Monday, March 9, 2009
On knowing Esseker
Sorry. I know the picture's creepy, but knowing Esseker is creepy business!
There was a year in which I absolutely avoided looking at my own reflection. This is harder than you think it would be to have success in, because one takes for granted all the "mirrors" in life that we happen to walk past and subconciously glance over to see our reflection in. Windows, doorknobs, clear plastic, anything shiny metal or glass. But yet it's there, our reflection, staring right back at us.
I was in a place in my life where I despised myself so much that I could not bear to look in the mirror and see who was reflected back at me. More and more it became someone whom I began to loathe with a passion, and over time I was looking at someone that I no longer knew or could identify with. I became frightened of myself, and let me tell you, there is no worse fear than to be afraid of one's self.
In the movie Mirrors, reflections in mirrors portray demonic entities hellbent on taking possession of one's soul. Of course, the story doesn't start out leading you to this notion, but in the end that's what it takes you to. This movie wasn't spectacular or anything. It wasn't chock full of great acting and wonderful script. The biggest reason I even watched it was because my dad kept going on and on about how disturbing it was. And I could see how he thought so, many of the things that he finds disturbing I do as well. It takes a lot for us to flinch, so I can usually take his word for it when he says something has the potential to wreak such "havoc".
But when I was done watching the movie, I couldn't help but focus my attention on the character of Ana Esseker. She was the entity that the mirrors sought out. There was a bit of a backround story on her as a young child, how she had been possessed with a demon, and was eventually admitted to a psychiatric ward where she was later deemed not so much possessed as she was schizophrenic. The doctor in charge of Esseker's care saw it fit to place this young child in a straightjacket, tied down to a chair in the middle of the room, full of mirrors at your every. This of course, was one of those "confront your own worst fears" typed approach, and all that it resulted in was that the "demons" fled into these said mirrors, taking instead, possession of them.
Again, I can't exactly put my finger on it, but something about this movie lacked for me. I don't know if it had to do with the acting, script, or just the fact that I've been spoiled by books with great plots and story lines lately. But I just couldn't help fixating on this Esseker character. Later on in the movie she was directed to live in a convent, where it was explained that there were never ever going to be any "mirrors" for her to be afraid of again. I won't spoil the ending for those that haven't seen it, but what takes place kind of made me think about my own experience in relation to mirrors, self reflection and my obsession with the possibility of demon possession.
I believe that most of the obsession lie in the motive. I constantly find myself asking, "what exactly motivates a 'demon'"? What makes a demon a 'demon' in the first place? There are hardly ever any materials out there that address this sensitive subject that I know of. Most are only personal accounts and experiences with what it was like for those that had to prey witness to such an ordeal. Erica had even mentioned a few posts back about this particular subject, and how many of us are simply terrified to even "go there".
Which leads me back to my own experience with self reflection, and how I was ultimately driven to such a place of terror in having to look at my own self in the mirror. It wasn't so much that I was afraid to look at myself physically, inasmuch as it was that I was afraid of what I had become. I could pretend all along in my own head, bullshitting myself with what I knew was not the truth, fabricating pictures of a pretty, happily married 24 year old (that's how old I was at the time) with three beautiful children. When I looked upon my reflection, my eyes saw otherwise. There is a song called "Black Mirror" that Arcade Fire does that speaks of this. It's as if you are seeing the carnaged soul of a child, blackened and burned by the fires and hurts of our lives. My "child-like" eyes were seeing things it would never forget. And that little child that stared back at me in the mirror, stripped of her flesh, was crying out, "Why? Why have you forsaken me?" I went on for so long in my life not being able to cater to this part of myself, and had used this youngling's right to exist as a dumping grounds for all the bad things that had occurred in my life, never taking the time to clean up. It had become a wasteland of self loathing, unforgiveness and hurts that had never had a chance to heal over, infected and bleeding wounds filled with the puss and venom of unforgiveness.
In the book "Getting Through the Day" by Nancy J. Napier, it addresses this subject. And it does it in such a kind and gentle way, that one does not even realize at first that this is what is being approached. And it honors that we, as a humanity, all have valid hurts that could use some healing over. For every chapter, there is even a special revision of the chapter targeted towards those suffering with multi-personality disorder. In this book, I learned so much about the origin of my own "demons" and why I couldn't stand the sight of my reflection for so long. It teaches you to take time for the triggers in one's life that take us back to those moments of child-like awareness, and to live through them as an adult, someone "wise" and "safe" enough to take time to be there the way no one else would have been able to for one's self. And that component, for me, has been one of the most useful tools I've ever had the opportunity of using in regards to healing;
~I could be there for myself. I didn't have to wait for someone else to be there for me~
Later in the book, it brings up the term "shadowboxing". For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it basically means fighting with that part of yourself that you have never had the ability to accept. The saying "familiarity breeds contempt" speaks so profoundly to me in regards to this. When you see a person "over-reacting" to a situation and acting almost as a child in a throw of rage or irrationability, the book says that many times these people are shadowboxing with a part of themselves that they have yet to accept. I have found it apalling to realize how true this was about my OWN self! I had gone my whole life never accepting that I was a child who had needs. I went for so long not even being able to accept that I was a girl, a woman, and that that girl and woman had needs as well. I shoved away my desire to go hurl up in a ball and whimper like a child. I spat upon femininity as if it were a disease.
And in this, I believe, I found the motive of a 'demon'.
I have this strange theory, that if indeed there is a God/Gods, and in that, the existence of the Devil/demonic entities, that the Devil/demonic entities may possibly be the result of God's/the God's shadowboxing. In many belief it describes a God/Gods that are perfect and without flaw. And if this is to be true, I believe that those God/Gods have only been able to gain that status of perfection by embracing flaw, instead of treating it as though it were a thorn in one's side. And what better candidate to campaign this notion than humanity itself? If we could live in a world where we no longer looked at each other as "wrong" or "right", but as entities, vessels of love and care, that have not the desire to judge one another because of our differences, but to love and embrace one another so fully that we become as one, yet free to be an individual, that, to me, would be heaven.
I believe it's volume number 2 in the Sandman series that Neil Gaiman portrays the realm of hell so eloquently. In Doll's House (I think it was Doll's House?) Dream has to venture to hell and speak to Lucifer, the morning star, the "fallen angel" about an artifact gone missing from Dream's possession that he is in dire need of. In this journey, Neil allows the thoughts of the inhabitants of hell to be spoken aloud. One such demon desires to torture itself endlessly, denying itself forgiveness, and in that, had made a hell for itself.
To me, hell is denial. Not having the ability to accept. If the Gods/God could not accept the Devil/demonic entities not being able to accept, there you have God's/the Gods personal hell. And in it, quite possibly is a place where others dwell when they cannot accept things for the way they are. Not because there is some omnipotent entity out there saying things like, "Hey. You. You don't belong here. Get the fuck out of here and go over there."
It is not about sin inasmuch as it is about learning to love and embrace unconditionally. And if you think about it long and hard enough, how can we learn to love and embrace one another unconditionally, if we are unable to do this for our own selves first?
Again, all this is just theory. Food for thought. I've wanted to write a novel about this subject, and make it the core of the story, for so long. What seems like an eternity. But I can't expect myself to accomplish this when I keep throwing my own personal "Esseker" in the basement, chained down, whilst it cries out "I'll swallow your soul!"