Pieces of Me

The Monster in my Closet

For ten years I have stared at the same white door. Every morning when I wake up and every night before I sleep, the white door to my closet mocking and tormenting me.

Ten years ago we moved into this house. Bringing with us, boxes and storage containers packed to the brim with our lives of yesterday. While over the years all the boxes and their treasures have been opened and placed, there always remained one box completely untouched.

The Monster in my Closet

The clear, rectangular box, with the blue handles on its lid was the first box I put away. Climbing onto a step ladder, I placed it high up in the furthest corner of my walk in closet. For ten years the box sat there, in the dark collecting dust and cobwebs.

It would be easy to think that in these ten years I had forgotten about the box. But it has been quite the opposite. For ten years that box has held tight onto my fear and vulnerability. Tugging at the strings of my heart each time I walked past the closet door. Each time I stepped into the closet to pick out my clothes or shoes, haunting me from above.

The Monster in my Closet

I remember packing that box, all those years ago, in my old bedroom at my parent’s house. Sometimes it only feels like it happened yesterday. One by one, I placed the journals and diaries I had been writing my whole life into this box. Pages and pages of words etched into them. Some journals were more worn than others. Some more tear stained than others. Along with a piggy bank I had when I was little and my high school dress, signed by all the students from my graduating year, the diaries and journals were packed for the next chapter of my life, in our house as husband and wife.

Except when that new chapter started, I never opened the box. If anything I lay in fear of what those diaries and journals held. I created nightmares of what memories and keepsakes they threatened to reveal. Slowly, the monster in the closet grew stronger and more vicious. Sometimes I could hear the taunts coming from the closet door. I would switch off my light, slip deep under my covers and will myself to sleep; all to avoid the monster.

The Monster in my Closet

I was growing wearisome. The game we had been playing for ten years was growing tired. One night something changed. With the dim light of my lamp, listening to Missy Higgins, laptop across my bed and writing into the night, I stopped.  Somewhere in the darkness a voice ‘this has to stop now.’ With that, almost as if I was in a trance. I walked off my bed, opened the white door into the closet, flicked on the fluorescent light and climbed the ladder to bring the box down again.

Almost trembling, I carried the box to my bed. Laptop pushed aside, Missy Higgins still playing, I opened the gritty lid. Lifting out the journals, notes and letters started to fall out. With each cover I opened and each page I turned a sense of calm started to ease over me. I stopped to read some entries, flicked through others and lingered for a long time over the letters.

The Monster in my Closet

As it turns out there was never a monster in my closet. It was always a dear old friend. Begging me to switch on the light and share a coffee. One of the changes I am working on in my life is to make more decisions through my vulnerability. I am trying to not live in fear, but to live through my fear. I have new journals now. I keep them by my bedside and write in them every night. I even have a small tiny one, for my sentence a day.

In its simplicity, opening the box of old journals and diaries was weighing me down and haunting me. Now it has become a box of possibility.

What monster lies in your closet?


  • LydiaCLee

    Nice transition on the object – the whole ‘it’s not the problem that’s the problem, it’s how you think about the problem that’s the problem’

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    For me, sometimes the thought of dealing with something is far worse than actually dealing with it. I’m so glad you found a dear old friend and no monsters when you opened the box !
    Have the best day.
    Me xox

  • mumabulous

    I trust your teenage diaries were considerably less excruciating than my teenage diaries.

  • I have my teenage journals and every now and then sit down and read through them. There are also letters from my best friend back then. It’s great to reminisce, but also brings some not so good memories too. I use it to reflect and remind myself moving forward is necessary and possible. x

  • This is something that I wish I had. It’s wonderful that the box has become a box of possibilities Josefa x

  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    I admire you for being brave enough to open that box and read the journals. About 10 years ago, I threw all of mine out without looking. I regret the decision, but the monsters were just too scary for me x

  • I think being able to look back and read what we wrote is such a treasure, because we can see just how much we have grown. It’s a pretty exciting thing really.
    Glad you braved the monster.

  • Well done on being brave and opening the box. I have a few of my journals from my younger years. They are bundled together in a shoebox with various letters and cards from my teenage years. I’m too scared to read back through them, I’ve come a long way since those days, but I also don’t want to get rid of them just yet, as they are an important part of who I have become.
    A great post Josefa xx

  • The Plumbette

    For me, I would be excited to read my past and reflect on the memories. What a great box to keep and I would treasure it, because while it may contain good and bad memories, they are still memories of the past and I think it’s an incredibly valuable possession. I’m glad that you were able to realise that it wasn’t the monster in the closet. A beautifully written post, as always Josefa. 🙂

  • Leanne Shea Langdown

    Ahhh, I love boxes of possibility. I share a box of mine when I do author talks. It’s the box of all the letters of rejection from publishing companies. It could be a box of fear, uncertainty and failure … but to me it is a box of hope, promise and possibility. Behind every challenge is a possibility … just waiting to present itself … 10 years later. Well done Josefa!
    x o
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  • I love it when I find old journals and things from my childhood, its so interesting reading through them and reliving those moments. I usually find them when Im spring cleaning though and get so distracted not much cleaning ends up getting done.

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I admire you for having the strength to bring that box down and face your fears – go you! I hope it’s the start of an even better new chapter for you x

  • I wonder what it was that you were afraid of? You were able to move through the fear in this instance, but is the underlying fear, that is what you were actually afraid of finding, still in existence? Just now it has moved on to another object, in another cupboard? xS

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    This is lovely Josefa and I’m so glad the monster has been revealed as your own friendly (younger) self. Even though you were avoiding it through fear, now that you have opened it after so long I’m sure it comes with so much extra perspective than had you read and re-read its contents over the years. I really don’t know what I did with my early journals, mostly just doodle diaries, but I have some early writing when I was in the midst of coming to terms with infertility that is raw and vulnerable – it brings me back but shows me how far I’ve come. X

  • I have a massive box of letter in an old hat box, but it is out on display, just no one ever opens it. Ever.

  • Yes yes I too have words I am afraid to revisit. Afraid to go to there again. Afraid of being embarrassed by my young heart on those pages. Some day 😉

  • Loree

    I would say you had an old friend in your closet, not a monster. It’s hard, sometimes, to re-live those old words – but necessary. At least you have all of them. One of mine has rotted away at the bottom of the sea somewhere between Comino and Malta. How it got there is a long story but it is a regret I live with to this day.

  • I know where my journals are, tucked away, but I’m not sure I need to read them yet. Maybe later. For now I am happy where they are. xx

  • Its so lovely that you have all those. I wrote journals and mostly out of embarrassment threw them all away. Who DOES that!? Apparently me. Beautiful post Josefa. I’m glad you finally pulled them out.

  • TeganMC

    I have bags of my old journals and letters in my wardrobe. I used to look at them regularly and at one stage had even started to put them onto the computer. I haven’t touched them in years though, I cringe at the words, at how little awareness there was of my actions. I feel myself being pulled back when I read the words, remembering the things I have lost and so for now, they will stay locked away.

  • I think it’s so wonderful that you still have that collection of history, and that it can now be a box of possibility. I never was in to journal writing, sadly. Though I hope to one day pass on some kind of memories of my youth to my own kids like my mother did me.

  • TwitchyCorner

    I love that you dealt with your “monster”, the end of the post reminding me of Grover and the Little Golden “Monster at the End of This Book” story. ( *SPOILER* It is himself, not a scary monster at all. A big fave.)

    It is wonderful and makes me piny for the journals I wish I had now, the ones I didn’t write because I knew they would be snooped upon and land me in trouble. Now I miss what I never had xxx

    PS The monster in my closet is all the culling I still have to do for packing and moving. I am ill with nerves 🙁

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