I come back to the catacombs after the defeat of Self Hate. I go to Self Hate’s cage – Self Hate is two feet tall, and that stare is soft, tentative, and weak.
I walk through the corridor of demons – they are all sleeping. Some look comatose, and others look like they are nearly dead. Physically they are all small, under a foot tall. I know they will all be a part of me – I never can rid them all. But their strength, their power, their influence over me is now so much less.
I start by changing the locks – switching the sides. I am now in control when they leave, where they go, when they come to me, when we battle.
Some of the cages need a quick clean – but no wiping of asses. Just cleaning up the floor – and only one bag is filled from all the cages.
I’ll come back here later, but it’s a good start.
I decide to head downstairs. I look around at the residents. Dead Friends, Lost Loves, the pictures of resentment, and the marble statues. A lot of work in front of me.
I start with the Lost Loves. I walk over to the bar and tell them to come over. One by one, I wave my hand in front of their face twice. The first wave changes their look – they look real, they look human, and most importantly, they are no longer perfect. The second wave makes them disappear slowly – out of my catacombs, out of my mind, and to a place of indifference in my soul. As I perform the second scan, I tell each of them, “You are no longer on a pedestal.” Many of the smile as they disappear. All of them disappear – except for one. One remains in her imperfect, normal state.
I do the same to the Dead Friends. Same wave twice across the face, same effect except they go from faceless dead beings to being human. On the second scan, I tell them each “I forgive you” as they disappear. The one that showed his eyes over the past many months is last – last with the scan – and just like the one Lost Love, he doesn’t disappear. He even smiles at me when he is only human again.
I look at the marble statues – the damage they have done to me is unforgivable. I will always resent them. I chop off the arms and bash them in into smaller pieces. I move them away from the spotlight and haul them upstairs and cram them into a cage, along with some malnourished demons. While they are unforgiven, they are no longer under the spotlight, no longer seen all the time, their power over me, and their presence in me will always be less. Never forgiven – never forgotten – never powerful enough to rule my existence.
Last I take the pictures of resentment down and put them into a pile on stage — my remaining (Dead) Friend and (Lost Love) female friend’s help. One by one, they are stacked in a huge pile. Once they are all there, I take all the alcohol bottles from the bar and place them on stage. With help from my friends, we move the couch, and the bar stools onto the stage. I take a bottle of high alcohol booze and pour it on everything and light up the fire.
The fire spreads, and the three of us head upstairs. I keep going. I keep going up the next flight – the flight to the bags of shit. I head up the 45 stairs. When I reach the top, I look at the place closely for the first time. The room is just massive. I always knew it was large, but the piles of shit that have accumulated are overwhelming. A simple match won’t do anything – it’s just too big. It’s time for the flame thrower. I dawn on safety gear, safety goggles, safety gloves, and fire up the massive flame thrower. Slowly the bags of shit catch on fire and burn – burn with black smoke that fills the room. I add an oxygen mask to my safety gear, as I’ll be here for a while. As the bags burn, they get smaller and smaller. Slowly as the bags dissipate, the walls move in ever so slightly. The fire starts getting hot – I can feel the energy of the fire burning through the decades of shit, the baggage I have stored – the baggage I have hoarded. I feel the energy of the baggage burn, and as it does, my soul is lightened. As the fire grows hotter and the energy spreads, the bags burn more quickly, and the walls move in more quickly. The fire continues to build. Some of the baggage contains petrified shit – unburnable material. Stuff that is too ingrained. I take a shovel and move the petrified shit over to the side as the fire burns. I thought there would be a lot – but it’s less than I imagined. The walls move closer and closer as the shit burns. After many days – days of work burning the baggage – days of exhausting hot work keeping the fire going, working with the petrified shit in the middle of the fire, trying not to breathe the toxic exhaust – the bags are all burnt. One stack of petrified shit remains. The walls are close, though, and the stack is manageable. Maybe someday I’ll find the tools and weapons necessary to eliminate the petrified shit – but not today.
I head to the corridor of demons. Some are barely alive. All still sleeping – except Ugliness and Self Hate – a fraction of what it was before – gently watching me – wondering what is next.
I walk through. I take several family leaders – Anger, Sadness, Insecurity, Loneliness, Fear, Ugliness, and finally Self Hate out of their cages. I place them all in my bag. I then consolidate all the other demons into a single cage – the cage with the broken marble statues. Some may die, others will remain alive but sickly. Some will live but barely. As I am ready to leave, I take Self Hate out and place it on my shoulder – a reminder of what hurts me, what makes me weak, what makes me fail, what makes me angry, what makes me jealous, what makes me reclusive, what makes me feel ugly – Self Hate and me together conjure all those things. While others won’t see Self Hate on my shoulder, I will feel it there, but I am in control, I am in power, I am aware – fully aware and can deal with situations where Self Hate emerges.
I grab the bag of weak demons and head for the door. I am joined by my (Dead) Friend and (Lost Love) female friend. I walk up those stairs for not the last time – I will return – but the last time as regularity, as the last time as a habit. We walk outside, I turn around, and I place a massive padlock on the door – just to make it a bit harder to go back in.