Throughout my life I have often found myself in the belly of the beast. Sometimes I sought it out, a boy would smile wide and I’d catch sight of fangs and I would pursue relentlessly until his teeth sunk in and he tore me into shreds. Other times I would be caught unawares, fooled by eyes that crinkled at the edges and warmth that radiated, seemingly genuine. But, of one thing I am certain, the belly of the beast is no stranger to me. It’s a place I know well, like a well -seasoned traveler I know every nook and cranny, I have set up camp in that belly so many times I might as well sign a lease.
Despite being someone who knows the beast’s belly like the back of my hand, I recently discovered I have no advice to lend to those who fear the beast. I’ve got no escape route, no remedy or recipe to follow, no ‘x’ to mark the spot. Even when the beast spits me out a wiser soul, I somehow always fall back into its clutches. Like a game of cat and mouse, the hurt always finds me, I welcome the howling, the claws, the anguish, I throw myself at the beast.
This begs the question, why? Why after an ocean of tears that did nothing but redden my eyes and salt my wounds would I fall back into this pattern?
Recently, I had the thought that perhaps this was my duty as an artist, to live with intensity and feel everything magnified, then translate feelings on paper in the hopes that someone will get it.
Then I thought myself a masochist, an addict who thrives off of chaos. The eye of the storm, the final crashing wave of a tsunami. Maybe I just take to my life like a butcher to meat, hacking unapologetically.
Perhaps it’s brave, to continuously challenge the beast, maybe I’m brave for putting myself into the hands of men who turned out to be monsters, maybe it’s brave to keep trying even though the belly of the beast is a place you frequent.
It is 11:05 pm on February 13th, tomorrow is Valentines Day. So this is my ode to love, to the beastly and the beauty, to the romance and the gore.
This is not a subject I excel in, but I put myself out there all the damn time and that’s worth something. So if you’ve been feeling downtrodden and hardened by all your visits to the beast’s belly I offer you this, a long ramble of someone who knows how you feel. I beg of you, don’t let the heartache turn you into a beast as well. Don’t lose the tender, the tremor, the soft. Wear your heart on your sleeve, and if you get devoured, at least you tried. At least you didn’t live life on the sidelines, watching as everything and everyone passed you by.
until next time,