Trick or treat? You've already met this year's greatest monster and our greatest fear. We're all afraid of the world in which we exist, and sometimes, we don't even understand why.
At one point, the world felt like it plateaued, at least to me. I felt like the world was making very slow progress, but progress, nonetheless.
It seemed as though the world was becoming a more tolerant, understanding and loving place. Although the world would never become gentle or fair in its methods, it was still spinning.
Except, nothing much has changed at all.
We rid the world of one enemy and along comes another. The next in line will always be waiting in the wings, ready to face the world's soldiers. It's hard to pinpoint an exact evil when there are so many in the world. There are far too many callous offerings to blame just one.
Take this year's ascension of ISIS. What once seemed a distant and exaggerated peril has become a real and grotesque threat to our nations. ISIS has indulged in a litany of crimes, rooted in horror and intimidation in its deadliest form.
The organization encourages the enslavement of women, and women are forced to endure the cold violence of sexual crimes.
ISIS has abused its self-assigned authority in the name of fear and control, and the murders of British and American hostages have plagued the pages of the media.
While researching for a blog on the NATO Summit, I realized how much of the world spun in secrecy and the dire need for cotton wool padding to protect ourselves. We're far from a world of quiet, peaceful coexistence.
It's not only the globalized threats of nuclear weaponry and terrorism that grasp on the fear of the human race; it's the world itself, at its very core.
The world is nonsensical and it gives few explanations. We say the world is a beautiful place, and on the surface, it is exactly that: majestic scenery, the animal kingdom and a world walked by those who no longer suffer prejudice.
A world where slavery was abolished is not the same world that enabled it. A world where gay couples can marry is not the same world where homosexuality had to be masked in shame. The world has come far, but as I've always said, it gives as much as it takes.
For the last month, all I've heard about is loss. There has been a surplus of premature deaths, pivotal pains and sunless days. Is it because I'm getting older? Someone told me once that the older you get, the more loss you see.
Yet, I'm 24. And, it's not my loss that I'm seeing; it's always someone else's -- although, that could change in the bat of an eyelid. How does the world decide who deserves pain and who doesn't?
It's just the luck of the draw. Luck doesn't discriminate; it doesn't choose the players of the game or the game that gets played. It throws the dice and acts on chance.
This year's monster hiding under your bed? It's reality. It's the world in its ugliest form. It takes as much as it can, and gives as much as it chooses. Not even the luckiest of us can escape the harsh brutality of fate or the grisly truths of broken humans in the age of distorted extremism.
Most of us fear loss of our loved ones, our livelihoods and ourselves. During our lifetimes, we are faced with tremendous grief and isolation; yet, we somehow claw our way out of the dark.
Humans are compelled to feel strength. We feel pain daily, but we survive. That's why we need hope in the world. We need hope that humanity can overcome its flaws, its desperation and its darkness. We need to believe we will make it, despite the revulsion the world releases.
We have to hold on to the ideal that humans can stop destroying each other and everything else. We have miles to go, but we can make the monsters we fear retreat into themselves.
We still glow when the world tries to extinguish the light. It's like a burning match fighting the chill of the autumn wind and, against all odds, stays lit. When the black shadows of the night hide in the corners of the room, and when darkness draws in, we create our own safety.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It