I went as chaos for Halloween.
It won’t be just for one day. Nor will it be a costume. In my realm, it’s Halloween every day, but when it’s October, all that makes for such a dark lifestyle is celebrated with fervor by the masses. Only in October my weirdo existence is validated. That’s it. Just once a year. And even in October, I have felt unheard, unseen. Still, I have always tried to give myself permission to enjoy the Halloween season as selfishly as I could deal with. I have always had trouble indulging myself as I cast a spell to avoid selfishness as a young witch. But, if I could live a Halloween lifestyle, I could be selfish beyond October.
What better time than Halloween to unleash my villain?
Oh, I have known she’s been inside of me. I’ve been conditioned to suppress her to be an “agreeable” daughter, wife, mother, volunteer, and friend. But, the serpent within me awakened in 2017. She began to unravel in 2019. She used my voice in 2020, and now, she wants to exist. Trying to keep her inside makes my skin crawl. She scratches and tears at my uterus. She pounds against my heart and chest. It hurts, and it’s heavy. She expands and screams, and I can’t hear or see anything but the visions she promises to manifest if I only let her out. She’s the “dark feminine” genie. I have been the shiny lamp that attracts. Many have caught glimpses of her and ran away with disdain. Very few have remained and eagerly enchanted.
Up until this October, being selfish is something I’ve not enjoyed and subconsciously try not to be. The guilt I’ve experienced when indulging in self-serving actions and emotions hurt so badly that I would have rather swallowed my needs, wants, desires and let my stomach acid dissolve them. I remember the defining moment when I realized that I didn’t want to be a selfish person. Hurt and anger don’t come close to describing how I was affected when my mother hissed that I was being selfish in my ear when I pleaded with her to let me stay home alone instead of attending the funeral of a close family friend.
I was 14, and the friend’s death hit me quite hard. I was trying to process how I had hung out with him the night he died. He was fine. I went on a school beach trip the next day and returned to the school to be picked up by my mom. I was excited to tell her about the trip, but when I got in, closed the door, and began rattling off, she screamed at me. She yelled that the family friend had died and couldn’t be happy now. I asked what happened, and she snapped; she couldn’t talk about it. We got home; she called everyone she could to tell them what had happened to our friend, how he had died, and how sad she was. I listened from the hallway so as not to anger her with my shock.
I couldn’t cry the way my mom was. She took our unmatched expression as me being cold-hearted. I tried to explain my discomfort but was not heard. I tried to describe how tormented I was at having to see our friend’s corpse on display as my last vision of him. I wasn’t heard. Instead, I was told I was being selfish.
I was forced to go to the funeral, and though I wasn’t forced to hover over the corpse, I burst into tears. I began to sob uncontrollably. The tears weren’t from grief. They were from anger and confusion. I felt invisible, and yet my mom held me. Her arms felt like a straight jacket was enveloping me, and I realized it was another one of her vain attempts for attention. She wanted credit and gratitude for offering empty comfort. I realized then that she was the selfish one. I wasn’t evil or selfish because she was gaslighting me. I still had a chance to be a good badass. That truth, in a way, set my spirit free.
In the moments I had purposefully indulged in self-servitude, I felt invincible and capable of conquering all my fears. I could see myself vividly living life on my terms. I saw and felt myself not giving any fucks how wrong, weird, sinful and dangerous everyone perceived me to be. I saw myself being comfortable with being alone for simply making space and time for myself.
And, suddenly, it all feels possible. The alternative, to remain unmoving, will kill the serpent within me. I will be hollow once more. Facing myself, and suppressing my villain, has terrified me into chronic submission.
Being a “people pleaser” has been how I have built my most profound relationships. I never wanted anyone I cared about to feel like I existed to take anything from them. Instead, I found joy and power in being whatever I was needed for. That joy and energy don’t give me a sense of purpose anymore. I’m tired from being an emotional laborer.
I have stepped on the other side of my fears, have been rejected and survived. I know what I am capable of. I have manipulated the waves of the ocean. I have manifested, conjured, and captured wonder. The planet, the universe, sends me signs and gifts, and I will remain grateful. So, as I step further into my power, as I put myself first, it may hurt the feelings of others when I cannot be so easily available. My actions may be whispered about or exploited as selfish and sinful. All of which will be my new queues that I am taking care of my needs, wants and desires. It may be a lonely journey but, solitude is where I can hear, see and heal myself. Be well, Michelle. I like the way that feels.
Welcome to existence, my once hindered and furious serpent.