Your Upside Down

Like so many others, I have been completely captivated by the Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’. As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, what’s not to love?? Everything from the clothing to the hair styles to the fabulously ominous synthesized 80’s horror movie music is right up my alley—and the fact that they meticulously pay homage to just about every cult classic movie from that time period in some way, shape or form.

Here is where I warn you; if you haven’t seen it and plan on watching, be prepared for some spoilers.

As I watched, It really struck me how the ‘Upside Down’ isn’t just a place that these characters deal with in the show…in our own messy lives, we too often face going into the Upside Down. It’s a damn scary place to be—and we don’t even get the benefit of an 80’s keyboard soundtrack while we’re in there.

Seriously, have you ever felt like your whole world has been turned upside down? It’s a perfect way to describe it, as that place has you feeling disoriented. It looks a lot like your own world, but it’s a foreign place–a place you don’t really know how to navigate because that’s not how your world normally is. Often when you’re there, the people around you don’t even know it. Even if there isn’t a monster in there, it’s traveling into unknown territory. And the unknown is unpredictable, which can be quite scary.

Trying to navigate the Upside Down is scary!! Bring your flashlight!
Trying to navigate the Upside Down is scary!! Bring your flashlight!

More than likely though, your Upside Down does indeed have a monster. Maybe more than one. Maybe it’s an abusive person, from the present or the past, who physically or emotionally hurts you. Maybe it’s an illness. Maybe it’s a childhood fear that keeps you in the Upside Down nightmare instead of living your dreams. It could even be a manifestation of you, your own inner demon tearing yourself up and keeping yourself down.

If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid this creepy place so far, I hate to break it to ya—but I think it’s safe to say that we all will find ourselves in the Upside Down at some point in our lives. Sometimes the portal into it rears up out of the blue and we fall right in. Sometimes we start down a narrow path that we know will lead us right there, and try as we might to leave that path, it just won’t let us veer off of it. More often than not, on some level we know the Upside Down is always present, right below the surface…and we do everything in our power to avoid going there.

I hate to break this to you, too—but sometimes you have to go in. Because going there is the only way to get back to the Right-Side Up. You can try to ignore that the place exists, but sooner or later it will find you. More and more you’ll find yourself turning right into it, more and more it will make its way into your daily reality. The Upside Down, and all of the scary, icky feelings it brings, will always be right around the corner no matter where you go.

Steve sports a Member’s Only jacket from my past.

So what do you do? You take a clue from the Stranger Things gang—you manifest some Badassery, put on your game face and your Members Only jacket, and you go in there. You go in so you can deal with the monster and take control of your life on your own terms. Life takes us to beautiful places, but being human in this thing called Life also takes us to the Dark Side. The Upside Down is always waiting, and when we find ourselves in it, we just have to learn how to navigate our way around.

It can make it easier if you have a friend with you—that’s the best friend you can get, someone willing to go into that creepy, scary place and fight along side you. But ultimately, only you can vanquish the Upside Down Monster. Only you know how.

I can promise you that if you go into that dark place armed with your weapons and tools—a lot of black humor and a rockin’ mixed tape are a couple of my faves—you will banish that monster in one way or another. You will face it and make peace with it, or you will conquer it all together. You will come out the other side feeling brave and strong, with new ideas and maybe even a new friend and unexpected support that you picked up along the way. You will be more prepared to go back in again the next time your path inevitably takes you there.

Meanwhile, grab some popcorn and watch Stranger Things. It’s a whole lotta fun.

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