The Night My Shadow Came Home

Photo credit: Umberto Shaw

I remember how he used to visit me everynight, holding me in the dark, a cold pistol to my temple.

The rage and pain rocked me like a crack baby, while I spat prayers of peace and silence between the waves of grief and coughing snot.

I’d come to depend on the pain he brought me. I appreciated his loyalty.

How long had I been trapped in that prison?

Between my thoughts, in every silent moment, where the mystics sought Nirvana, I found only Hell.

Of course, I left this world. I escaped this body. Why remain in this tortured state when psychosis is free medicine? And oh, the realms I’ve explored.

But that’s another story.

During the day, I felt the shadow stalking behind, whispering of failure and worthlessness. His pistol to my head, threatening my life with his hatred. After so many decades, I’d come to believe his lies.

I remember the moments he stole, like the time my parents remembered my birthday, and as everyone sang Happy Birthday to me, he whispered of disgust and shame.

Or when I almost had a good time at that party with some people I didn’t know, he took hold of me in front of everyone, called me a worthless slut.

From then on I was the “psycho worthless slut.”

And despite how much he couldn’t stand me, he came, night after night, with the barrel of his pistol to my head.

Why not pull the trigger already?

Then something changed. Over the course of 20 years, or so.

I was sitting up in bed, listening to the silence between my thoughts and realized that I was not in Hell. I remembered from whence I came.

As every person I ever hurt, and all of whom have hurt me, came before me carrying a black box. I opened my heart and offered them Love.

One by one, I retrieved my soul and reclaimed by peace, turning enemies into relations. Until he came forward.

His face hidden behind his pistol, his heart behind the words, “I hate you.”

His arm, grotesque with muscle, bulged out of his torn shirt.

While the skinny left arm hung useless, an impotent worm.

I stood, an epiphany opening like a rose bud on a frosty morning, and went to him.

“I remember you, Brother. I know why you hold your weapon out like so. I know why you’re here. Do you remember?”

He shoved his gun in my face, pressing the cold barrel to my head. “To kill you. I hate you.”

The stench of rotting corpses spewed from his mouth, the sewage of his heart.

In the past, I believed him. But now…

I nodded. “Yes. Should I have taken a dark path, should I have been a danger to the people I love, should I have failed at my mission, it was your job to kill me, to spare my soul the burdens of evil. It was me who gave you this task.”

His scowled face melted in understanding, while his tears fell down my cheeks. I reached out to take the weapon from him, but changed my mind.

“You did your job well, Shadow. My soul belongs to me and my body is safe, thanks to your vigilance. I have a new job for you now. Keep the weapon concealed.”

Shadow lowered his arm, and I saw his face for the first time. He was just a boy in need of a bath. “I did good?”

I nodded, “You did good.”

He smirked. “I can eat? I can sleep now?”

“Of course.”

So the Shadow took refuge in the center of my heart, while the others watched and began to ask, “What about me? I can eat now? I can sleep?”

On Purpose, Forgiveness, and Sagittarius’ Lofty Aim

Image credit: Siah St. Clair

I am learning to represent myself in truth. Over the past four years, I’ve peeled off multiple layers of armor and dismantled systems of chameleon-like shapeshifting. These methods of survival allowed me to maintain a certain level of sanity, but stripped me of dignity and relatability. CPTSD lends itself to a hard knock life.

Today, I feel these old ways of being falling away at my feet, like autumn leaves. Like a snake, having molted all winter, it is through fiery movement that I feel the old skin peeling back, defining itself as “not me anymore”, while I find fresh new skin, an opportunity to show the world who I really am.

I sift through old motivations based on root wounds, like wanting to be accepted and celebrated by folks who just can’t wrap their mind around my otherness, folks who might confuse my God-given gifts with sickness. Today I seek the compassion in my heart to forgive the ones who may never realize their error. I call upon my soul to forgive for the sake of my own peace, that my intentions and motivations are purified.

What are the more pure motivations of my heart, and can they ever be executed in a way that represents who I am? Must I continue to study the dominant culture in order to tailor my words for the sake of understanding? Must I build bridges for those who refuse to cross them?

If not, if my sole purpose is simply to be who I am without apology, without explanation, without fear of banishment or punishment, what would that even look like?

I have been blessed with a beautiful spouse who is learning, like me, to make space for the parts of us that have never been seen or loved. In these spaces, I find myself unlearning the ways of the world and wanting a much simpler life.

I see a child in the jungle, singing to the trees and the creatures like in a 90s Disney animation, and I thank God that my prayers of fame and fortune were not manifested. I see celebrities with very little freedom, not even able to maintain relationships without having to account for false pretenses, gold-digging, and fake friends. I feel sorry for them.

I’ve entertained so many dreams, many of these truly grand, and I admit that in the past I’ve held grandiose sentiments about myself and what any human would realistically be able to accomplish in one life. Now that I see myself more clearly, and I find a tangible path to the life of my dreams, right here at my feet, I still channel great visions of creative projects, social service, and world healing. Why?

Steve Jobs said that, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

But what of such ambition?

I know that many of my friends and family have given up on me. I’ve made peace with that. I know that a lot of the people I care about don’t reciprocate my tenderness or desire to connect. I’ve been asked to understand who they are, why they are, and to accept that their state of mind is not about me. I’ve also come to make peace with the fact that I’ve been toxic. No, I mean, really toxic. People do what they have to do for self-preservation, and I am at peace with that.

I’ve come to accept that of the 4k Facebook friends I once had, only a handful are truly down for me, and it’s the same friends who were there when I had nothing to offer but drunken promises of friendship and love.

It’s a sober moment to realize that all I’ve spent my entire life chasing the wrong thing, trying to earn love where it didn’t exist, trying too hard to make friends, compromising too much of my truth, and for what? Nothing.

I’ll take the grey hairs and crows feet. I’ve earned them.

Now I ask Creator. What will you do with the rest of my life? Am I to live the simple life, a humble yet joyful retirement, or would you send me to the front lines for future generations? Would you have me place my hands upon the Earth for healing? Do you want me to share everything I’ve learned along this path? Now that I don’t care for Hollywood ties, would you sell the stories that have haunted me all these years?

Does the caterpillar know it’s a butterfly? When the metamorphosis takes place, does the butterfly wonder how it will fly? Does it anticipate flight and does it fear a fall? Does it dream about flying? Or does it simply allow death? Completely let go?

This is where I am, my friends. I’m stepping into a new world, a seemingly foreign universe. Deep down, I feel I’m coming home.

In this world, forgiveness and grace starts in my heart. Humbleness is wisdom and happiness is success. The fruits of our good green Earth is abundance, and I already have everything I need.

To those reading, I may not know who you are, but I pray for your health, your happiness, and a deep, everlasting peace.

Bless up,

Kaika ❤