I recently realized what I really always wanted to be when I grew up: a monster.
The fictional characters I most envied in my youth were all monsters. At my youngest I wanted to be a dinosaur or a shark, some ferocious eating machine. Then I wanted to be like Godzilla or the Hulk, an unstoppable and amoral force of nature. Later I wanted to be some kind of suave movie villain, like Dracula or Hannibal Lector: charming and compelling but ruthlessly deadly. Can a heavy metal rock star be a monster? The mystique surrounding the head-chomping Ozzy Osbourne and other unapologetically macabre metal bands made me want to play music as evil as theirs. And, of course, I always wanted to be a fearsome Decepticon.
Why? Predictable reasons, probably. My family life seriously sucked through much of my childhood and I rarely had any control of the situation. I was also bullied a bit as a kid -- though I'm proud to say that I always fought back, and never actually received a real ass-whooping. Doesn't change the fact that what I really wanted to do was to gut the assholes in my life with monstrous claws, gore them between monstrous jaws, or just crush them under-monstrous-foot.
But I never wanted to be cruel. Oh, sure, I can be callous, mean-spirited, devious and manipulative, but I'm not a psychopath. Maybe because what created a lot of the monsters I listed above was often an accident of birth or fate, or a misunderstanding. Monsters are both born and made, often slaves to their nature, but not always masters of their own fate. I wanted to be a force of destruction, no doubt, but simply transforming into something merciless and sadistic would require real evil. While I may enjoy evil vicariously through fiction, I admit I'm not evil myself, and generally oppose it in the real world.
Still, if I ever find myself uncontrollably changing under the full moon into some horrific creature with rows of knife-like teeth and murder in my eyes, don't be offended if part of me enjoys it just a little bit.