Up until recently, I was pretty cynical.

Everywhere I looked, the demon of negativity would creep up. His skin pockmarked and yellowing, his eyes hollow and wanting. Everything he buried his claws into would erupt with rage and sickness. I could feel him tearing at my skull. When frustrated, I could feel his fists pounding on the backs of my eyes, begging for me to unleash him. Sometimes as I exhaled I could hear his doubt infecting my actions.

I was stuck in a rut.

Most things upset me on most days.

I believed other people were creating my problems. I assumed most people were trying to goad me into fights... When I did let the demon free anyone who stepped in front of his claws, had it coming.

I'm not saying my only problems were internal. That would be idiotic. The world is overcrowding. If you dance in it long enough, someone is going to try and trip you. You will get bruised, and you might even scrape a knee.

Someone is going to take advantage of you.

Someone will even hurt you.
Most likely it will be more than once...

and I'm being completely honest in saying:
you should never make it easy for them.

I don't know if demons are real.

I don't know if they're hideous monsters that snarl and clack their teeth in the shadows. I don't know if they take forms of negativity, rage, doubt and fear. But I do know,

Mankind chose to give demons a name.

Before that they were nameless. They were problems that tripped us up. That doesn't mean they were any less dangerous. People still die from falls. They just seemed less tangible.

Sometimes our falls are traumatic events. Sometimes they are problems. They can even be our own imagined fears.

We give them enough power to become real demons. Creatures that consume us. Make us hate instead of love, desire more instead of being content, fear instead of wonder.

I'm not going to tell you some self-help bullshit

about how "I fixed all my problems by letting my demons go."
My problems didn't go away.

I also don't want to convince you that this thought process will make sinister things, disappear. Evil still exists. The world still suffers from rape, murder and politics.

But me? I stepped back and began trying to be less cynical. Attempting to force out the bad thoughts of doubt, fear and negativity.

I couldn't passively do it either.

Most of us try to do it passively.

People will donate to charities around the holidays because "there are so many needy people." But then assume that if we give cash to a homeless person they will "only buy booze with it."

People will try to be polite to one another but then wish death upon each other while driving down the freeway.

Some of us take people we love for granted.

To distance ourselves from the demons we've named, we have to make a conscious effort to try and think better things. Convince yourself that things are somehow better. Those assholes that try to trip you and those demons that try to eat you from the inside aren't everywhere. They exist less than you think they do.

I did this recently and surprise...

I started to believe it.

My problems didn't vanish.

They're still there attempting to wear me out on a daily basis. They aren't controlling me though. I find myself trying to find positive things with people that get under my skin. I refuse to doubt myself. I try to avoid thinking of insults or excuses for others bad behavior.... or my own... and when it does happen, I accept that I must keep trying.

I can feel light peeking through the darkened skies.

A few doors opened up. My back doesn't feel as sore. I'm definitely happier. Perhaps the biggest improvement is I have hope again. I can see it on the edge of my vision.

I'm starting to create solutions, instead of demons. I feel as though I can solve problems. I feel better.

I hope it will last.

photo credit Aman Deshmukh (flickr)