By A. Devia
Video of this post:
Video of this post:
"I'm well acquainted with villains that live in my head
They beg me to write them so they'll never die when I'm dead
And I've grown familiar with villains that live in my head
They beg me to write them so I'll never die when I'm dead"
Darkness - When the Highs are Lows
I'm sitting in my bed, in the dark. Dawn is still a distant dream. Rocking back and forth, hand scratching up and down my bare arm, up and down, up and down, scratch, scratch, scratch. Rocking, forever rocking, sobbing, hiccupping sobs. I shake my head, hoping the racing thoughts will fall out and leave me alone. Everything is crashing down, the thoughts like a bull in a china shop making everything that should be beautiful nothing more than garbage to be hated and despised. Rocking, rocking, wish it was soothing, wish it helped, rocking, sobbing, scratching. Shake my head again. Nothing helps. Nothing helps. Nothing helps. Repeat, rinse, still not clean, repeat, repeat, repeat. Nothing helps. My husband hears me. Enters the dark room, finds me and wraps me in a tight hug. The pressure helps. It's soothing. Makes me feel safe. He knows this. I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself. It doesn't work. I open my mouth and thoughts crashing around in my head spew forth in a torrent. Fast words, could be an auctioneer, fast, faster, just trying to get them out. I bet he doesn't understand half of what I'm racing to say, but it doesn't matter, he doesn't let go. He holds on tight and I know he won't let me fall. Eventually the words slow, the rocking slows, the scratching slows. He still holds on tight. I take a deep breath. And another. Hiccup. I dry my eyes on his shirt. He never complains. He's my saint. He's late for work. He doesn't let go. Not until he's sure the worst is over. My dark secret. So few people know, really know, it's like this, sometimes. I wish I could just bury it there, in the darkness, and never let it out. - A. Devia
"Did I seem ok when we were hanging out with our friends last night?" I ask Ophelia.
"Yeah, you seemed normal, why? Aren't you?"
"Good. And no, I'm not, but I'm good at hiding it. I announced yesterday that I have a poem being published in July, but I didn't tell the whole truth," I said.
"Oh Devia! That's exciting!" exclaimed Ophelia. "But what do you mean you didn't tell the whole truth? And what's wrong?"
"It's all related. What I didn't say is what the poem was about and why it was so important to me, especially when I got the news yesterday. And I'm still not sure if I should tell that story, or keep it to myself. "
"I love stories! You should tell it! Why didn't you tell the truth?"
"Well, I've been having a debate with myself. Do people want the illusion of a strong, infallible spiritual leader, or do they want someone who is relatable?"
"Hmmm…all the greats were pretty perfect weren't they? Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, Martin Luther King," stated Ophelia. "How can you compete?"
"Well, that's my point. How can I compete, how can anyone compete? If it's so unattainable, why even try? They seem so perfect don't they? I think, though, it doesn't matter if people prefer the illusion of the perfect leader or infallible God, they need to know you can be imperfect and still be great. I need to know I can be imperfect and still do something good. And all those perfect people, it really is an illusion. For all Gandhi's great humanitarian work, he was a father to a nation, but hardly considered a good father by his four sons. And Jesus, he broke laws and religious creeds. He spent his time with sinners, and bucked societal norms. By the definition of the time, I'm sure many would have said he was imperfect, maybe even a scoundrel."
"I'm certainly not perfect! Why just this morning I tripped down the stairs and now I've got an awful bruise on my butt."
"Don't you have wings? Why didn't you catch yourself in the air?"
"You forgot to catch yourself?" I asked confused.
"I forgot I could fly," Ophelia said turning bright pink.
"Haha…Oh. I see. Well, that makes me feel a little better," I said. "You know who else isn't perfect?"
"Our godly friends. I'm thinking about Damial in particular right now and an incident in his current mortal incarnation. Let's face it, if one of his main godly functions is to challenge people so they grow and learn, how could he do it if he never knew struggle personally?"
"Oh, oh, are you going to tell a story now?" exclaimed Ophelia as she made a chair appear out of nowhere and settled in.
"Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage. And I still believe that I cannot be saved." - Bullet with Butterfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Damial?" I asked quietly.
"Why? Why is it that everything I do fails! I try so hard to make something good and beautiful and it all just goes to shit!" Damial cried out. I stood up, looking at him, wary. Not knowing what to say that wouldn't fuel his anger and ready to bolt if Damial decided to direct it at me. Not that I'm a coward, but because draw Damial's wrath would not end well for either of us. Mutually assured destruction. Avoidance was a good tactic when his rage boiled to the surface. "What is the point of being so god damned smart when it doesn't matter what words come out of my mouth; they will be wrong? It doesn't matter what I do, it all goes to shit."
A burning sensation started in his arms and legs and radiated to the rest of his body. His nerve endings felt like they were going to burst. His fist came crashing down on a steel prep table leaving a very large fist sized dent in the hard metal. A brawler's fracture radiated pain up his arm, but the pain helped to focus the rage. At times like this, his rage was his only friend. It made him feel safe and powerful when he was struggling like a rat in a sea of hungry maggots. "Why must I always be the martyr? Why must I lay everything, including my heart on the pyre again and again and again?"
He screamed his rage at the universe and the world spun on its side. Pain was his only salvation. Rage was the only warm embrace that waited for him at the end of a long millennia of torture. He laid his head, not upon a breast full of love, but a bed of nails, a heart of cold stone. And yet he kept coming back for more. He kept coming back for love, but if this was love, why did he bother?
Damial tried and tried and tried and just couldn't make people fucking happy. He wanted to prove them all wrong. He was smart enough, strong enough, fast enough. He gathered more and more power to him, caged it, along with his rage. Maybe next time, He'd have enough. Maybe next time he'd break through, break out, find the happy ending. Who was he kidding?
He looked at her out the window and his heart broke all over again. Despite himself, despite the searing pain, he kept coming back looking for love again and again. He lost himself in her eyes, Damial offered up his heart on a serving tray, and in the end, she used it, abused it, and left it lying in the dust. She didn't care about anyone but herself. And she wasn't the one he really wanted anyway. No one could ever quite fill the hole in his heart.
The one he missed, when she beckoned, he came with the ferocity of a beast ready for battle. He released everything he was into her. And yet, when the next shiny thing caught her attention, would she be gone as quickly as she came? Would he ever truly be smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, powerful enough to keep her?
After their last encounter, Damial was torn into pieces, yet he picked up the needle and thread. He spent eons sewing himself back together. No one else was going to do it for him. Then he came here. A mortal incarnation, a shadow of himself. He was drowning in an ocean of bodies, but they were all zombies and he stood alone. There has got to be another way out of this prison hell. A prison he made himself; the walls he built between himself and everyone else, even Ragar. Stones are stones until stacked against a wall. The shackles he snapped onto his own wrists; the key he threw away. Iron is iron until the link is formed. First came fire, then came madness until the chaos consumed him. Helpless to control the pieces within, he felt it building again.
And here he found himself; the fire swept through Damial yet again as she glanced at the house and then looked away from him. Why wouldn't she look at him? Those eyes were supposed to be his salvation, but she denied him. She denied him everything. The television went flying out the window; worlds ignited upon his fury; men went insane with his madness. Somewhere a volcano suddenly erupted. Somewhere, his overflowing anger sparked a bar brawls and crimes of passion. He couldn't do it alone anymore. He couldn't survive alone.
He summoned the she demon. He couldn't fight this battle of existence on his own anymore. He lost his head for her, would she see he would do it all again just for her? He would try again. He would prove her wrong. He was smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, brave enough. This time, He'd be enough. This time he'd break through, break out, find the happy ending. He must be crazy. He summoned the she demon. He cried out to her for release. He cried out to her from his prison cell. He used his rage to project himself across time and space and tried to reach her. Run. He should have told her to Run. And yet…
"I've been stuck in a cage with my doubt. I've tried forever getting out on my own...I lay my troubles down...I surrender my soul." - On My Own by Ashes Remain
A Reason to Try Harder
"Damial feels like he has something to prove," I stated matter of factly.
"He sure does. One of the most powerful beings in the universe, and he feels like a failure," Ophelia shook her head confused. "So who's the chick who had his panties in a twist?"
"You can't guess?"
"Not…No!" Ophelia covered her mouth in feigned shock. "Still?"
"Of course, still. That's a love triangle that will never die. Lilatheen is his greatest tragedy and loftiest goal."
"He called her the she demon," giggled Ophelia.
"Yeah, she'll just love that part. You know, the mind is a funny thing. I can accept Damial's imperfections. I really don't question it, but part of me actually believes my mother is perfect."
"No one is perfect," Ophelia said.
"I know that, sort of. But then I have these memories of her when I was a child. She never cried. She never seemed mad or frustrated. She was never, ever scared. As an adult, I can look at that and say, of course she had those emotions. She just never let me see it. But now I have this illusion that I'm trying to live up to. She was a great mother and I want to be a great mother to my kids. But how can I? I'm not that perfect. Far from it. Those are big shoes to fill."
"Oh, was she a giantess too?"
"Sometimes it feels like it," I said with a sigh.
"So what does Gandhi, a poem and your mama have in common?" Ophelia asked.
I let out a bark of laughter. "Besides the opening to a bad joke? You know, I've made a decision. I want people to know, people need to know, for all my great advice, for all my time spent with divine creatures, I am not perfect. In fact, I'm probably far less perfect then many of my followers. I had a bi-polar break down yesterday morning. I was a mess. Sometimes it's scary when mania and high stress collide. I can't control my thoughts, I can't even control my body. When I got the news a few hours later that my poem was being published, it was exciting, but it meant so much more to me then recognition. You see the poem was about a manic episode."
"OMG! You're manic right now? So am I! I'm literally thrumming with energy! Look at my wrist! You can see it bouncing around inside me!"
"That's your pulse," I say patiently. "You're literally alive. But that brings up a good point. Telling someone I'm bi-polar isn't enough. Unless they've lived it, unless they are very, very close to someone who lives with it, they don't understand what that really means. You know, all of this has made me realize that sometimes, our worst days, our biggest weaknesses can become our saving grace, our strengths. Damial's struggles teach him important lessons that make him better at teaching others, changing others. His rage is also what makes him such a deadly foe in battle, something that has been needed and counted on many times. Every perceived negative attribute has a polar opposite or a situation where it serves you well. My bi-polar makes my life hard sometimes but it is also a source of strength. I know if I can cope with that, I can get through anything. But it can never ever be my excuse for failure. It is my reason to try harder. My reason to rise above. My reason to speak up, speak out. I am more than my mental state; I am bigger than my body; and I don't want to die with my message unsaid. I don't have to be perfect to be valuable."
"There's a new world coming
And it's just around the bend
There's a new world coming
This one's coming to an end
There's a new voice calling
You can hear it if you try"
-DiSA, New World Coming