In the sweat lodge, all ideologies melt away.
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There are no corners and no lines and everybody is a temporary friend.
Furthest from the door, I don't do much talking.
Eyes closed, I walk amid the ruins of my life.
First, there's the void, the answer to my question: "Why?"
Perhaps someday I will understand but that day is not near.
In the dispassion of heat, I see my father differently.
He was not, as I, a compassionate reptile.
I am what he always imagined himself to be, a primarily rational creature.
And in the gentle heat, I can allow myself to feel the pang of my step-mother's cruelty but also see the devotion and love of later years, the seed of which was probably planted from the start.
And the sweat greases my sympathy with my own mother's inspired but irrational positivity, but also allows me to move into my own strength.
For I have always been by nature my own man and therein lies so much of the reason for my tribulations.
For the teachers did not want a thinker, the vendors did not want a teacher, and the authorities did not want a warrior-guru, even though their own line had grown frail and impotent.
Yes, sweat is a salve for even my most recent wound, that inflicted by the girl I loved.
For in the almost scorching heat, I can't mantain the simple picture of Fawn as an evil monster. No, she was in many ways controlling and selfish. Like me, she was an intellectual and a pariah from a conformist society, but not nearly as complete of one.
No, the infection seeped deep enough into her to bring out anger and thought.
But this society wounded me deeply enough to inspire both hate and wisdom.
No, I burn it all away: I am not a thinker, I am not a kind person, I am not a fascist or an optimist, I am not a gentleman of this society, I am not an adventurer, I am not a leader.
The door opens and we all file out, purged of everything too earthly, too divine or simply too sensitive.
And, no, I do not know what I am but I am resolved to be nothing else.