Friday, June 15, 2012

The Devil Within

(Hoodlumz, from We Soon Be Nigh!, 2012)

I remember the devil appearing on the television in the form of a program on possession.  I grew up fearing The Exorcist but somewhere in my child mind I knew it wasn't real, the fear it produced was real but what was before me was just an illuminated imagination not to be taken literally.  It was the devil in that Discovery Channel program about cases of possession that hit me with a reality being realized.  One after another each case taking twenty of so minutes was filled with accounts from those who experienced it first hand.  There were parents, siblings, priests, and even psychologists, and then finally the formally possessed talking about the experience.  Something hit home to me, I remember being at someone else's house, just beside the church my mother would take us to, and that the room, the house, the night were all set in a type of darkness that transcends the absence of light.  It was an eerie and if I may, "evil" night.  I remember this experience proceeding my confirmation.  I never shared with my family my fears of being possessed by demons or how it seems to replace my fear of being abducted by aliens.  And as an adult now I see it as the birth of "evil", or rather, the supernatural that struggles to be defined within logic and reason and that ancient fear of the unknown.
Before this first account of evil I was a wild child.  Where once was church going and lighting fires down the creek was alcohol drinking, marijuana smoking, paint spraying, and skate of a skateboarding with no rules nor curfews.  We stayed up all night, skateboarding across the city, in a landscape consumed by amber glow and shadows and the starry sky above.  Of dark alleyways where drunks drink and chuckle away and the seas of empty beer and liquor bottles, to which we would smash until our hands and arms bled, there were no laws in that child I call my past self.  I was also godless and without care.  And somehow I was still responsible and knew my limit and also was well aware of the things I was doing and how they were not right.  I remember accompanying my best friend on ambushing his neighbor and helping that friend beat that neighbor up.  That kid was an annoying little twerp that had a face that called to be punched and slammed, but had he done anything to me?  I don't remember which one I did, if I was kicking or punching, nor how hard I hit nor really why I did so.  All I remember is reaching a threshold and beyond and how after that first punch or kick was made I felt a deep sense of shame and regret.  I was drowning in shame and yet I carried on, perhaps shame fed the flames of my blind rage.  That neighborhood twerp was a symbol of the weakness that was reminiscent of my own.  And eventually we stopped and when we stopped we heard the seriousness of our crimes against this kid, he was crying, groaning in a whine that only comes from the most pathetic moments as he yelled at us.  I can still hear that voice, I've heard it in others before and it pierces me as it pierces the ears and makes me realize that we do not understand each other.  This is why we fight.  This is why we throw punches at each other and why we kick each other down.
I remember the shame of losing the last fight I had in New Mexico back in 1998.  It was against a shorter and smaller kid than myself and why we were fighting escapes me.  Some differences.  I remember it was the end of the day and there was enough shit spoken behind our backs about each other that this moment just had to happen.  I remember that burning feeling of my body transforming into rage and readiness to fight and I remember him walking towards me.  I remember the place: the back entrance to the school that was before a hill and the portables were behind us and the school buses on top of the hill.  I remember every punch I swung at him missed as he dodged them, and I remember all of his landing and the sharp feeling of pain and the sound static.  I remember getting so frustrated that I couldn't hit him that I started throwing dirt balls at him.  At the end we were both covered in dirt and pulled away to the principal's office.  And we were both fine, waiting in those steep chairs of shame somewhat relieved.  We finally realized we had something in common.  We were called into the office and talked to the principal one-on-one and were given a one day expulsion.  When we returned we were both in line for lunch and we shook hands.  I remember it feeling so good to come out of that rage and hatred to be at peace with what was once my enemy.  And to this day I feel lucky to have gotten in that fight, to have gotten in all the fights I have ever gotten in because it made me the peaceful person I am today.
I learned gospels from the bible and made an X cross, that of St. Andrews, on a wax ring which was later crafted into a silver ring.  I was confirmed at thirteen and rediscovered God.  I remember things happening by chance and how it just happen that I was being confirmed when I realized God on my own for the first time.  There was a chapter that was turned and I had an event to place that feeling with.  It was a transformation, and I had become something else and how if I am able to be transformed now I will be transformed again later, and so on and so forth.  The chapters keep turning and that I shouldn't be afraid of the devil or being possessed, nor should I fight "thine" neighbor or my buddy's neighbor, even if he had a whiny little voice, none of that shit matters.
In the age now I am starting to realize the god within me, within you, within everything, and to learn how to respect everything, to not see evil nor bad but just is.  I am trying to discover peace, I am trying to learn how to nourish myself in life, and through my suffering comes enlightenment.  I am not there yet.  But I am reaching towards it and in my fingertips is warmth of illumination.

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