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  • Having battled many a demon, both internal and external, for the first half of my life, I eventually learned something about them. It's all I really needed to learn, and I have no need nor desire to learn more, at this point. It would have been nice if I had learned this little philosophical tidbit a little sooner than I did, but as it turned out, my learning curve was right on time. The lesson took when it was good and ready to be took. Like, when my demons had finally beaten me to a bloody, punch-drunk pulp and I could barely move my lips and muster enough energy to finally cry out, in my anger and my shame, to no one in particular, "No Mas! No Mas!"

    You see, I was a fighter, and I loved the drama of the engagement! I had "right" on my side, and I would prevail over the evil forces of this world if it killed me! And, it almost did. They were bad - I was trying to be, or at least was aligned with, good, I thought. I did not go down easy. What I learned was simple, really - but I'm a complex guy, so me and simple don't generally hang at the same bar, so to speak. It took a few shots to get it.

    So, here's what I learned, for what it is worth - demons, both internal and external, only possess the power that I give to them. They thrive on my fear, feed on my over-active imagination, dwell within my curiosity. They crave my attention, they love the drama. They need to be fed. Without my assistance, they whither and die.

    My biggest demon may have been my self-righteous, holier-than-thou, impossible-to-live-up-to-his-lofty-standards-for-life Father. I truly thought this was an external demon, but I was wrong about that. This demon was, in fact, inside of me. When I returned home in all of my glorious, dramatic fucked-up-ness, after several attempts at finding my way in this wild world, prepared to engage in one-on-one, mano-a-mano battle with this oversized monster of a demon that held me back from the good things in life, the damned bastard changed up on me. He wasn't what he had been in my mind all those years, at all. He no longer said the idiotic, self-righteous things he'd said before (or, maybe it was what I had "heard" and repeated to myself in all of my internal arguments and wrestling matches with him). He was kinder, gentler - I wanted a fight, damnit! He wouldn't even give me that satisfaction.

    No, he left me swinging at air, punching my own self in the places where it hurt the most. The harder I fought, the bloodier I got. Indeed, it left me with a concussion of the soul, one it took years to recover from. But, recover I eventually did.

    I still fought for awhile, with some of the lesser demons in my world, the unfairnesses of life, the persecution of the defenseless, the forces of evil seemingly constantly winning the battles for supremacy throughout the known world. Man, I could dwell on that stuff for days. Damn the Man!

    And those demons just loved every minute of my miserable, life-sucking attention that I focused on them. Just ate it up. They still had me. I might not be down on the mat crying mercy no more, but I was miserable enough, and living the life of quiet desperation that they so loved to see me live. They dwelled in the clouds of impending doom that constantly hovered over every good, peaceful moment that I would achieve. Just sitting there...patiently waiting...tick...tick...tick...

    Somewhere along the line, I learned how to lose the battle, and win the war. I stopped recognizing the demons, the evil. They're not what I'm about. I am about living this day, this moment, and infusing it with as much love, as much authenticity, as much life, as I can possibly muster.

    For a complex guy like myself, that's about all I can handle. I know that I am not all good. I am also not all bad. I live somewhere in that gray area in the middle of all of that. As do most people I know. I'm just getting a little better at accepting that fact.

    For shit that ain't right out there in the world beyond my own little piece of turf, if I can do something about it, I do what I can. If I can't, then, to quote a famous movie hero/villain to the drama queen of the epic story, "Frankly, my dear - I don't give a damn!"

    It doesn't mean that I don't care about all that stuff. I do. I just have to ask myself the question, "What can I do about it?" If there's something I can do, and I am willing to do it, then it's on me. I either do it, or I accept that I could do somehting but I have chosen not to. It might be a matter of priorities. There's only so much one person can do. And, I need to live with that. If there is absolutely nothing I can do about it - I'm focusing on what's in front of me, and not wasting any energy or angst on all the evils of the world. They just aren't worth it.
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