"Thank you for sharing, Tara. That was a very touching story. I think this was a big break through," says a suited woman.
"Thank you, Tara," a group of a dozen echoes in unison.
The woman named Tara nods and her lips pull back over her teeth into a garish and forced smile.
The suited woman claps her hands together and turns toward a sandy haired man. "We have a new visitor today. Would you like to share?"
The man looks around nervously, as though he expects to be rushed from behind at any moment. "I . . . I don't know. I don't really know what to do . . .what to say."
"That's fine dear. We have all been there. Just start with your name and why you are here," the woman says.
"Oh. Ok. Well, my name is Mike."
"Hello, Mike," the group chants.
The interruption startles him and Mike is slow to being again. "I . . . uh . . . I have a problem. I have . . . become a monster." As he speaks the words tumble out, each more effortless than the last. "I have become a monster and I don't think I can control it. I have no idea how long this has been happening. But I don't like who I have become."
"We are here for you, Mike," the group answers.
"Mike, think hard. Try to remember back. Hindsight is a powerful tool. Try to remember what might have been the catalyst."
Mike pauses and looks thoughtful for a few moments. "I guess it must have been that time," he says, more to himself than to the group.
"Tell us about it, Mike," the woman presses in a gentle voice.
"I'm an accountant. Or at least I was before all this mess. I was sitting in a meeting when a client just started screaming at me. I have know idea why. She was just screaming bloody murder. I couldn't take it. I just lost it. I lost control and couldn't contain myself.
"After that, things just went down hill. I can't sleep. I'm utterly exhausted. I'm angry all the time. I have destroyed all of my relationships, shredded them to irreparable bits. All I do is eat and fight. I feel as if there is an empty void inside of me that I am trying to fill with food and violence. I hate myself."
"Mike, when did you become aware of your self-hatred?" the woman asks.
"It was last week. I was standing there, trying to fill that damn emptiness inside of me with a bloody drumstick, when I looked up and saw myself in the mirror. It had been so long since I had looked into a mirror and I hadn't seen the monster I had become. I was disgusted. I am disgusted. I . . . I'm hideous and have done nothing to stop it."
"Mike, you have taken an important first step tonight. You have realized that you have a problem and you have come to get help. The next step . . . the next step will be more difficult. In time, with our help, you will learn to accept that you are who you are. You will learn to love and embrace all that is you."
Mike shrugs and hangs his head. "I sure hope so."
"You are not a monster. To us, you are beautiful," the group sings as they surround and embrace him.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
The Kraken pulled me deeper, the pressure squeezed in from all sides and my lungs burned for air. At first I fought the demon and struggled to break free. At first the pain was excruciating, his limbs constricting ever tighter. But before I knew it, there was no more agony, only the contentment of being in a lover’s embrace. I should have died; my primal reflexes should have overridden my conscious intelligence. I should have opened my mouth and gasped for sweet air and then the icy black water would have flooded in and filled my every cavity. What little was left of my consciousness would be consumed with panic; the creature in me would convulse violently as my body made futile attempts to purge and survive.
But that didn’t happen. At some point I accepted my fate and gave into my captivity. Had I died and not realized it? Had the creature done something to remove my need for air? Was I somehow breathing the water? I cannot say. All I know is at some point breathing became unimportant and the only thing of interest to me was the mysterious destination of the Kraken pulling me ever deeper into the pitch black world of the frigid abyss.
Whether he sensed my acceptance or had created it by some ancient magic, the beast relaxed his grip and instantly I was transformed from a prisoner held captive by the iron grasp of a fearsome monster into an honored guest of the ruler of the deep.
I held tightly to one of his massive tentacles as we plunged deeper and further into the unknown. Hours? Days? Months? Years? Time meant nothing, so I could not begin to tell you how long or how far we traveled. Just as my perception had been transformed by the acceptance my captivity, so too did my acceptance of the cold limitless black transform my surroundings. Suddenly, the abyss was neither cold nor black. All around, the waters teamed with life. My host’s subjects flashed and glowed vibrantly in a rainbow of color. A dozen shrimp the size of large dogs, glowing orange with blue spots, swam beside us and pledged fealty to their ruler. The Kraken acknowledged them with a blink of his great eye. As the shrimp disappeared into the depths, a turtle-like creature covered in scales that throbbed with a blood red light approached; he had news of a rebellion in the shallows. With a low mournful cry, the Kraken dispatched a sperm whale, who had been tailing us all along, to assist the red turtle in removing the usurper from power.
They came and went, in all shapes and sizes; some from the depths while others were representatives sent from the distant shallows. Some brought gifts of loyalty and news but many more begged sage wisdom from the ancient ruler. As time progressed, the squeaks and chirps, foreign to my ear, melded into an elegant language of the sea. I watched, listened and learned and, in time, the great Kraken spoke even to me. In that moment, I found myself at home in his kingdom and swore to him my life. He accepted my offer graciously and told me that our journey was at an end. We had reached our destination.
After a lifetime of traveling through the kingdom of the deep, I looked around and found myself in the strangest land yet. There was blue sky above with avian creatures dipping and diving; deep green water below; and ahead was solid dry land with trees that waved in the breeze. The Kraken had returned me to the surface. After our great journey, our destination had turned out to be the very point at which it began. I had been taken as a captive and returned as an envoy to the world of men.
I cried as I bid farewell to the Kraken for he had become my master, my brother, my father, my teacher and my friend. The destination mattered naught, for it was the journey that had led to my birth as a Siren, singing the song of the sea and calling the upright walkers to my lord in the deep.