The Demon's Dance


This demon, it approaches in broad daylight, beautiful to behold. This demon gives promises of safety and security. This demon comes with lists, lists of yes and no, acceptable and permissible...
do and do not. 

The disguise of beauty makes me yearn to follow this demon, to do what I'm told for the taste of security he promises. Indeed, this demon lays out a stage for me, persuades me to walk onto it. He is as ancient as his master, never relenting in his pursuit of souls. This demon calls himself a name, but not to my face for it would give away his intent if he did so. To my face he calls himself names like...

acceptance...

love...

worth...

Words that sear my soul, convincing me to step onto the stage he has prepared. He only needs me to take one step onto that stage before he binds me to himself, chains and all. Once he has me in his clutches, he mocks me and shouts at me.  Once he has me in his clutches, the beauty fades. Once he has me in his clutches, fear becomes his mantra, assuring his hold on me. Once he has me in his clutches he grabs my face in his filthy hands and tells me his real name...

Performance. 

He demands that I dance on his stage, perfection being my only choice, for he is an abusive master. I cling to his commands because he has me by the throat, convincing me that I won't find worth any other way accept in pleasing him. 

So I dance for him...

I ache from the demands of his dance, from the chains of perfection that weigh me down. I twirl and twirl to his tune, hearing his shouts for more...more....more...

"Tell them what they want to hear!"

"Beg for their approval!"

"Do what they say!"

"Keep your secrets!"

He shouts as I twirl and twirl, exhausted now from his demands. Somewhere in the deep place of my soul, I wonder if there will ever be freedom from this bondage, this so called dance. Can anyone stop it? 

Can anyone? 

Then, I see him, walking towards me on that stage. The demon screams at the sight of him, writhing as if the very sight of this man brings him agony. I don't feel fear though, as he moves closer to me. I collapse on the stage from the weight of the chains, watching him come closer. He is beautiful also, but it is not like the demon that disguised himself as beautiful. This man radiates beauty, it seems to seep from his pores. He comes to stand in front of me and something compels me to reach out and touch his feet. The demon begs to be released from this man's presence and I am surprised by the fear in his voice, the same voice that held me captive in fear. 

Who is this man that even the demon cowers? 

The man reaches down and takes my hands. Strength fills my body and my heart senses something new, something akin to unmerited favor. He helps me stand, and with a slight nod of his head and a gentle smile, the sound of the demon diminishes. With one arm he pulls me close to him, with the other he holds my hand, 

and we begin to dance together. 

As we dance, the chains fall, freeing me from their weight. Somehow, I know that this man sees me, knows my desperate secrets, my darkest fears, but that doesn't stop the dance. I am in awe of him as he twirls me around on this stage, a stage set by the demon of performance. The stage has changed, somehow, from a stage set for performance to a stage with nothing on it, with no audience, with no expectation. Just him...me...dancing together. As we dance he whispers to me words like...

acceptance...

love...

worth...

I realize with exhilaration that he means these words, that there is no requirement from me for these words to settle in my soul. They are a gift, never earned, always given. The demon's dance left me tired, swollen in pain. This man though...his dance fills me with joy, strength...

peace

The demon of performance never danced with me, only dictated from his seat in the crowd. This man, he holds my hand, pulls me close enough to hear his heart beat...he dances with me. He holds me close and dances with me. Fear fades, as unlimited favor seeps into my soul. This man sees me for who I am, and chooses to dance with me. This man has freed me from the demon of performance...

and I will dance with him forever. 

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