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Episode Eighty One

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Monstrous Agonies E81S03 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Eighty One.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through harp music, a voice saying “-the measure of inflation-”, a voice saying, “-quite a bit, at the minute-” and pop music before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-hold the pickles. For God's sake, hold the pickles!

It's almost two o'clock on Thursday morning, and time for our advice segment. First tonight, a listener trying to navigate their identity.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

Well, it's been a hell of a year, huh? And here I thought maybe the 2020s might be a little calmer than previous decades. Shows what I know. [sighs]

On the other hand, I'm almost glad the rest of the world has been so insane. It kind of makes me feel less alone? I've had a lot going on in the last few years and it's been weirdly comforting to know that at least I'm not the only one.

It started about six years ago when I realised I'm trans. That makes it sound easy, doesn't it? Like I woke up one day and found a little post-it note from myself with my entire gender identity perfectly explained and, and that was the end of it. [laughs]

It, uh. It wasn't. Easy, I mean. It took me ages to put all the pieces together, and even longer to look the matter in the eye. If there's any eggs out there listening, just a heads up – you don't have to come out to anyone else, but it's all gonna go an awful lot easier if you come out to yourself.

And if you're not sure, pro-tip: cis people don't think about it that much. If you've ever had to Google it then uh... [laughs] Well.

Anyway, I got there in the end. And I knew my family was going to find it, uh... difficult. So I waited until I was out of uni and not so dependent on them before I told them.

Um. [swallows and sighs] I've- I've been sitting here for almost an hour now, trying to write this next bit. It still hurts. It's been almost a year, I should be used to the idea by now.

They, uh. Disowned me. Or, no, that would have been too much like taking responsibility for their choices. [laughs weakly] They, uh. They made me choose for them. I suppose it helps if they can make me the bad guy in whatever story it is they want to tell about themselves.

I left. Moved about as far away as I could without needing a passport. It hurt, but sometimes you need that, don't you? Cut away the rot, give yourself a chance at healing clean. I started to find new friends, get settled.

And then, because life's never content to leave you to it, I got turned. Forcibly. Random attack, the woman who did it wasn't even aware of herself. She was newly turned too and not in control and... [sighs] It was just a really terrible time for everyone involved! [laughs and sighs]

It was the last straw. I was barely making myself leave the house as it was. But now I just- I don't feel safe. Not myself, I-I don't think I'm going to get attacked again or anything. I mean me, I'm not safe. I'm dangerous. I've got a strong lock on the basement door, I-I think I can keep myself contained when I transform, but so did the woman who bit me, so... [sighs]

And I'd been concentrating on making friends with other queer people when I moved here. But those friendships are all still so new, I-I don't know if they can help me through this. And I don't know if the local werewolf pack will accept me as a trans guy. So. Rock, meet hard place. I... I just hope you can help.

The Presenter (as themselves)

First of all, listener, I want to recognise the strength and kindness you've shown to yourself by removing yourself from your family. It wasn't easy, but it was necessary in order for you to heal, as you say. Well done.

I'm going to ask you to reach for that kindness once again in the matter of your transformations. It's been well-documented that stress and anxiety around the transformational period can lead to reduced control and lower retention of one's sense of self.

You need to make your transformations as stress-free as possible. Locking yourself in a secure room is an eminently sensible precaution, but there's no reason that room can't be somewhere you enjoy being. Fill the space with things your transformed self will enjoy – toys, snacks, blankets and cushions, things with interesting smells or satisfying textures.

You don't want to be going straight from the day's work into your transformational space, or vice versa. Instead, mark the transition with some kind of calming activity, whether that's baking, knitting, meditation, taking a bubble bath – whatever 'relaxation' means to you.

You should start seeing results fairly quickly, as your transformations become less violent and less painful, and you start retaining more self-awareness – which will, in turn, reduce your stress even further. In time, you might feel able to safely join the local pack in their monthly activities.

Which leads me to the question of making friends. Listener, you already know what to do if people don't accept you as you are. Your family didn't reject you because you're trans. They rejected you because of a failure of decency on their part. Upon seeing that failure, you did exactly as you ought. You ended the relationship, and moved on to find people who would love you as you deserve.

As you put yourself out there and meet more people, there will be some who fail as your family did. But there will be far more who step up and welcome you into their community, whether that's the queer community or the creature community – or both, given the significant overlap between the two.

Stay true to yourself, and be brave. There's nothing wrong with you, either as a trans man or as a werewolf, and you don't have to give the time of day to anybody who thinks there is.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

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[End background music]

The Presenter

Tonight's second letter is from a listener experiencing some unusual emotions.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

I've always been afraid of spiders. And it’s not just thinking they're creepy and that, but full-blown panic attacks if they touch me. It used to be even if they were near me but I've had to get used to being close enough to trap them to get them out the flat.

The other day I’d trapped a spider under a glass, and it was running about in there, frantic as anything, when I started to feel something weird, like nothing else I’d ever felt. The closest I could describe it is panic or... or claustrophobia? But it, it wasn't like that, it was- it was different- [sighs] It was weird.

The spider had been in the sitting room when I trapped it, so I went through to the kitchen to calm myself down. Once I was out of the room, away from the spider, the feeling lessened. It was still there, just not so intense.

And then I went into the sitting room again, and it was back, strong as ever. And it- [sighs] It got stronger the closer I got to the spider. I realised, I was feeling the spider’s emotions?

I, uh, I put the spider outside pretty quickly after that, just to- to get away from its panic. But since then I’ve been feeling more and more emotions that aren’t mine, that aren’t even human. [shaky breath]

Some studies say you’re never more than 10 feet away from a spider. Others say it’s as little as three feet. I don't know which it is but [deep breath] I know there’s always at least one close enough to me for me to feel its emotions.

It’s hell. [sighs] It’s a constant knowledge that there’s a spider near me, somewhere out of sight. It makes my skin crawl, which makes it feel like they’re on me, which makes me panic!

And then there’s the... Ah, the weirdness of their emotions! They're not human, they don't process things like a human does. My brain is constantly distracted trying to figure out feelings that it’s just not built to understand. I w- I want to not feel this any more. Please! [tearful] Tell me how to make it stop!

The Presenter (as themselves)

Oh, listener. This sounds extremely stressful. Given the severity of your phobia, you may need to explore treatment with a licensed professional. But in the meantime, you can work on this fear yourself by educating yourself on the subject.

For example, it may help to know that, in the UK and Ireland, there simply aren't any species of spider that can harm you physically. At least none small enough to get inside your home without you noticing, and the larger sort are no more likely to attack you than any random person in the street.

You might find it useful to... Hang on a tick. Giant spiders. Why is that ringing a... bell? [computer mouse clicking, and keyboard typing as they talk] Just one moment, listeners, I need to pull something up from our archives... Spiders ... Emotions... There!

Oh for pity's sake. [sighs] You've been cursed, listener. Or rather, someone else has been cursed and you're suffering the thaumaturgic backwash.

Back in October, we had a letter from someone experiencing rather similar issues to yours. I, uh, don't recommend you seek the recording out, simply because I don't think it will help with your phobia.

The individual in question had been rather nastily cursed, and it seems the person placing that curse failed to properly account for thaumaturgic equilibrium. Amateur. In short, the curse has cast its shadow, and for whatever reason, that shadow has fallen on you.

Fortunately, you are rather better placed to find a solution for the problem than your eight-legged counterpart. All you need is to find a licensed practitioner to remove the curse – or, if you're very lucky, the other party involved will find a practitioner themselves and have it removed for you.

Still, there's no need to dawdle. With the removal of the curse, you should find yourself returning to normal, and experiencing nobody's emotions but your own.

However, I do still recommend trying to get a handle on this phobia of yours. Spiders are not just a fact of life – they are a vital part of the wider ecosystem, as we all are, and it might help you to manage your fears if you could better understand their behaviour and accept their place in the world. But mostly you want to, you know, get on with getting uncursed. Best of luck.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

131.3 FM – broadcasting all the time, for all time.

[End background music]

The Presenter

That's all for our advice segment. Now, with the increasingly irreligious nature of the annual festivities, some have argued this time of the year has lost its theological heft entirely. But can rending asunder the veil between worlds and ushering in a new and terrible dawn ever truly be a secular holiday? We talk to guests from across the religious spectrum...

[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through a voice saying “-first song to be performed in space-”, a voice saying “-Bournemouth Symphony Orch-”, a voice saying “-let's go for it!-” and classical music before fading out.

Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits.]

H.R. Owen

Episode Eighty One of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.

Tonight's first letter was submitted by Icarus, the second letter was from Art, and this week's advert was from a submission by Bug. Thanks, friends.

If you're enjoying the show, please consider supporting us on Patreon, at, or making a one-off donation at You can also help us grow our audience by sharing with your friends and familiars, and following us on Tumblr, @MonstrousAgonies, and on Twitter, @Monstrous_Pod.

This podcast is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The theme tune is Dakota by Unheard Music Concepts.

Thanks for listening, and remember - the real monsters are the friends we made on the way.

[Fade to silence]


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