Each one, teach one.
How to do battle.
How to fall/sink/slink/slither/survive.
How to rise once again.
How to raise the pen, muster the energy, write for one’s life.
– Joyce Yamamoto –
July 16, 2012
I don’t want to be swallowed by this Beast again. No, not today.
It used to be quick and painless; swallowed whole in the blink of an eye. The pain came in the hellish living in the Belly of the Beast. There is little pleasure in having one’s parts slowly digested. Worse was the extraction; the fighting to escape all the while knowing that although outside was the promise of sunshine and fresh air—there would be no freedom. The Beast does not surrender.
But I have learned a powerful secret. I have learned that the Beast has no teeth, and no power. Why else could I still be whole and strong after spending so much of my life in It’s belly? I hold the power. I command the Beast. And I am free.
But sometimes I grow small and the Beast rises, furious and feral. With It’s terrible claws It rips into the flesh of my mind. All the while, I hear It’s cruel laughter mocking me for the weak-kneed craven I’ve become. I hold the power. I am stronger than It. I know the magic that calls the Light and I know where the springs of joy are hidden within me. I know the words of Love that will slay the Beast quicker than any sword. I try to focus on these truths; faster and faster the Beast’s companions spin their illusions and I struggle to remember that these terrible razor-wire barricades are not real. I huddle terrified in what I think is the corner of this prison, blind to the spaciousness all around me, blind to the throbbing power of Angels and Warriors at my back awaiting my command.
It takes me torn and bleeding, broken by the powerful gnashing of It’s toothless jaws, into the dark stench of It’s belly. The worst of it is that I know where I am and I know how I got here and yet, I allowed it. I don’t know which is the greater pain, the shame of this submission, or the hell of this place.
I am afraid to answer the question, “Why?”. Why do I allow this? I have the power within me to never allow this again. Why do I?
I hold a tiny cutworm on the end of my finger and I have my answer. These tiny doubts feeding quietly at the base of my intentions, my hopes, my dreams. A writer you say? Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw. Oh, here’s a juicy stem, fat and ripe with health—gnaw, gnaw, gnaw. And, here, look at this thriving little seedling intent on growing up to be financially successful—gnaw, gnaw, gnaw. And this…and here…oh! Silently the strength begins to bleed from me. Then I begin to hemorrhage. Drawn to the smell of blood, the Beast descends. And although I know all this, I am tired and I am angry and I am discouraged and I cower in my imagined corner, convinced it is too difficult—that it takes more energy than I am willing to expend to battle the Beast. It feasts.
But not today. Today I rise again.