[Listen to an audio version of this blog HERE.]
People say we all have skeletons in our closets, but I think skeletons aren’t scary enough. The monsters in our closets must be more devilish, more slimy, creeping down our throats while we’re sleeping to live in our stomachs and cause gastrointestinal distress. There are demons inside us all, eating us quickly, because demons are fucking hungry, and not so kind as to nibble slowly, we’d barely notice. There are demons in everyone, one would think, aside from puppies and babies, which is probably why everyone loves puppies and babies so much.
It is interesting to think about how jaded, uncomfortable, and hardened the world makes us, and when. Babies become children become teenagers become young adults become adults become decrepit and somewhere along that very vague timeline, the world fucks us over and we grow demons in our stomachs. For some of us, the demons come tragically early, from abusive homes or drugs or war or danger. Others remain pure and unwrinkled late into life, perhaps so late as their 20’s or 30’s-you know those people so innocent and pure and childish at heart until something really bad happens that teaches them the world is not a safe place. And depending upon how they handle this bad news, they develop a demon or two.
Perhaps maybe there are some folks who live very long and grow very old and somehow maintain their childish wonder, who see the proverbial lake from afar, and so it looks blue, but they never jump in and notice that the water smells and that there are leeches in the mud round the edges and that there are fish and snakes and slimy things swimming along with them. These people, these old wrinkly kind souls, are probably the people who live very long and eat ice cream every day and drink beer and smoke cigars because it’s not always our bodies that kill us, sometimes it’s our attitudes. Or, our demons. And the longer the demons can live in our stomachs the bolder and bigger and angrier they become.
Those men walking around with hard beer bellies are not simply drinking too much beer, they’re drinking too many demons and the demons feed on one another and reproduce and multiply and sooner or later, distend the bellies so much that these men look pregnant with anger or grief or whatever demon happens to live inside them. Maybe that’s also why women live longer, our stomachs grow with life, the pure kind that’s untarnished by the hard, steely, world. Our bodies produce children, and people smile at children, people love the innocence and purity of children, and women are the vessel through which innocence and purity is carried, we help the world maintain it’s childish wonder by producing childish wonder.
Men, meanwhile, stuff themselves with meat and beer so they sweat and cum and grow lumpy and angry, and no wonder. I’d be angry too if I were a lumpy vessel for sausage and PBR, if the only relief I could find from my demon was to feed it, so it’d shut the fuck up. But now I’m feeling sorry for men, and that was never my point.
My point is that we all have demons and sometimes, if we’re persistent enough, we can kill them, like round up kills weeds or snakes kill mice or sunlight kills darkness. I’ve found that the best way to kill my demons is to look at them, square in the eyes and say, “You don’t scare me,” and then act like I don’t hear them growling. And when someone asks about that snarl in my stomach, I just say, “Oh, it’s just my demon, I’m exorcising him and it’s making him angry.”
P.S. Wasn't that fun? I think the point of this very odd blog is to say that hiding whatever you're struggling with makes it worse. A poet I love named Buddy Wakefield has a line of poetry about how looking at shame takes its power away, and I think he's pretty goddamned right. Do yourself a favor and buy his latest book, "A Choir of Honest Killers," here.