Sarah Jane Honeywell

The Demon Esme

I once read that the Native American Indians believe: On each day you are reborn...

This is a liberating thought…… All those things that haunt you from the past, those things that have affected you adversely – no longer exist. It’s like being granted freedom from the negative past that binds you. Today and everyday you are free to start again. All those critical things people have said to you, those things you have allowed to scream in your brain so much more loudly than the positive things people might have once said, can be ignored. You could decide to only listen to the positive stuff from now on….. You are no longer a product of your past; you are now your future.

I think that’s a lovely way to think…. but my demon doesn’t…. and I’m not sure how to get rid of her…. and she’s been around for so long, I’m not sure I want to. Maybe she is part of me; maybe she is what drives me. Let’s call her Esme. My imaginary friend. Don’t worry I’m not completely mad …. I know she is me…. I just feel like I can control that destructive wild side of my ego, if she has a name.

Ever since I can first remember Esme was there. When I was a toddler she made me look deep in to the eyes of adults, so deeply that I could see my own reflection in their iris and I saw their sadness and I felt how uncomfortable they were that I was looking at them, really looking at them. They didn’t look back at me and I wondered why they were so uncomfortable in their own skin and it scared me… Now I’m the same as them.

I think that’s why I love and trust animals so much. We had a dog at that time, called Max and he was my best friend until he died when I was 5 years old. I could look deep in to his eyes and he truly looked back at me. There was no sadness in that animals eyes, only love and truth. He knew who he was and why he was – and so to me the 5 year old, who was new to this world and hadn’t been told that humans are superior to animals (although I still question that we are) he knew so much more than all the humans put together, there was no fear, no doubt in his own abilities or his ‘self’, in that dogs eyes there was only love and both Esme and ‘I’ felt safe with that and when he died it changed so much for me…. I now had to survive in a world that was full of fear.

This week has been a week of loss and gain for me….

I watched someone walk on that fine silver thread between life and death. I won’t go into details, as it is their story and not for here…. but the person is ok, which is the main thing. It was such a shock to see someone grasping on to life. I was reminded that life can be gone in a heartbeat and who knows if this is our only chance to be all that we can be – if it is I’ve wasted far too much time already and I suspect most of us have.

It also made me think about what makes some of us put ourselves first and others (and I am included in this category) worry about everyone else’s feelings and never their own. The latter is just a double-edged sword, which cuts you either way.

I find if I have to let someone down, I am devastated for them, even if they have previously ‘wronged’ me or I hardly know them.

If someone hurts me I think, I hope they are ok now. I know they didn’t mean to hurt me and I feel bad for them … what if they are feeling guilty now or I’m sad for them that their life’s path has led them to be mean.

If I think of myself first, I am riddled with so much guilt that it makes me ill… and I have been so ill this week, so ill it’s stopped me working…. which is no good when you are fighting to keep your house and trying to survive.

I have worked out that this unselfish streak is the unseen force that pushes me in to the abyss of depression that I fall into time and time again…… It actually hurts me to look after myself and put me first. The pain I encounter hurting others is double the pain of hurting myself. So what do I do? Do I continue to lose my life to please others and put my needs last? Or do I learn how to be a ‘bitch’, if that’s what it is, and only care about me and let others worry about themselves?

But what if people only love me because I am a pushover? How do you fight for your life without someone getting hurt….? Is it worth it, won’t my life just be frozen with guilt anyway? Nice girls aren’t selfish are they?

I wrote this when I was 13 – as you can see I’ve always had my Esme shadow reminding me that my feelings come last…

I do not fear death but dying
An open door, I can’t get out
I need relief from pain, I’m crying
My heart is screaming I cannot shout
No longer owning life, I’m bleeding
I look for my days, I have non.
One day I’ll give in the end of coping...
I’ll close my eyes. I will be gone

Maybe my demon Esme is the bitch who’s trying to surface and help me. Is she a friend who’s screaming at me to ‘LIVE MY OWN LIFE’ no matter what my guilty conscience tells me? Maybe if we all did that we could all be guilt free about being selfish’ and maybe then we really could save each other and this beautiful planet we live on.

Just like putting on your own oxygen mask on first before you help others on a plane. Maybe that’s a metaphor for life….. but you have to be bloody brave and sure of yourself to carry it out.

Being selfish, could it possibly make the world a better place to live? It’s not what we are taught at school but maybe we can be selfish and still be good people.

Maybe selfishness isn’t the demon it’s made out to be – maybe Esme is my fearless saviour who just wants me to truly live my life.

SJ x


19 Jan 2013

I would like to play Courtney Love in a film