Heavily bandaged, shrapnel in my side, the shell calls me again. The shell. The self. The shell. The self. Where does one end and the other begin? The barbed-wire baton is passed back and forth quicker than the eye can see. No reflection. All reflections. Introspection. Contradiction. Why cannot I maintain who I am?
99% of the time I am in control. The self, as I know it, exists and serves as the throttle for the noxious underpinnings of my brain. I am stable; I am restrained. The realm of caricature lives in the shadow, waiting for the night to come and make all things dark. I am lucky that my days are usually long, but the sun will set eventually. When it does, the shell – from that realm of caricature – descends and the requiem for the self begins its haunting song. The self that was once in control relinquishes its grasp and gives way to the Borderline and Antisocial demons that were previously under the surface, and I wait for the sunshine to come and for these nocturnal hellions to retreat beyond the reach of the light.
The shell dictates that I must be with anger. It decrees that those restraints and checks against my impulsivity must be blown to ash. The voice that emanates from the cavernous depths is both sweet and bitter. The push and pull begin again. The burrowed creature-things that play when my guard is down are the agents of the shell. And, the shell will never be satiated. I’m not sure that this duality will ever cease, but I can use the time of the self to ensure that I am presenting as proper an image as possible, knowing that the masquerade of the hellspawn will come again.
Ultimately, this tug of war between shell and self does not only affect me; it affects those I am close to. They see the fanged, canine harbingers that burst through flesh and soul. They wonder why “I” cannot show the same love and restraint that I typically show while in the daylight. And, they wonder when the storm will pass, undoubtedly becoming targets of my aggression, regression, and oppression. To fall apart at the seams with undone stitches and eyeballs twitching is as devastating for these others as it is for me. It may be my soul in the balance of this eternal conflict, but ultimately their blood and sweat also are required as payment.
Nocturnicide is what I pray for; that I will one day cease to transition between restraint, cognitive empathic states, and the cold aggression of the shell. The night must die. As it stands, it is cyclical and eternal, and this simply won’t do. The creature-things must be hunted down and their trophy hides placed on display lest the shell return again. The shell. The self. The shell. The self.