I Was an Early-Middle-Aged Werewolf


I actually thought "there's a bathroom on the right" for the longest time

Where the hell am I supposed to find silver bullets? K-Mart? ~from “Monster Squad”

As I’ve been re-reading a novel about a reluctant werewolf (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), the strangest thing has happened. I’ve been craving exceptionally rare meat, wanting to hunt small furry animals, and having episodes where I can’t remember a thing. All right, I confess. All but the steaks are slight exaggerations. I don’t really believe in the concept of turning into a twisted form of Canis lupus every full moon. Or do I?

The mythos of the full moon is as old as humanity itself (the English word “lunatic” is derived from the Latin for “moon,” for example.) I’ve heard it said among police officers and emergency room workers that yes, the crazies really do come out when the Moon is on the far side of Earth. There’s no scientific evidence to necessarily back this up. In some ways it’s another variation of, say, astrology or fortune-telling. I for one don’t believe in anything non-scientific. But there’s no denying I get a little crazy once a month or so. Whether it’s mysterious planetary influences or the same forces of gravity that pull the tides in and out, I can’t say.

What werewolves do on their days off?

Having long been a fan of lycanthropes in literature (with the notable exception of the Twilight books…sorry), I can often empathize with them. There’s a time in just about everyone’s life when he or she feels literally like turning into a wolf or similar predator. For those working dead-end jobs in the retail or hospitality sector, it’s even worse. The things we might do in lupine form would be instinctual and thus understandable. Humans have largely lost touch with the realms of nature and thus, our instinctual sides. Wolves are the image that comes to many people’s minds when they envision nature in its purest state.

But I’m wandering into academic jibber-jabber here. As a woman, and especially as a woman on the autism spectrum, werewolves are as good a metaphor as any for me. An autistic meltdown can feel like a transformation. It’s a worst-case scenario in which rage, or fear, take over and we are reduced to a primal state. Anyone who has worked with animals will know that approaching a scared or nervous creature can be deadly. And that’s how many people with autism, including me, feel during a meltdown. Like a dog (or wolf) who can’t control its surroundings and is reduced to lashing out or crying.

He may be angry, but he flosses every day

Thankfully I’ve had plenty of practice controlling this problem. Just as Prof. Lupin in the Harry Potter novels finds that the Wolfsbane Potion helps his “furry problem,” meditation, exercise, and a more balanced diet have been beneficial during the hard times for me. I also find that I need extra iron in the form of red meat. And yeah, I like it rare. Probably the best thing I can do for myself is to be alone, whether at home with its array of small comforts or at a local park in the early morning hours, when few others are around. I can’t get angry if there is no one around to make me angry. The werewolf cannot draw blood if there is no prey.
 
Of course I don’t literally believe in werewolves (although I’ll confess to believing in Sasquatch, alien intelligences, and, if you’ll pay me, the Tooth Fairy.) Like most myths, though, they have something important to teach us. There’s a reason the image of a human-animal shapeshifter has existed from the ancient nomadic shamans to 21st-century pop culture. That wounded animal lives in us all, and it’s up to us to control it and make it work in our favor.
 
As for me, well, I think it’s time to head to the local Kroger for some Angus beef. The full moon, it turns out, is on Monday. If I’m feeling the need, I might need to throw in a Kong chew toy as well. I can always give it to the local Humane Society.
 

Remember, never moon a werewolf

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on September 9, 2011.

One Response to “I Was an Early-Middle-Aged Werewolf”

  1. Haha! Love the first illustration!

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