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Episode Sixty One

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Monstrous Agonies E61S02 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Sixty One.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-the creation of narratives-”, a voice saying “-exactly how these myths start-”, guitar music, and a voice saying “-old roots-” before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-channel your inner poet and kick him down the stairs.

It's almost two o'clock on Thursday morning, and time for our advice segment. Our first letter tonight comes from a listener feeling disconnected from their identity.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

Hello. Is that a good way to start this? I-I've spent so long wondering if I even should write in, and now I'm stressing over my hello. I'm... Well, I'm really hoping you could give me some advice.

Obviously, that's what this segment is for. But I'm worried that I might be a bit of a lost cause. Or that I'm in the wrong place entirely perhaps your advice is going to be to go somewhere else.

See, I'm human. Completely, physically human. But I don't feel human. I don't identify with it, I don't resonate with humanity, if that makes sense?

It's hard to describe. It's not like I think I'm secretly another genus or something. But I don't feel like I belong with other humans. It's like they're objects in a mirror and I can see them and mimic them but I can't touch them. Not really.

I'd say I'm more of a... a fox or something, I don't know. Definitely not sapio at the very least. Do you know what I mean? I guess what I'm asking is, do I have a place in the creature community at all?

You always say it's for everyone so... Is that me, too? C-can I belong here? Are there other people who feel the same way I do? I hope so. [sniffs] Well, I-I don't hope anyone else feels like me. I'm so lost, I want to cry about it sometimes, but I hope I'm not alone. Am I alone?

The Presenter (as themselves)

Thank you for writing in, listener. I'm glad you feel this is a safe place for you to bring your questions. We have answered questions from sapio listeners in the past and will continue to do so.

I say this because I want to be clear that what I'm about to say is not that you don't belong here. You're not in the wrong place, but I worry you're asking the wrong questions.

You are not from a liminal genus, you have not been turned – you are sapio. That doesn't necessarily exclude you from the creature community – there are people who are members of our community by dint of their work, their life experiences, their relationships with people in other genuses. I've said plenty of times on this programme that the only bar to inclusion is self-identity.

But I'm afraid you don't seem to me to be making that self-identification. You define yourself repeatedly by what you are not – not sapio, not one of them, whatever you are, it's not that. The closest you get to saying what you are in positive terms is “a fox or something”.

I think the reason you're struggling is because the problem isn't that you're a person of the night. It's that you're unhappy. You sound desperately unhappy, listener, and I'm so sorry for that. It is an awful feeling to look at the world and not see a place for yourself. My heart goes out to you. It truly does.

You could be turned, if you wanted. It would leave your status in the community unambiguous. But I'm sorry, listener, I don't think it will help. There is an underlying loneliness and alienation that I worry will only be exacerbated if you were turned, and didn't find the sense of belonging you're hoping for.

I think you would benefit from some professional support – someone who can help you explore these feelings and help you find ways to cope with them both in the long and short term.

You can also take steps to connect more with the people around you. Try to meet as many different kinds of person as possible. I don't just mean different genuses – I mean, people who are different ages to you, from different cultural backgrounds, people with different interests.

Imagine your sense of belonging as a kind of jigsaw puzzle. The point here isn't to find the one group that fills that space perfectly. It's about filling that space with lots of different, overlapping groups. Set your questions of identity aside for the time being, and concentrate on cultivating a sense of connection to the world around you, and the people in it.

You might well turn round in, say, a year's time and decide that actually, being turned is the right decision for you. But I want you to be able to make that decision out of a positive, affirmative sense of yourself – not as a desperate flight from your own loneliness.

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

The Presenter

When a room needs that special something, try Glowing Floating Orbs! They're orbs, they float and they glow! What more could you want? What more do you need? What else is there to ask? What more could you want? Get them. Get them now. Now. Get now. Get. N-Now. Now. Get. [distorted] ORBS.

[End background music]

The Presenter

Our second letter comes from a listener worried about growing apart from their partner.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

I met my girlfriend just over four and a half years ago, at a friend's Midsummer celebration. It was at this eco camping place, all yurts and ribbons, on the shore of a lake in the middle of nowhere. I think about half the guests fell in love that night – it was that kind of party.

We went swimming. Slipped away from the bonfire, the music getting faint as we left everyone behind. I was nervous, I'm not a very good swimmer. But she was so strong and safe, and so graceful in the water. She let me hold onto her fur, and it was so thick it almost didn't seem like it was wet.

I remember floating on my back, the stars spinning slightly above me, and thinking, "My God. I'm never going to be the same again."

Like I said, it was the kind of party that made you feel like falling in love. And plenty of people did – for the night, at least. Then the sun came up, the hangovers set in, people came down from whatever various substances they'd been enjoying, and, uh... Well. You know. Sometimes one night's enough, isn't it.

But it wasn't, for us. I knew, I just knew that I wanted to be with her. And she felt the same way. Not to perpetuate a stereotype, but the old joke about lesbians moving in with each other on the first date? [laughs] We weren't quite that bad, but not far off. What can I say – when you know, you know.

That first winter was hard. She'd given me plenty of warning, we'd talked it over. She worried I'd be lonely, I told her I'd be fine. And I was, you know. I missed her, a lot. But I knew she'd wake up in spring and we'd have eight months together before her next hibernation. That seemed like a pretty great deal. Honestly, I'd spend a year alone if it meant I got to see her for a month. A week! She's wonderful. She's... I love her so much.

It's not like when she's hibernating I don't have support. I've got brilliant friends who love me and take care of me. I miss her but it's fine. And when she's awake, she is all in. Absolutely devoted. She works so hard at this relationship and I feel so loved.

But whenever she wakes up, it's like I feel... older? As if I've been left playing while she's on pause. And sometimes it's like, I can see her realise it? That- That we're not growing at the same pace.

[sniffs] Four months isn't that long. But it's four months, and another four, and another four, and another, and...

I want to share my life with this woman. But there are these big chunks where she isn't there. We aren't on the same page any more. And I, I want to be, so badly! Is there anything I can do?

The Presenter (as themselves)

There is good news here, listener. For all the difficulty that you're facing – and it is significant, please don't feel I'm diminishing that – but for all that heartache and struggle, there is one clear fact that gives me a great deal of hope about your situation.

The fact is: you want this. You still want this, want her. You want to make the relationship work and so does she – she is “all in”, “absolutely devoted”. As long as you are still committed to being with each other, and to the hard work that entails, you stand a very good chance of being able to navigate through these difficult waters.

The key, I think, is to find a way to celebrate your different rhythms. Instead of feeling awkward and uncomfortable about the fact that you're different each time she wakes up, try to treat it as something to be excited about. How lovely, to relearn your favourite person all over again.

When she's awake, be sure to set aside time to catch up with one another. I don't mean an afternoon spent sharing news and gossip. You need regular, repeated periods of time with one another as your only focus.

Plan to spend at least one afternoon a week, for example, doing something together without interruptions or distractions. It could be as simple as leaving your phones at home while you go for a walk in the park together. What's important is that you're spending time with one another, learning how you've changed and how you haven't.

If that sounds daunting, remember – you have done this before, back when you were first dating – even if your relationship did move at a stereotypically lesbian pace.

Think back to those early days together. Remember how that felt, how exciting it was to unearth all these new things to love about each other. With some careful thought, a little hard work, and good communication, I think you can find a way to rekindle that excitement, and embrace change as part of your abiding love for one another.

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

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network – community owned, community run.

[End background music]

The Presenter

That's all for our advice segment. Next, what is up with aeroplane food? We talk to the community's favourite aviator, Amelia...

[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through a voice saying “-since the build up on the border-”, a voice saying “-I cannot write about it-”, a voice saying “-inflicted colossal suffering-”, distorted speech and pop music before fading out.

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

H.R. Owen

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

Tonight's first letter was from a submission by Auxin, the second was based on an idea by Jeebs, and today's advert was taken from two similar submissions by Art and A Guy. Thanks, friends. See the show-notes for details on how to submit your own advert ideas.

Big hello to our latest supporter on Patreon, Tech Ghoul! Join them at, or make a one-off donation a You can also support the show by sharing with your friends and familiars, and by 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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