“Gramma! When I hide under the bed, I can see an owl’s eyes looking at me!”
Grandma looked up from the dishes with concern on her face. Grandpa, who was sitting at the kitchen table while Grandma cleaned, ordered me to come and stand before him.
“What did you see?”
“Owl Eyes!” I laughed. “Big round silver ones! Under the bed when I close my eyes!”
I don’t remember what he said next, but I remember my excitement went suddenly cold. Grandpa was not happy. He asked me lots of questions, and before long, Grandma dried off her hands and came to sit with us at the table. They laid their hands on my head and prayed. Grandpa rebuked Satan in the name of Jesus and Grandma whispered “yes Lord” under her breath again and again.
As a kid, I interpreted my hunger and growing pains as attacks from Satan; tricks from the devil, trying to make me fat and unsightly. I remember staring at myself in the mirror, screaming in a whisper. In moments like these I was consumed by hatred for myself, hatred so powerful that it terrified me. I remember digging into fleshy thighs with my fingernails until I bruised. Once I accidently cut myself shaving. I soon grew addicted to the sight of blood swirling and mixing with water on its way down the drain. I cut my fingers, toes, arms and legs, It was sweet release. I couldn’t stop. When my Dad read the story of the demon-possessed boy who threw himself against stones and into the fire, I was sure that I was like that boy. Possessed with rage, with hatred, with guilt. Possessed by the Devil.
I was ashamed of my sexual feelings from a very early age. I used to agonize and beg God to take away the demon that made my fingers stray to forbidden places. At around 13 or 14, I had my first explicit sex dream, and I dreamed about a girl. I was horrified. Dad had once told me that the homosexuality demon was particularly evil. I knew I was doomed.
I remember once I borrowed an old News Boys CD from a “liberal” friend and listened to it secretly at night. I had to sneak the CDWalkman under my pillow because they were not allowed in the house. I made copies on a tape recorder before returning the CD so that I could listen whenever I wanted. The songs were stuck in my head for days. When I started to pray, the lyrics would surface in my mind. That was when I knew my Dad was right. The Devil was in this music. It was preventing me from prayer! I crushed up the tapes with my bare hands and threw them in the garbage.
As I write all this my mind is flooded with demon-tainted memories. I mourn all those hours wasted begging God to take Satan out of my mind, out of my body, out of my wayward heart. Who would I be today if I had never been told there were demons to fear? How much blood did I lose as I stood stoic at the sink, watching Satan slip down the drain in swirls of red?
What memories did I miss while I hid my true self from the world, afraid they would see that I was Possessed?