“Could you please press pause on your current stream of thoughts?” I blurted. My partner who’d completely shut herself out again in a trance for an hour was now glaring at me. “We need to talk…a bit”, I shily resumed. “I’ve just noticed you switched mental channels again and you’ve been watching and actively co-producing that very dark and violent content…so I just wanted to ask you — since you invited me in for the past few days and had me witnessing all that for a while: why do you love violence so much? What is it about torture, blood, cold, pain and loneliness that gets you…going? As much as most people may get scared if they got to see that side of you, I actually feel immense sorrow. I’m concerned”. Now it’s out. Since my arrival in this mental realm, all I saw, smelled, heard and felt was violence in all sorts of ways. It echoed from her mind every day and night and filled the dark cell she’s been living in for God knows how many years.
“Hm…do you really think they’d get scared of me? I actually wouldn’t mind. But anyways…You only noticed because I let you…I wanted to show you my kinks”, she replied calmly. Her traits softened and somehow translated a little interest in this conversation I started.
Kinks? Violence? A kink? What do you even mean by that? “Don’t try to fool me”, I teased her. You can’t make me believe you don’t need help. “I can tell by the way your heart sinks and beats like that of a dying animal when you dwell in that pithole; when you conjure darkness and those endless scenarios of the hundreds of ways you’d end up suffering, betrayed or killed — for hours —; when you read sad stories and watch gore content…when you cry yourself to sleep…that this cannot be a kink. What is there to love about that?”
“Oh, please…don’t you go pretending you in any way know how it feels. Let’s just say that somehow…it’s grown to me to be a kink. I was led here by those bastards… They’ve gotten me locked up in here to create all that stuff you see and hear…And before I knew it, I’ve found myself liking it” She looked amused.
Bastards? Who are you talking about? Stop this little game you’re playing.“Please explain yourself”, I demanded. “I actually see you’ve been trying to act tough to hide your truth…but I’m intrigued now. Talk to me”.
“Well…let me just simply tell you a story, do you mind? I love stories”.
“I know you do…that’s why you’ve become a writer”. An excellent writer of horror, agony and terrorizing content.
“True”, she sighed, “but that’s only part of the reason I write tales…”
She repositioned herself in her seat in front of me, spine upright, with this eagerness to show me a painting of her world. “Okay…let’s just imagine this little girl that all of a sudden came into existence and found herself among persons you may consider as parents, caretakers, friends, educators, mentors, society, the world, persons of trust, whatever. But this world the child’s come into was run by rules that could not quite be grasped by her…and the child somehow had an intuition that something was wrong with what she’s been getting to see from the world, via her immediate circle which brought her into existence. Let’s say that when she was still dependent on others for survival and growth, instead of corn and wheat, the child would be given a bowl of pebbles to eat…or nothing at all. Eventually, to survive, the child would learn to eat just about anything she’d find. Starvation was her first battle”, my partner paused, gazed outside the window on her immediate left and seemed to be taken up by nostalgia.
After what seemed to be thirty slow seconds, she resumed and shifted her gaze back to me. “As the child grew older she was more involved with the outside world and received this daily confirmation that there was something about her experience of life that was not to be envied, to say the least… When peers would run back to warm and loving homes after the ring belled at school in the afternoon— because yes, schools and education exist in this world I’m describing to you — she’d have her thick-skinned feet swallow the cold streets with distracting steps that made her forget, she never really had a home to rush back to. Safety was a luxury she’d for long not be able to afford. Love was foreign, trust was rare and she’d get to learn about those things not by reading books or watching television — yes, I included tv’s in that weird universe for which I allow my world-building techniques to be very poor, so please give your imagination a run because I’ll be very abstract… — she learned about that, which others were fed like vital oxygen, by being deprived of them in the worst of ways. She was however born with a health in her that enabled her an awareness and recognition of things that alerted her of those lackings in her life. In her pockets she carried little coins of hope that emerged from her very human nature and which she would at times get to spend at the appropriate places to get a taste of what food, water, safety, warmth, love and trust were like. However, those experiences would always result in premature game-overs as her genitors and or whoever you want to assimilate to her immediate circle (including the world) knew how to find her, cut the cord and give her another lesson of what’s not meant for her to be experienced just yet, or at all. How many times wasn’t she caught eating a lovely bowl of rice but got it spoiled with poisons spilled over it? This girl learned about life through deceptions. Everything felt as though she was the world’s sole punching ball. Not to mention that she was very ill from it, obviously. But she eventually had no choice but to get used to it, as her brains registered those repetitions”
“Is this really how you feel?”, I interjected.
“I’m not done telling the story”, my partner jabbed.
“Your story you mean?”
“Would you please be a patient listener and let me finish?”, she spat, irritated. “I won’t take long with the details, I’m even getting at the more thrilling parts of the story for me…”
Thrilling parts? How pitiful…If this little girl you talk about is yourself, then all I want to do is hug her and pull her out of this matrix. “Okay, my bad, I’m all ears, no more interruptions”, I reassured her.
“Thank you”, she relaxed. “ Okay, so our protagonist here, let’s call her ‘child of violence’, eventually after all this deprivation, deception and pain, underwent two major inner changes. First of all, she learned that those very feelings of discomfort from hunger, fear to the stubborn mindset of cynicism could only emerge in her if she lets expectations of satiation, satisfaction and reciprocity in all aspects to be fulfilled for her by others in her life. She basically redirected all responsibility towards herself. ‘If I don’t attach myself to anything, nothing and nobody can even detach me from anything to begin with. Complete isolation won’t harm me’. You could compare this to Siddharta Gautama’s realisation that human desire engenders suffering — ”
“Does that mean the girl chose to keep depriving herself like ascetics do?”
She rolled her eyes as I chimed in once more. I wish you’d stop breaking my flow but you seem to follow me quite well. “Ascetics, stoics, cynicists, pessimists…yes, but the girl took all that to the extreme”, she sighed. “She became violent with it because all she’d known was violence in all its manifestations. Her sole and loyal partner”.
“Oh…I see. But where does this…pursuit of violence then come from? How did she go from deprivation to avoid expectations and deceptions to conjuring violence when it’s completely unnecessary?” I understood from the start that the protagonist had actually been herself and that the story was real.
“If you remember, I actually mentioned she had a human nature that had her carrying a few coins of hope in here pockets, even if she’d get very broke at times. But she still had that currency until a turning point”.
‘Which was?”, I pressed.
“She lost her humanity”
“Her life, as she’d known it ended. That’s when she experienced the second change”, my partner continued.
“She…?” Just who have I been dealing with after all this time? The spirit of a dead wom —
“Got killed. Stabbed countless times, defenseless…as she was spending her last coins of hope. Her last of the very rare pleasures she’d known in life. Sounds like the typical origin story of a villain, doesn’t it?”, she smiled mischievously.
What about it is that amusing? “Pretty much…uhm, and when she died what happened next?”. An inner pressure of unease got me impatient to have her finish the story. Yes, the pain she’s been concealing within her is leaking uncontrollably now and I’m getting to feel it first-hand.
“This girl, now woman — if there was even anything woman-like left in her — became a demon. A curse. Whatever you want to call it”, my partner replied. “Everything but not human. As she was taking her last breaths in agony, she saw beasts appear by her side. They introduced themselves to her as her emotions. Their sight was incredibly grotesque and she refused to believe her eyes. That such ugly things could not emerge from her. But they gave her no choice but to accept and embrace them as they mentioned, and even promised to her that they’d save her life if she did. So she gave her soul over to those beasts and became one of them. One would actually expect that since those emotional beasts emerged from her, she should in some way have been able to control them…however, it turned out to be the opposite. She embodied them in the most violent way. She was kept alive by them, as promised, but no longer in human form. A spirit of violence which constantly seeks its counterpart. Maybe also out of loneliness if you will. And the part that thrills me about this story is the pattern of vibration that emerges here. Even if it’s dark and about suffering and hopelessness”
“Yes. Vibration”, she declared, “that which once happened, that which once occured, happens again and becomes the causal factor of its repetition. Because I am violence, I will seek violence to mirror myself and my existence. Love does the same”. Nostalgia took over her again and called her gaze outside the window once more.
Silence settled in.
After taking all that in, I sank into my thoughts as well. She has so much clarity about her situation and her inner landscape. She knows the mechanisms so well as though she’d thoroughly studied them. Not everyone I know, in fact only a very few, have this much awareness about their psychee. “Hm…”, I resumed, “and why don’t you choose Love instead of Violence?”
Upon hearing my question, the woman in front of me froze. “I — I can’t speak its language…”, she stammered inaudibly and lowered her gaze in sudden defeat.
Yet! You can’t speak it YET…all is NOT lost.
“You see, I’ve tried and fought to learn it but…”
“What a weak excuse…”, I snapped.
“Oh, so you’re telling me I took my time to tell you this whole story for you to conclude it’s a weak excuse?!”, she hissed. Her defeat was spicing itself up to anger.
I leaned back into my chair. Too much heat. Take it slowly, we’re here to cooperate. “Sorry, that was very insensitive of me…but I can’t stand seeing you suffer like this”.
“Who told you I was suffering? I’m not human anymore, so I’m unable to suffer — ”
“And that’s what you’re wrong about. Embodying violence and rage is a coping mechanism to preserve your human heart that’s gone through so much. Whether you believe me or not…you do have a humanity even if it’s easier to think of yourself as a beast that can’t be saved”.
My partner sank into her chair with a sigh. “You know…sometimes, I wish I’d just let myself die instead of letting the beasts take over me back then. But I thought, if I did, the world wouldn’t notice…and my emotions were the first to acknowledge me as an existent being and wanted me alive”.
“Alive for their purpose”, I corrected.
“They were hungry just like me”, she mumbled.
“And they’ve been using you for their satiation”, I pressed. “But have they ever been satisfied with that? Have they let you go?”
“They’ve been using me, yes. But I’ve been able to leave my mark on the world…”
“Oh please, you haven’t scratched a soul. You call yourself a demon or a spirit of violence, but ever since you’ve been locked up in here by those beasts — and I noticed you actually called them bastards earlier — you haven’t left this prison to harm anyone out there to ‘leave your mark’. You don’t have the power to conjure a rain of suffering and violence upon the world like you believed you would. Instead, the only person who’s been feeling it all is nobody but yourself. That’s why the content you watch and create in here only involves you as the victim.”
“You’re telling me, I’ve been useless all this time…”
“You’ve been suffering all this time. And when you called me, you unconsciously reached out for company…and help”, I leaned towards her to meet her gaze that was now swallowing the floor.
I stood up and scanned the dim lit cell we were in. I need to win her over. “We’re going to break out of here. That’s what I came here for. You are more than your suffering. And even if life made you believe otherwise, I’m here to prove, you can still go against the grain of this wicked program you run with”
I stepped closer and she lifted her head toward me. “You’ve seen through me, but don’t try to sound so heroic”, she sobbed.
I knelt down in front of her and took her frail hands into mine. “Listen, I’m bad at consoling people with words and I also don’t want to lure you in with Hope as you’ve once known it”, I started again. “However, the journey we’re on now, is about building faith in ourselves through our benevolent actions towards ourselves. So far, you’ve been performing malevolent actions towards yourself, which is the self-torture you refer to as your kink, where you get to be the one in control by being the one to inflict the damage versus being the victim of it as you’d known it in your previous life. Weirdly enough you seem to ignore that you are the only one to absorb the damage after all”. I paused and softened my tone. “So let me ask you, will you allow me to go on a new journey with you? Where we break this obsolete code and construct a beautiful tale, with its extremes, perfections and imperfections that doesn’t take a toll on your human heart?”
Her hands slightly trembled in my palms and she looked away…outside the window again. The only source of light in this cell.
“I’m the only one you trust, and I don’t think you could object to that”, I said calmly. “The proof is that I was called here by you and I believe that’s reason enough for us to go for it.” Even if we’re both not in human form and that we seem doomed, we can still be saved. And we will do so ourselves.
“It’s true that I called you here…to be saved. And I’m scared”, she whispered.
“Rightfully so. And it’s perfectly okay”, I comforted her.
“But I feel like, even though I may never be able to get rid of those beasts that I surrendered to, since they’re a part of me, I may one day be able to have a better relationship with them if I get out of here and get stronger and wiser”; she uttered with more confidence. She was now looking at me with watering eyes and a shy smile.
Yes, that’s what I want to hear. “Hearing you say that just made me happy”, I smiled back.
“Really?” I’m capable of doing that?
“Very much”, I replied. “And I want you to do more of that by coming with me. You may even feel joy from it. And to cater to your love for violence, allow me to say this: “let’s take the world by storm, shall we?”
“Oh yes”, she chuckled with tears streaming down her face.
And that’s when I saw my partner — my inner child — smile genuinely for the first time, without fear. She must have grasped how I’d subliminally built an estate of safety for her with that conversation.