? Because whenever a flaw has a name, it becomes so much more. Yup, when a flaw gains a title, it becomes a “condition.” Oh, it doesn’t stop at that stage, because conditions quickly become syndromes and mental illnesses for which doctor even offers pills. And in a blink of an eye, you’ll see yourself, or someone just like you, on a reality show.

So, I’m sort of coming out of the closet and admitting it. I’m a champion procrastinator. Wait, let me take that back, I’m not a procrastinator about everything. But when it comes to cleaning out closets, I’m the queen of procrastination and a clutter lover to boot.

Something about a closet just says, “Toss anything in here and you don’t have to ever worry about me ever again.” Adding clutter to a closet feels natural to me. It’s almost as if I’ve been brainwashed by the closet monster to feed him clutter.

Have you seen the show Clean House that Oprah talks about? If so, then you pretty much have an idea of what my walk-in, unwalkable closet looked like before I slapped my husband silly for his roundtoit comment, prayed to Wilber for protection, got Oprahfied, and pulled my big girl panties up and came to a conclusion. The conclusion being that I was NOT taking a pill for my flaw!!! And just in case Oprah showed up, I didn’t want to be the one who killed her for fear she’d peek into my closet and have an intervention show about some clutter-loving, closet-cleaning-impaired romance writer who believes in monsters. So I did it. I confronted the beast.

Now as an older, wiser woman in her forties, I’ve learned a lot about childhood fears and monster myths. And I’m here to tell you that the closet monster really exists. Who else could have made such a mess in there? Yup, I came face-to-face with that monster, too. He had the face of my flaws, of my fears, but I held strong and armed with my roundtoit rock and Wilber power, and I did it. I fought the monster.

It wasn’t easy. I found clothes that fit me six sizes ago! The monster roared its ugly head and tried to go after my self-esteem. I counter punched by insisting I was on a diet. I found styles that should have never come into being, or at least not in my closet. So when the monster attacked my sense of style, I blocked that blow by insisting we’re all allowed one or two fashion faux pas.

I found cat food cans, which my dog Bosco--who passed away only a year after Wilber—would steal from the bathroom garbage and horde in the closet to lick clean. The monster tried to stab at my sense of cleanliness. I stood up to that one by insisting they weren’t dirty. Bosco had licked them clean.

So, the closet monster went back to my clothes. I found outfits that went out of style with David Cassidy. I had no defense for that one. I took that blow full force. Embarrassingly, I found clothes that still had tags on them. I fought off the attack of being wasteful by blaming a friend who insisted the outfit looked great on me. She’s now an ex-friend because I realized she didn’t have my best interest at heart. Those outfits brought that fact home.

Now I have to tell you, cleaning out my closet gave me a sense of power. I have since cleaned out my downstairs hall closet, my upstairs hall closet, and my extra bedroom closet.

Slaying monsters can be addictive. I won’t go so far as to say that it was fun. I hated doing it. But I’m glad it’s done. I won’t go so far to say I’ll never allow them to get that way again. Because I know sooner or later, I’ll give in, fall prey to my flaw, my condition, my syndrome, and I’ll start feeding the monster again by tossing objects into the closet that should be tossed in the garbage.

But for now, I’m enjoying my victory. However, to this day, or I should say night, when I lay in bed and hear a slight noise, the first place my frightened gaze shoots is to the closet door. And if left open, I will get up and close it and with each step I’ll wish I had Wilber clutched close to my side. Hubby doesn’t like to follow me to the closet.

So what about you? How do your closets look? What are you afraid of? What were you afraid of as child? Do you procrastinate? Come on, let’s share a little.


Faye Hughes said...


Great post. I was afraid of those "closet monsters" when I waa kid, too. Even today, I can't sleep if the closet door is ajar.

Now, as for procrastination, you know my theory - why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? lol.


Teri Thackston said...

I can't sleep with the closet door open either, Faye. Oddly, I can't stand to have that same closet door closed during the day.

Hey, both of you have fun at Nationals...sorry I won't be there to watch for monsters with you. Who knows what hides in a hotel room closet? Shhh! Did you hear that?

CheekyGirl said...

My thing is triple checking locks -if I don't check them right before I get into bed, then my mind worries about it and won't let me sleep. I can't count how many times I have to get up and turn on the lights to go check. You can bet the hubby really loves that!

I am a procrastinator - once I discovered I work well under a time crunch I think I've used that as an excuse to always wait till the last minute!

Tori Lennox said...

Hey, that closet monster, or one of his relatives has taken up residence in my closets too! I can barely set foot in either one. It's insane!

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Hi Christie! You always have the best blog subjects. LOL I had my own routine to keep the scary things away at night, which I haven't thought about in years.

I didn't have a normal closet as a child because my room was in the attic, but what did keep me petrified each night when the lights went out were the two thin wooden doors that opened up into the walls of the house, one on each side of my room. The one on the far side led to my brothers' room across the way (which we used to scare each other once we got older *g*), but the one on the side of my bed led nowhere and scared the crap out of me for years...LOL I would arrange all of my stuffed animals around the bed, on the top of the covers, and pull my blanket up to my chin so no vampires could get me while I was sleeping.

These days, my biggest fear is some psycho breaking in while we're sleeping, so I'm totally anal about checking the front and back doors each night.

Terry S said...

Have fun at Nationals.

I never was afraid of the closet monsters or under the bed monsters. My room was a safe place. All the monsters were outside that firmly closed bedroom door. Knowing that, I wonder why now I have to have the bedroom door open before I can go to sleep. Maybe so I can hear the monsters coming before they reach me?

Congrats on conquering your closet monsters for the time being. Although, you are right they will come back and you'll fight again another day.

Kristi said...

I'm a huge procrastinator when it comes to housework. I have so many other things I'd rather do. My closets are a mess and I have at least 4 different sized clothes in there.

I was always afraid of the monster under the bed AND the one in the closet.

Now my biggest fears are worrying about health of my children, husband and myself and worrying that we won't be able to pay bills.

I'd go back to that closet monster any time.

Have fun at the conference.

Refhater said...

I'm clausterphobic, so I am afraid of confined spaces. Car washes are a nightmare for me. Not only am I in an enclosed space, but things are coming at me (brushes and such.) I'm also petrified of seagulls. As a child I wasn't afraid so much, my older brother was there to protect me if needed.

I prefer to get things over with as soon as possible, but have been known to procrastinate at times.

Christie Craig said...


Gotta get you over your procrastination.


Christie Craig said...


We are having a blast. Faye is not behaving and Jody is trying to get her to behave, but it's not working.


Christie Craig said...

Cheeky Girl,

You gotta be sure, don't you? My hubby is the one is always checking and rechecking things. And I'm like you, I work well under pressure. Ugg, but I still don't like the pressure.

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


I swear, he demands I feed him clutter! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Christie Craig said...


I know what you mean about those crazy fears. I hated looking at the windows as a child. We had peeping toms and I was always afraid to look up and see one there.

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...

Terry S.

Yup, they will return. I know that. But until then I won!!!! I'm the winner!!!!

Thanks so much for popping in.

Christie Craig said...


You are right. The closest monster is nothing to the real monsters. Ugg. I think one reason I enjoy conquering the closet monster is because it gave me a sense of control. So many things in this life we really don't have that control.

Here's hoping all our healths and stay fine and bills get paid.

Thanks so much for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


Car washes, huh? Hey, we all have our issues. Here's to always winning over those fears.

Thanks for stopping in.


Liz Fielding said...

Who are you, Christie Craig? And why haven't I got a stack of your books? Are they pub'd in the UK? If not it's going to be an Amazon day.

Christie Craig said...


Thank you so much!!

You should be able to find my work in the UK. I hope you enjoy them. Make sure to let me know.