How’s Your Inner Frankenstein Doing?

If you could, what would you change about yourself?

Posted Aug 09, 2019

Carrie Knowles
What would you change about yourself?
Source: Carrie Knowles

In 1814, Mary Shelley traveled throughout the Rhine region of Germany with Lord Byron and her lover and future husband, Percy B. Shelley. At some point in their journey, the three of them decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story.

Mary Shelley won.

Mary Shelley’s idea of having Dr. Frankenstein use modern science to piece together a new living creature and gain immortal fame has become the fodder for numerous movies and science fiction knockoffs for more than 200 years.

It’s a fascinating concept: What if you could take a body from this person, a head from another, a brain from another and, voilà, create something bigger and stronger than the sum of their parts?

As we know from the ending of the story, the results were not exactly ideal.

There’s a similar kind of magical thinking in the story of The Wizard of Oz: If I only had a heart; if I only had a brain; if I only had courage.

That’s the story of our lives, isn’t it? If I only had _________.

Go ahead, fill in the blank. You know at some point in your life you’ve wished for something about yourself to be different. You believed in your heart that if you could only change some feature about the way you looked or lived, it would change your life and make you taller, smarter, richer, more successful, more beautiful, your house would always be tidy, and the meals you served perfect and loved by everyone.

What is that thing for you?

Whenever I let my mind drift down Frankenstein Lane, I try to laugh it off and couch it in the framework of, In my next life I want to have  ____________________.

Top of my list: longer, thinner legs. Okay, and maybe one smashingly successful book that ends in a movie contract (the book publishing business these days is brutal). And, when my first big royalty check comes rolling in, I’ll cash that sucker and buy a beach house.

When dark days hit, and they do for everyone, no matter how tall, thin, rich or successful, and the “if I had this or that or if I could change this or that about myself” thoughts come bubbling up, you need to pay attention.

When the darkness hits, it’s probably time to stop what you’re doing and assess where you’re going and what you really want to do with your life. But, truth is, you don’t really need a beach house in order to regroup. For that matter, you don’t have to go far away, or for long in order to take a break and refuel; you just need to go somewhere by yourself to take a deep breath and refocus.

What did you write in that blank: If only I had ___________________. Do you really have to have that particular something to be smarter, taller, or happier? Or, is it time to step back in order to discover if you already have what you need?

Maybe you don’t, but maybe you do.

Mary Shelley’s tale of Dr. Frankenstein lives on 200 years after it was first published because it really is a book about soul searching, about looking for some great success, some incredible scientific breakthrough, only to discover it isn’t what you thought it was going to be.

It’s a great read, a doorway into a chance to really think about what you would do if you used some magic powers to create a new life, and instead, created a monster.

Reading Frankenstein gives you a chance to discover, as do Dorothy and her companions in the Wizard of Oz, that you may already have what you need to find your way home to loving yourself just the way you are, short, stocky legs and all.

However, I’d still like to have one smashing book success and a movie deal.

Wouldn’t we all?