Gobstopper Penguin is my ‘Rest is Weak and Selfish’ monster. The ‘gobstopper’ came about because he has many layers of hard. And then the word ‘gobstopper’ reminded me of ‘rockhopper’, as in rockhopper penguin, and thus Gobstopper Penguin was born. (Art by R. Taylor.)
Recently, I had this chat with him.
Me: Remember when I showed you that you don’t need to protect me from thinking I suck any more, because my ‘You’re Disgusting and Deserve to be Obliterated’ monster turned into an awesome dragon called ‘You’re Amazing and Deserve to be Safe Forever’?
Gobstopper Penguin: Yes, but. It’s just that in this particular situation, people are suffering right now because of what you’ve done. People are going without because you owe them money. And because you’re taking so long to clear your room, your housemate is no doubt really worried that she won’t have time to find a new housemate.
Me: I understand that. I truly regret how I’ve approached things in the past, and I want to make things easier for those people as soon as possible. And the best way for me to do this is with regular rest and play. I get more done that way, and that’s the point here. The point is not for me to suffer. They don’t want that. Or if they do, that’s their stuff.
Gobstopper Penguin: Yes, but I just fail to see how you can even dare to think about your wants and needs at a time like this.
Me: It sounds like you’re really, really worried about me being in a situation where people might be angry with me, or I might feel guilt and shame towards them, and you want to get me out of that situation as soon as possible.
Gobstopper Penguin: Of course! I can’t stand for you to be in that kind of pain!
Me: Okay, I really appreciate that you care. Thank you. Let’s look at it like training an athlete – or since we’re in that kind of headspace at the moment, when Yoda was training Luke, I bet he gave him enough time to rest and sleep! And the future of the galaxy was at stake there!
Gobstopper Penguin: Actually, it must have been really hard for Luke to sleep in that mud hut with all those snakes and bugs everywhere, and the air being so humid after he grew up in a desert…
Me: That was very… specific. Gobstopper Penguin, do you have a crush on Luke too?!
Gobstopper Penguin: (small trilling purr)
Me: You’re a male penguin!
Gobstopper Penguin: Are you being homophobic towards penguins?!
Me: No. No, you’re quite right. You are totally allowed to have a crush on Luke. He’d probably think you were adorable.
Gobstopper Penguin: He’d probably tell me that fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.
Me: Wow. Yes, that was really insightful. Well done! So how can we apply this to our current situation?
Gobstopper Penguin: Um… I’m afraid of you being in pain because of guilt and shame and other people’s anger. So I get angry at you for resting. And then you hate yourself and get stuck and suffer.
Me: Yeah, that’s exactly right!
Gobstopper Penguin: (tearing up) I’m sorry!
Me: It’s okay! It’s okay. Mistakes made out of love are the best kind. (hugs him) Let’s just think about how to make this better.
Gobstopper Penguin: Can I shorten my name like that other monster did?
Me: You mean -
Gobstopper Penguin: Instead of ‘Rest is Weak and Selfish’ can I just be ‘Rest’?
Me: AAAHHH I LOVE YOU (cries)
Gobstopper Penguin: (adorable penguin noises and beak nuzzling)
Me: I’ll probably still call you Gobstopper Penguin because it’s just so cute.
Gobstopper Penguin: Sure, just like you call Dragon Dragon. But her underlying name is the opposite of what it was, and so’s mine. I wonder if all monsters are really the opposites of themselves?
Me: I wonder if they are. People too, perhaps. Perhaps my real name is not ‘Procrastination’ but ‘Doing Lots of Awesome Stuff’.
Gobstopper Penguin: Yeah!!!
Me: Are you sure about this? I’m feeling like there’s still some residual fear there. Is there anything I can do to create safety when you’re worried about me feeling guilty and stuff?
Gobstopper Penguin: Rest! You don’t feel so upset when you’re not tired. And have a talk to yourself about sovereignty and whose stuff is whose. And being allowed to be where you are. And all of that good stuff that you’ve learned. And remind me if I forget, okay?
Me: Okay! You’re the best! Really, you’re stunningly articulate. Where did all that come from?
Gobstopper Penguin: You.
Me: Awww Thank you.