The Guest by Andrea Rogers
I've decided to give name to my enemy, my guest. And why not? It has, after all, basically moved in, unpacked its poisonous bags, and completely made itself welcome. Yes, it's made itself very welcome within my walls. And once you realize that a guest isn't going to go away, you start looking for a way to communicate with it... a name to call it.
In the proper ways of the social world, a guest calls first, secures its welcome with you. Then, upon ensuring that welcome, shows up on your doorstep with flowers, a card, a gift of some sort that says they thank you for your hospitality and which makes you smile as you take it into your arms. And a guest, a polite guest, knows when to take their leave. They don't stay past their welcome, and they certainly do not commandeer your home, the place where you live, have lived, where you exist.
My guest did not bother with any of those polite dance steps. My guest showed up totally unexpected, unprepared for, undreamt of, unthought of, unwelcome. My guest offered no flowers, no cards, no gifts that softened the blow of its arrival. It did, however, bring, if not gifts, repercussions. Ends that in no way justified its means. And means that in no way justified its ends. In my naiveté, I saw no reason to call my guest, my enemy, by any name. I honestly believed that it would be gone soon, on its way to another vulnerable host. I was wrong.
The constant exposure to my guest has resulted in disastrous conditions, not the smallest of which is the degradation of my very soul. The very things I've always put my faith in have been so cruelly exposed to be mirages... wishful thoughts that soon turned into desperate clutches at what small threads of belief I could find lying beneath my feet. Opinions I had of myself, ripped away. Faith I had in my own goodness, laid bare, shown to be a fraud.
My guest, my enemy, has made me a prisoner in my own skin. A victim of my own heart. A target of all the poisonous darts thrown by my own thoughts. I've been trapped in here for quite some time. The walls around me bear the scratches of my own fingertips, scored back when I had the energy to attempt escape. I'm too tired, now. It looks like I may be here to stay, so why not be on a first name basis with my friend who has made all of this, and much more, possible?
After so long of thinking along a certain path, it becomes nearly impossible to stray from that path, to think any differently. After so long of feeling a certain way, every day, every night, while conscious and while dreaming, you become unable to conceive of feeling any other way. After seeing one color for so long, you learn to forget that any other color exists. After hurting for so long, you begin to believe that you're alive only so long as you hurt; bleeding is your proof of life. I've bled all over the place. And blood does stain, you know. Sometimes, no matter how hard you scrub, those stains remain firmly in place. Maybe fainter, but still there. A piece of you to remind you of all the pieces of you that you've lost.
Spending time with a good guest, a welcome guest, will change you for the better. Laughter from the heart, conversation that means something to you, experiences that you can take away with you and hold onto forever, a slight shift in your outlook on life that makes a few of your burdens seem just a bit lighter. You're always a little sad to see them leave. Spending time with an unwanted guest will change you as well. Subtly, against your will, you see changes: in the visions you have of your world; they become cloudy, foggy, blurry. Your colors change. They become darker, heavier, denser. Your songs change. You find you only want the music that opens the door to your pain and showcases your destruction. The songs that used to bring in the joy feel so foreign now, so fraudulent. You become self-destructive. The pain you inflict on your outer self is only a small reflection on the pain that you struggle beneath inside. In fact, most times, the physical pain feels so much better. Better than what, one may wonder. Better than anything else you've been feeling.
Since my guest moved in, no part of me has gone unbattered. I'm dented, cracked, broken, weakened, darkened, saddened. My ups and downs have smoothed out into a level line of downs. The scars have thickened while the skin has thinned. My face has changed, bewilderment now become a permanent shadow in my eyes. I wasn't looking for this guest, I wasn't hoping for it and I wasn't expecting it and, thus, I was in no way prepared for it. Total vulnerability... I don't see how it can ever be a good thing. Apparently my guest was looking for me, though. And if not expecting me, was at least good and ready for me when I stumbled blindly onto the stage. I've heard that one can smell a fool approaching from miles away.
So... let's make things at least proper, socially correct. My guest, my enemy, my destruction, my weakness, after all knows me by name, by heart. It knows exactly what to call me. I'm claiming that right for myself as well now.
I don't really have to commit a great deal of thought on the matter. The answer has been niggling around on the edges of my thoughts for some time now. A name for the annihilation of my faith in myself, in others; a name for the most intense disillusionment I've ever been thrust into. I think I'll just name it... you.