My Demons snuck out for the New Year. I thought they were firmly encased in their cavern, but of course I was wrong. They do wait for me to succumb to my certainty, relax my guard, believe my own happy horsehit assertions that all is right in my world. They just cannot resist the opportunity to take me down a notch. My Demons will latch onto a chance comment, a bare ember, and blow on the coal, add tinder, feed the flames until what was a bare spark becomes a conflagration. Brain tries to dampen the fire but often only succeeds in fanning the flames as we overthink and overanalyze. Brain gathers a handful of small, off hand comments and tosses them onto the fire in a misguided attempt to control the situation. Instead, the backflash is explosive and painful. I try so hard to keep a tight rein on my tormentors Truly I do. And I have a vast array of skills to fight them back under my control. Yesterday my Demons toyed with me most of the day, flitting out, taunting, teasing, prodding, poking. I would begin to crumble under the assault, but force them back, squelch them, beat them down with sheer strength and resolve. It was a day long process. I kept Brain and Body busy working throughout the day, and that always helps.
We went until necessity forced us to stop and prepare for bed. That was the moment the Demons were waiting for. Typical. The moment I sat on my bed, before I could even undress and climb under the sanctuary of my down comforter. It was a swift, ruthless assault, and I was unprepared despite the numerous, minor forays the Demons had made during the day. There is a lancing pain that accompanies these attacks, not physical, but spiritual, mental. As I wrestle with my Demons, pulling out every available weapon in my arsenal, I fight back every way I can. I am not beneath fighting dirty, using partial truths, happy horsehit, and even lies to stave off the onslaught, to survive, to defend myself. I fight back with every trick I know, finally managing to crawl under the covers and curl into a tight ball, alone, cold. I force back the negative and cling to the positive. I remind myself that I have fought this battle time and time again, alone, and have come out victorious each and every time.
This was not nearly as brutal an attack as I have fended off in the past. It was almost as if the Demons came out to remind me of their existence, that they are one constant in my life. They are ever present companions that will be with me when no one else is. Especially when no one else is. They remind me of my Strange Aloneness, remind me that it is part of me. That they are part of me. I swear to myself that this year will be different, that I am different, that my life is different. And it is the gods' honest truth. Very little of me, myself and mine are the same as what they were a year ago, two years ago, a decade ago. But there are a few constants, my Demons being one. My solitude, that I know is a defensive mechanism, one that flares up easily to protect me from myself, is a constant brought on by too many years of forced aloneness, what I have called My Strange Aloneness. Defense mechanisms, weapons, a complete arsenal to protect me from my Demons, my Self, and the World. I am self reliant, expecting nothing, willing and able to do battle as a solitary warrior. I know I have allies that are strong and true, but I also know that I am unlikely to turn to them for fear of becoming dependent and of losing. I find myself tempted to rebuild the protective casing that sheltered me from the worst of external duress, but I won't. I refuse to allow myself the luxury of retreat, no matter what price I may pay in the future, for I know I am likely to pay a steep price. Retreat is not an option, Defeat is not an option. Surrender is most definitely not an option. Life is for living, living large, living vibrantly in the face of Demons. So I will fight back, continue my steady progress on the path of my life, entering strange terrain, foraging as I go, learning and living. These are the weapons of choice, that no Demon can stand in the path of for long. Damned Demons, but they do remind me of who I am, where I have been, where I am, and where I am going.