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Monsters come in many different forms, and from the most unlikely of places.

“The Shape of Water” was a story about a love between a sea creature (who wasn’t given an actual name in the story, at least not that I noticed) and a woman named Elisa. On outside appearance, she seems isolated because she doesn’t speak, though as many introverts understand, quality can be so much richer than quantity. Elisa has deep friendships with Zelda (a janitor friend) and Giles (her neighbor). To me, these relationships are what create the tapestry of love in the movie.

Giles is an aging gay man and Zelda is black woman, both of whom experience their own social and emotional isolation in 1960’s America. They both provide support and assistance to Elisa as she takes up the charge to help the amphibious man escape the captivity of the research facility and return to the open waters of freedom.

I’ve always been a fan of movies about different sorts of creatures and monsters. They can truly test the bounds of the imagination as they represent new realms of existence. But when they encounter humans who fear them, there is always an interaction that makes us question our own humanity. How do we deal with strangers? Would we love the sea creature? Or would it frighten us?

Sometimes, I have felt like the odd creature. I have a hard time interacting with others, communicating my intentions, or feeling like a natural person. The world can be a strange and scary place. Finding allies doesn’t always come naturally. I don’t always love myself. I worry that the world will reject me if I show who I am, so I hide in the corners in hope that someone might rescue me.

“The Shape of Water” is a movie about hope, love, and friendship. I proves that there are those out there in the universe who are willing to love a stranger. We have allies. Others have been in our shoes. We are not strangers anymore when we find those who have walked this path before. Community bonds can come from dark corners and hidden places.

At different times in my life, I have felt that existence was more difficult for me than for others. Yes, that sounds dramatic- but it often seems that some people have it so easy. They make friends effortlessly, they speak their mind, they may have poor motives, but it really doesn’t seem to matter. They are loved no matter what, while I remain in the shadows.

But then I look around and notice that there are other shadow dwellers with me. We have been in the same places and had the same struggles. We notice beauty where others pass quickly by. We feel deeply where they scratch the surface. We listen and observe, and we experience the world in all of its vibrant colors and magnificence. We are not alone.

There were many themes in “The Shape of Water,” but the ones that stood out most to me were finding community among other outsiders, and realizing that the so-called monsters are beautiful. This is a gift of feeling like an outsider- where others see scales and ugliness we are able to see love.

Drop me a comment and let me know where you’ve seen beauty in the shadows. Talk to you soon,

-Suzanne