the camp

I’m stuck in this place. a camp. there are others. at this point, we don’t have a choice. we want to get out. we’re all waiting.  i wish i wasn’t one of them. i wish i wasn’t here. but i got myself into this mess. this is the path i chose.

this step is necessary. a nightly gathering. one of us is chosen to be the subject. we don’t know who it will be. each night, a new person. exposed.

on a massive screen. projecting a movie. the movie of the chosen subject. their memories. their fears. demons. secrets. projected on the big screen for everyone to see. not to be mistaken for entertainment. these movies are mandatory exposure therapy. cleaning out our wounds. letting them air out so they can heal. grow a new skin. new life. born from the overcoming of pain. escaping the camp.
of course, this is the ultimate goal. not everyone makes it through. not everyone is freed from the cycle.
i don’t want to be next. crossing my fingers. hoping when the night comes, my movie will be quick and painless. not sure if i’m better off here or wherever they take me when its over. unsure of what awaits me there. i don’t want to be like the others. Ari. the subject of last nights movie. tall, handsome, charming. or so one would think. he almost had us fooled.
we now see him for the snake that he is. slithering through online dating profiles. selecting his next prey. based on their resemblance of her. the woman who said no in a sea of yesses. she was not impressed by his surface level credentials. she saw through him. she saw nothing. an empty shell. stuffed with useless compliments, attention, ego. she saw dependence on shallow validation. his self worth too heavily reliant on the feeling of being wanted. she did not want to be consumed by his emptiness. she did not want to be used as stuffing.
so now, Ari slithers and swipes. chewing up and spitting out those who remind him of her. trying to prove a point to himself. see, i don’t need her. i already have her. i have a hundred hers. constructing a false reality. a reality where he is no longer longing for the unattainable. he has it. he has conquered it. throwing i love yous around like hellos and goodbyes. preying on those with the same emptiness. instead of filling the emptiness with vital self love. he sucks it out of people. temporarily feeling invincible. but it is temporary.  unsustainable,  and self destructive. and that’s why he’s here. with us. stuck in the camp. the cycle. waiting.

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