PURGING INNER DEMONS
In our never-ending search for someone who knows the answers, someone who can fix things, take care of us or just help us get to where we want to go… we all secretly look to the ones who know. Sometimes duped by those that seem to know, we gravitate to those who present the loudest or speak with the most conviction.
The truth in most cases is that even those that claim to have the mainline to the knowing really don’t know all, we just want to believe they do. And in rare cases the most humble among us, who refuse to promote their connection give the purest guidance of all.
Once upon a time there was a woman who was haunted by her inner demons. It might have been her mixed Italian and Irish blood or the way her heavy, long, curly red hair, tugged on her brains from the outside that created her inner tension.
She claimed to be very wise about all things, yet she broke and sabotaged every good thing that came her way and was tired of having the random Jack-In-The-Box pop out uncontrollably and scare away the good. She sought wisdom and guidance from an impoverished artist who lived under the stairs, in the basement of a tall brick tenement.
The possessed woman heard about the truth seer and was told to knock three times on the dark, paint peeled door and wait for the artist to meet her on the steps above. She had never seen his face as he always wore a hooded sweatshirt. He spoke in rhyming riddles and since the woman was well versed in solving puzzles she felt confident that she could find her way down the path he would put her on. He sat down next to her and she spoke to him.
“Hooded Art Guy, cure me of my treacherous curse. Tell me how to find my inner demon and release it so I can live a more productive life. I’m tired of setting fire to the tender and gentle that comes my way. I”m tired of being broken and haunted.”
The woman spoke from the heart with pure, genuine intent. The hooded artist gave her one task to follow and he said that if she could solve the first riddle and arrive at the right place at the right time, she would be given a clue to locate the next destination toward her release.
“Spiraled hair will make the public fair. Noodles, poodles, Rasta, Pasta. Colored flour twisted and turned will start you on the path you’ve earned.”
The woman knew of a public market in town where there was a booth that sold colored pasta. The market would soon be closed so she rushed to the booth known for curly noodles.
The woman bought some pasta despite her impatient misery. She tried her best to be patient and wait for a sign or some kind of message that would lead her to the next clue. And then it happened, the merchant leaned in to the wild red-headed woman and whispered:
‘Why don’t you get some rice to mix with green. It’ll make you nice if you know what I mean.”
The woman’s eyes grew wide at the sound of the bad rhyme. She knew she was on the path and went over to the next vendor to get a bag of the colored cereal grains.
As the woman purchased the rice, she waited for the next clue. The clerk selling the rice gave her no lean in, no wink and no message and when the transaction was complete, the pain filled person moved on; lost and discouraged. She wandered through the market and heard music in the distance. Resigned to her path of faith she stood among the crowd as a ballet dancer performed in the street.
Suddenly as the dancer moved, she made eye contact with the raspy voiced sour woman looking for peace. Their eyes met and in the midst of her Ballet, the dancer kept nodding to her right and pointing. The rest of the crowd thought it was just part of her beautiful performance but the possessed red-head knew different.
She followed where the dancer was looking and pointing and went over to the vegetable booth to get her next clue. Anxious to move forward, she thought about lighting a cigarette but didn’t like smoking in public. She refrained from killing herself with tobacco, for the moment and began to examine the peppers where the dancer had pointed.
The woman marveled at the stages and colors. While the rest of the crowd thought them to be three separate kinds of peppers, the woman knew that they were just pulled off the vine at different periods of ripeness. She started to think about the stages of her life and how she felt different at different ages. Different like different colors at different times.
A tall black man wearing a woolen cap asked to help the raunchy red-head. In her disgusted natural tone, she shook her head that she didn’t need help. That’s when the man revealed the next clue to her.
“Peppers like people are hotter or sweeter. People like peppers could be nicer or meaner. To find the vine you must look even keener. Watch for the pooch wearing the red Pachmina.”
A little bit spooked, the girl walked away from the peppers. Tired of this game and paranoid about strangers talking in rhymes she decided to leave the market. She walked past the booths selling waffles and older round women spinning wool. She walked past the booth filled with Greek relatives squeezing vegetables into juice. She trotted past all the bakery carts and was about to turn and leave the market when she heard a dog bark.
From behind her sat the cutest sheepdog wearing a red scarf. She felt a chill up the back of her neck as she realized she was exactly where she was supposed to be. The wicked woman got closer to the dog and he licked her face despite the demon she had inside. She realized that dogs can’t really talk and wondered where her next clue would be.
A toothless, hunched over homeless woman begging for spare change turned the corner just as the woman bent down to pet the dog. And with lips curled into her mouth, the homeless woman mumbled a rhyme:
“Dogs that bark will rarely bite. You must open your eyes to see your next sight. Pass three flowers and hug a stranger. You’ll feel some love that you think is danger.”
The woman practically ran from the bizarre granny bum and found herself passing pick up trucks parked alongside the market. Each truck was filled with flowers and each truck she passed had flowers prettier than the previous truck. She thought about how people give flowers to each other on Valentines Day and how this was her least favorite holiday.
She wondered why people spend so much time and money on something that’s just going to die. She started to feel something warm inside of her whip her emotions around. Her heart started to beat harder and she started to breathe heavier.
She caught her breath and realized that she had just passed three trucks of flowers and was miraculously standing in front a stranger holding up a sign. As the sign woman stood in front of the Irish Italian girl with the wicked cap of woolen red hair, they stared at each other. The woman holding the sign just stood there and smiled. The angry woman full of demons saw every woman who ever wronged her standing before her.
The angry girl saw the face of her mother in that sign holding woman. In her mind, the demons screamed every mean thing that the girl’s mother had ever said to her since she was a child. The angry girl saw every girl friend who ever stole a boyfriend from her. The angry girl saw every female who had ever managed her or wronged her throughout the course of her life. The angry girl saw the face of every boyfriends’ mother who rejected her upon meeting her. The angry girl saw every woman prettier than she, richer than she, thinner than she, happier than she and saner than she.
The sign lady started waving the disturbed girl over as she shook her sign offering free hugs. The broken red-head got closer and let the stranger embrace her and the scarred sister began to cry. It was as if all the unfair treatment forced upon her was wiped clean in one hug from a stranger. And the hugging stranger held on to that whimpering pissed off girl till she stopped crying and then whispered in her ear:
“Crying time is over and I’m not pulling your leg. You can call me mommy or other but my actual name is Meg. See yourself in me, see the mirror and the bird. See it balance on one leg and forget the worst you’ve heard. Release the demon holding you down, forget the devil inside. Remember this day you got your hug, remember this day you cried.”
The rambling redhead left the hugging hussy and went on her way in search of the mirror. Not really sure what had just happened nor what was about to happen, she found herself wandering aimlessly by some water. She saw a strange reflection in the water and followed the squiggly ripples till she saw the bird standing on one leg. A bird that couldn’t talk would not be able to give her the next clue.
She just stood there and stared in awe at the bird and started to feel what awe felt like. She started to get the power of nature in the reflection of the water and the amazing balance the bird had as it stood there on one leg. The confused girl started to wonder if people were ever in awe of themselves. She wondered what it meant to have respect for something or someone else and respect for herself. She remembered every time her father commanded respect and every time she denied him. She realized by not giving respect to those that deserve it, she was ultimately denying herself the respect she so badly needed.
She secretly apologized to her dead father who passed away after their last argument not forgiven and unresolved.
Again, lost without a clue, she wandered. She found herself on a street where all the stores were closed. There was an Asian man sitting behind a table that had some strange plants on it. The broken girl felt herself starting to mend. She marched up to the table to look what was being displayed and saw some plants she had never seen before. They looked like a cross between a pineapple and a cactus.
She thought it strange how something so dangerous and pointy could resemble something so sweet and delicious. It occurred to her that she didn’t have to be good or bad… she could be a little of both. It occurred to her that with every sweet good person, they too might have a prickly cactus inside them that causes pain and harm. She wondered if everyone was the same and how the good people managed their demons.
The Asian man handed the lady a fortune cookie. She opened it and it read: “Life is like a three-legged dog that doesn’t know it’s missing a leg.” The Asian man waved her off and she wandered down the street with the little slip of paper in her hand.
She wondered what the fortune meant. She wondered if animals felt entitled to all that they have or do they accept every moment never thinking they are being treated unfairly. She wandered and wondered what it would be like to live life without expectations or entitlement.
In her daze, she didn’t realize that she had walked several blocks and was coming up on a new crowd of people. An older man and woman were at the back of the pack and they had a dog with them who was seated by their feet. The angry possessed red-head immediately discounted the dog as the one in the fortune as it seemed normal and without disability.
Suddenly the couple began to walk forward and the dog followed behind. As the dog got up the angry girl could see that it indeed only had three legs. She watched from behind and followed from a distance as the dog walked strong with its front two paws and hopped quickly on its one back leg.
The girl felt a strange sense of compassion which was alien to her being so self-consumed about how the world and everyone in it had wronged her. But the world had certainly wronged this poor helpless animal and it didn’t seem slighted in the least. The dog hopped along trying to keep up with its owners and was just happy to have the three legs he had.
The girl with the demon inside ran to see the dog up close because she couldn’t believe any creature could be so selfless and so content with what they had. As the owner of the dog put her hand on the dog’s head, the dog turned to the angry girl with a tear in its eye.
The dog felt bad that the wicked girl spent so much time being angry at the people she felt betrayed her and spent no time being grateful for the two good legs she had to walk on. Frozen by the courage of the three-legged dog the girl with the demon inside was speechless.
The owner of the dog gave the nasty girl a dog bone that was wrapped in a piece of paper. On the paper was a rhyme. The girl gave the bone to the dog who promptly licked his chops with even greater gratitude. The rhyme on the paper said:
“Look for the pink flamingo, but not the real bird. Try to find it in the sequins of word. Little shiny beads that glitter when rolled, a black and white knows if a lie has been told.”
The couple turned and walked away and the girl with the demon inside watched the three-legged dog hop away. The damaged girl was now broken down to where there was nothing left but pain inside. What do pink flamingos have to do with releasing demons, she thought.
Further down the road a group of girls were getting ready for a performance. They were all dressed in red and they were so giddy with enthusiasm that they started hugging each other. One of the girls grabbed a prop from out of the box and started waving it around in the air.
From the distance the broken babe could see so much happy color and recognized the bird being waved by the girls. She ran up to the crowd remembering what the world looked like when she was a young girl. The only thing the burned beauty had to worry about was looking cute but now her age was starting to nag at her body. Lines started to tease at her eyes and the worries of just being cute are long forgotten.
The broken broad realized that gaining age doesn’t necessarily mean lost youth. Maturity is not a thief that steals impulse and burdens one with responsibility. She decided to forgive time for making her a woman and embraced her future without resenting the inevitable changes that come with moving forward.
One of the girls wearing the red dress saw the wicked lady standing and staring at them. The blonde red dress girl walked up to the fractured female and whispered in her ear:
“Close your eyes and remove your mask. Take your helmet off for your next task. Pet the dog being strolled like a tot and give some money to the poor near the yacht.”
Then the girl in the red dress ran back to her friend and giggled and hugged some more. The exhausted demon lady kept walking with the hopes that this path through hell would get her to the heaven she seeks.
Inside the mind of the broken bitch more words and pictures echoed, only no one was around to whisper it in her ear. The words just began to play in her head as if a voice had entered her mind and taken it over. She closed her eyes and saw rings as gold as the sun and circles as blue as the ocean.
She saw beautiful orchids made of glass so fragile that they would fracture from the slightest touch.
The visions in her mind mashed on, mixing mass murder with phallic symbols with faces on them. Obviously a nod to some bizarre disdain for men mixed with the greatest atrocities of demon kind.
More images flooded through her mind like a river of her rancid past. Bizarre shoes made from every color in the rainbow, handicapped athletes wearing Superbowl Rings that were never earned. Jugglers unable to juggle as well as unable to spell and the consummate T-Shirt for girls with bad daddy complexes.
She felt like someone or something had reached into her mind and began to stretch out her brain. Pulling it apart as if looking for all the bad, looking for where a demon could hide.
Her heart started to beat faster now as she instinctively knew that the demon would be released soon. Her heart beat louder and louder as she imagined her heart was now on the outside of her body for all the world to see. Exposed and vulnerable, she realized that liberating the demon was impossible behind guarded emotional walls.
She realized she had actually chosen to keep herself prisoner, bound by the memories of the things she wanted desperately to not repeat. She understood that forgiveness held the power to freedom not the memory of every offense she ever endured.
And with that realization, she grabbed her head and pulled her hair forward. The final frontier was to forgive herself for seeing the world wrong and everyone in it as being the guilty giver of all that’s unfair. And as she pulled her hair forward, as she held her head in her hands, she could feel something trying to break out the back of her mind.
Suddenly she heard a mighty roar as the back of her head ripped open and the demon was released. It could no longer live inside this new healthy head, wealthy with forgiveness and compassion. The demon could no longer tolerate her transformation from helpless victim to responsible soul.
The demon vacated her mind and went off to look for someone else who felt they were not getting what they were entitled to.
Barry, I love how you present your photos from your adventures. Really great story, and I had to laugh when that sweet-looking woman was called a hugging hussy. 🙂
Thanks Maddie. It was a little more challenging of a piece. Just glad I got all those images out without breaking the WordPress server.
Hi Barry! Hubby & I were just down there and I saw that we would just be missing the sand sculpture festival! I was so bummed! Thank you for letting me experience it a little bit! We’ll be back down in December! What festival do I have to hit?! It’ll be this Jewish girl’s first Christmas in Florida! 😉
Say hey Renee. How funny! I was just in Rochester for TG! You might recognize some sights in the next blog. 😉
Awesome as usual.
This story hit a spot, deep down. Thanks
Thanks Dorinda… it was a tough one to squeeze out. I think the next few blogs will be just straight up truth greater than fiction.
Very creative way of incorporating your photos and writing! I’m glad the woman was set free. It’s so true that we look to so many things to ease our pain but love is the answer.
Thanks Laura! I agree!