I’ve been writing almost constantly. I’ve been confronted with my past and I am finally in a position to look at it more closely. My life is an amazing life. I have had opportunities given me that most have never seen. I have lived in different countries, known different cultures. As a child I was given the room to explore and to learn. Nothing was denied me. Sure, I wasn’t given things, but I was encouraged to think and to never give up. I was encouraged that if I wanted something bad enough that there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t work my way there. Everything was possible. I was allowed to believe that I could be anyone I wanted to be. I could be the president or the carpenter, all I had to do was believe in myself and to never ever give up. My parents let me learn what I needed to learn. They always gave me encouragement to try new things. Yet they always encouraged honesty above all us. If I was to do or be something I was to do it with integrity. They gave me all that they could give me. But in the process they gave me freedom. The freedom to make mistakes too. Unfortunately the freedom they gave was to a child. A child who didn’t have the ability to always make the right decisions. And so I made a bunch of bad ones. Now, three decades later, some of these things have decided that their time has come….
Our bodies have a way of getting what they want, either that, or they just quit. If we don’t feed ourselves they yell, if we don’t drink enough they slow down. If we constantly ignore them they finally begin to scream, it may take years before you hear it but they do. They scream. My body’s screaming finally became loud enough that I couldn’t hear anything else. So, given the support structure I have already designed for other reasons, I decided to take the time to listen. I decided to speak my secrets quietly and authentically. I decided to face my demons head on. I really thought that I could handle it. I was right, but not like I expected.
Demons. What exactly are demons? The Frank Perretti books show demons as physical beings that cannot be seen. Physical beings that if you could see them look just like the pictures in story books with their ugly faces, wings, and talons. These demons would attack someone who was a threat to their king. They would literally hook their talons into the skin of the backs and shoulders of those who needed to be stopped. These demons would fight over the souls of the saved and would whisper in their ears discouragement and lies. They would whisper things like, “you aren’t good enough”, “murderer”, “you have no right”, “you are stupid”, “they don’t love you”, “you are worthless”…. on and on until their prey would fail and quit and so no longer be a threat any longer. These demons only have power because they are unnamed and unrecognized for what they are. Their names are Fear, Blame, Guilt, Hate, Murder. They have no real power because of their lies. The person they are attached to is a threat because they know they have no real power. The only power a demon has is in its secrecy. Once a demon has been known it can no longer keep hold of its victim. The victim, though, is weak and must heal or the demons will come back.
Some of my demons are Blame, Hate, Anger and Fear. These and I have had so much time together they seem like old friends. I know them better than I know myself. Their talons have been in my flesh for so long that the wounds that they made are festering. As such, my body has been screaming and now I can finally hear it. For every bad there is a good. If this weren’t true I would be doomed. The angels fight and when recognition comes they gain power and so their fight has finally turned in their favor.
For all of these years the demons have been whispering into my ears and the angels have been yelling to be heard. They have been yelling so that I would hear the truth instead of the lies. These little thoughts that run across my mind, things like. “I can do this,” “Be gentle with yourself”, “trust your gut”, “believe in yourself”, “you have permission to cry”, “permission to be still”, “permission to love”, “permission to say no”… each of these was countered by my demons. I could hear them both. For so long, though, the whispers of the demons were so much louder than the shouts of the angels. The demons’ whispers would use my life’s evidence against me. The demons would scare away those who I wanted to lean on. Or they would convince me that I was not worth the effort. The only choice I could make was to quit. I quit listening to my heart, quit listening to my soul, quit feeling, quit thinking and tried to forget. In self-defense, I quit. I may have quit but the angels never did, and somehow I heard again. Somehow I felt the possibilities of peace and of hope like a whisper, like a breath of fresh air. This whisper was different, this one was not scary. These whispers started to grow in my stomach and have, little by little, gained strength. They gained just enough strength to let me believe that I could be authentically me, that I could actually face my demons.
Ah, demons don’t like to be shrugged off. In my naivety I thought I could handle what I started. In my naivety I thought it would be easy. I spoke truth and my body shook like a dry leaf in the wind. The fires of hell found me and began to sear at my body. My entire being has been put in the coals and as I try to continue, I find that I still have the strength to write. And so I write. Facing my demons on paper is only slightly better than facing them in person. My demons are furious and hungry. They fly around me and stab me with their talons, scratching me and scarring me. They are the ones yelling now and they will not win.