The darkness and the light

“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps” ― Paula Hawkins

I’ve spent a great deal of time taking stock of this year. The joys, the mishaps, the storms, the rainbows, the light, and the darkness. It’s been a difficult year for me, I’m not going to lie. The challenges the universe has presented me with, some of my own volition and some just beyond my reach, have provided plenty of growth opportunities and they’ve sometimes been a heavy burden to bear.

To say that I’ve faced it all with tremendous strength and focus would be a flat out lie, in fact, it could not be further from the truth. I’ve shed many tears this year. In the beginning of the year, I would have faced incredible shame just admitting that, just saying it in my head, let alone out loud. I used to believe, with my whole being that I had some sort of control of everything in my life, every action, every moment, every deed. There were many times this year where control seemed to be just beyond my fingertips, dangling right in front of my face, just had to reach out and grab it — but my hands were bound. I have always had incredible pride in my ability to stand steadfast in the face of all things: weathering any storm, loving the driving rain, laughing through the clouds.

When that strength was tested beyond my abilities, I wondered what was wrong with me? Why was I broken? Why couldn’t I self-heal? The more I focused on the loss of my control, the voices of doubt got stronger, they were the ones leading my emotions. I saw wave rising on the horizon but I was powerless to stop it. Powerless to run. I saw the clouds forming all around me and all I could to was let them sweep in. From all angles, the darkness was surrounding me. The weight of all my “weaknesses” were “crushing” — I couldn’t carry that weight by myself, I didn’t seem to know how, and I was too proud and ashamed to ask for help.

I let the darkness envelop me, I came to hold on to the certainty it provided. I stared in the face of the only possible escapes I could think of, the only things that would provide ultimate peace, ultimate relief. It all would have been so easy. What stopped me? What opened my eyes to the beyond right now? I have a friend who recently lost someone very close to them in the same manner of escape I was considering. One day, I saw a remembrance she had posted. How, even after some time had past, the weight from her loss didn’t seem to subside, she was able to celebrate the good times they’d spent together, be a support resource for others who are / have gone through this same experience, but it only provided temporary solace. That simple reminder was incredibly key in reminding some part of me that this pain I was feeling was only temporary. I just needed to look for the light and not the darkness.

It was that simple spark that reminded me that I am not alone, no matter how many times I feel it, no matter how many times I design it, there are so many things in my life to be proud of, to find the light in. I just needed that little reminder, I just needed that little push in the right direction. I’ve had a lot of work to do this year, a lot of pain to navigate, and many, many, many years of bad habits to break. Not to mention, I found quite possibly the best therapist possible. I never would have had the strength to reach out to one if I were relying on myself to get through this. It’s still a work in progress, returning to my new former self, but I’m stronger today than I was yesterday, and each step is easier.

The aforementioned friend, to this day, doesn’t know that they provided so much help, I never wanted to draw attention to it. Thank you my friend, you helped me more than you’ll ever know.

Maybe that’s the legacy of strength in loss, sometimes some people in their own darkness just need to see your light. Maybe we all just need a little reminder that we’re not alone, that even when we cannot see the future, we can see today, and we can see tomorrow. Maybe that’s enough.

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