For every world through which we navigate on a daily basis --the worlds of spouses, of parents, the workplace, the patient, the artist-- there are two in which we exist simultaneously: the outward, literal world of the physical senses, and our version of it. However we interpret it is a world of its own.

So every day, there are hundreds of billions of worlds overlapping every moment of every day. 

I call mine Delenaland.

Not very original, I know, but there it is.

And Delenaland is built like a city of concentric circles, with a great outer wall and Out There beyond it. I reside, naturally, at its center. Not because I believe I am even the center of Delenaland --which I am not-- but because to be anywhere else would bring me closer at one side to the outer wall, which means anything in the Out There would have an easier time reaching me from that side.

Maximum protection, relying on the walls-within-walls that break up Delenaland into segments.

There is the Out There, where everything not Delena-approved resides. This includes strangers --both those with the potential to harm as well as friends I have not yet made-- as well as anything I have either rejected for the good of Delenaland or have not yet encountered.

Within the outer wall, passing through the first gate, are things like acquaintances whom I tolerate fairly well, people in my life I have no reason to reject (yet), concepts I might not agree with wholly but still recognize at least a spark of merit, and places I have visited at least once. Most things make it through the first gate and no farther.

This is okay.

If something or someone can prove its merit being a step above Tolerated, it moves within the second gate to The Somewhat Trusted. This is where fewer people reside, those who show they are trustworthy with the few bits and pieces I give them --over the course of two to three years, naturally. This is also where concepts reside that I now have an obligation to buy books and invest in further research, beginning the process of whether or not to incorporate it into my worldview. Concepts make it through the second gate fairly easily, particularly compared to people, for whom the journey takes years if they make it at all.

This is the place where most of my friends reside. They don't share in the innermost details of my life, but they know the general gist. They only gain access to information after it has become de-classified. Most will live out their lives here. At least until they fuck up. 

Through the third gate, and within the innermost wall, is the heart of Delenaland. It is a tiny cottage sitting within a hedge maze, and only those who already understand the secret of the maze solve it. This is where the gifted-yet-stupid ones get caught: merit enough to make it through the third gate, not enough wisdom, experience, or intelligence to comprehend how to get through the maze. For those who know, it is very simple.

Only one has been born within the heart of Delenaland: Little Owl. The other, the oldest resident, has been there so long she's watched the walls go up and remembers when the fortress-city of Delenaland was a rolling, open plain where all were welcome. She is my younger sister.

It is very, very rare that someone can travel from Out There to the cottage in less than ten years. In the history of Delenaland, one has made it in less than a year, and her miracle is because she came to the gates speaking the language of the city and taught me things about Delenaland I didn't even know. She is mother, aunt, sister, and friend, as well as surrogate grandmother to Little Owl. She's rather famous in Delenaland, though she laughs at the recognition, as only someone who could breeze through the gates would be.

Within the heart of Delenaland, nobody's place is ever secure until they pass the Twenty-Year Test. That is, they must maintain worthiness of dwelling in the cottage without betrayal for twenty years. The record so far is eighteen years. Of course, this was also back when the rules were much more lenient. The next closest record is five years.

Another thing about Delenaland: the gates only work one way. All exits lead Out There. There is no gradual falling from grace: there is only the immediate stripping of citizenship to Delenaland. Most times I don't even tell them they have been deported, either. Outwardly, nothing has changed. They just slowly begin to realize keys no longer work, the layout they used to navigate the cottage gets them lost, and I do things but they cannot see the external forces contributing to my actions.

To them, it suddenly seems as if I am talking, laughing, and dancing with thin air. What once made sense now resembles madness, and they call me a fool and they call me crazy. What they still don't see  --the poor idiots-- is that they are outside the gates and I am still perfectly sane.

I used to give countless chances for redemption. Then I began giving three. And then only two, because "everyone is entitled to make a mistake." At last, at long last, I have learned to give myself permission to not even wait for one transgression, but to heed my intuition and acknowledge the portents which herald a betrayal in the offing.

Some call these "red flags."

You see, the thing is, one of the greatest philosophies of Delenaland is that nobody who is worthy of earning passage through the third gate should be capable of the kind of crimes that earn swift response, and so the concept of "chances" should be a non-issue.

Some call me harsh for such swift and unequivocal judgment, as if I am not allowing people to "be human." These are also people who live with considerable amounts of shit and drama in their own lives. What they don't understand is that I allow people to be human all they want, but I can also dictate which behavior is accepted within my city. The sort of humans I want in the heart of Delenaland are not capable of narcissism, duplicity, or other base tomfuckery.

And while yes, the priestess acolyte within me recognizes the treasure in the trash and the bless├ęd, ecstatic numina within All Things, my inner vulture goddess also knows sometimes a thing's only numina is in its potential. Its only value is in the latent energy it offers as it waits to be devoured lest it rot and harbor disease.

Just as the vulture is a sacred converter, releasing the fermenting energies trapped within a corpse, some people's only value is in the lesson they provide of What I Don't Want to Resemble. Their energy has been expended, and any further time with them would only be hanging onto the corpse as it bloats beneath the sun.

Better to devour it as soon as it's dead, bless it, thank it for its inherent lesson, and move on.

What does any of this have to do with my journey within the dream incubation chamber?

Only this:
           As I navigated through the rubble and explored the terrain through the disconcerting days and nights within it, I became more and more convinced I was walking through the ruins of my own soul city.

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Mitchell Allen said...


From now on, Alice Walker et. al. will have to be compared to YOU. I am in awe.



Delena Silverfox said...

Holy crap, that's high praise. My eyes are still like this trying to process: O.O

The Color Purple sits on my shelf as one of those "You will never be this, but you can always strive" combination motivators and unattainable holy grails.