They asked us to give voice to our enemy. Name it. What kept us all from love?
Symbolized by a wood carving pulled around the fire, people confronted their enemy. They gave it a name. They shouted, screamed, cursed at it. I stood on the edge of the circle, barely able to contain myself.
I closed my eyes, tilted my head to the sky, and let the tears trickle down my face. And then I whispered it.
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Umreth “Jealousy. Fear. Despair.”
As I let the pain wash over me, more came.
“I am more than my mistakes. I am not worthless.”
I said it as much to myself as I did to the enemy of love.
I am my own enemy. Even with the work I’ve done with Doc, even with the emotional growth I’ve had, I can’t deny those feelings linger. I can’t ignore the constant soundtrack in my head belittling myself.
But then the chorus started.
“Burn him! Burn him!”
They set the enemy of love onto the fire. The flames licked up and over came it. And, for a moment, I let out a breath. I wiped away my tears with the sleeve of my hoodie. For a moment, for the night, I let go.
I repeated a mantra in my head.
“I am more than my mistakes. I am not worthless. I am full of worth.”
People danced around the fire. Loved ones hugged and rejoiced.
I stayed on the edge of the circle, stayed my distance. Like most of my camp, my heart was there and not there.
The ritual completed, they invited people to play and fuck as they pleased. I crept over to the body painter and just like last year he adorned my flesh. His artwork complete, I watched people spin fire poi. And, when I was ready, I crept back up to my cabin.
Though I knew my enemy wasn’t conquered, for a night I felt some of the weight lift. For brief moments, I smiled and felt almost light. And, as I slipped into my sleep, I repeated my mantra from the ritual.
“I am more than my mistakes. I am full of worth.”
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