“In this, my old corner of the world, I am oddly safer than out there. Here, I know I am disgusting and pointless.”
I’ve crept back into pain and suffering. Slowly, I’ve crawled back into this familiar, dark, dank nook. Everything here hurts. In this place, I am cruel to myself. On repeat, I tell myself awful stories about the world around me. In fact I revel in it. That person doesn’t love me. That person is trying to hurt me. Nobody likes me and understandably so. It feels like putting on your old slippers, even if they do have barbs underfoot.
In this, my old corner of the world, I am oddly safer than out there. Here, I know I am disgusting and pointless. Here, I accept that I am unlovable, that I hurt those around me and that they would be better off without me. Here I don’t need to strive or stay true to myself. Here I can just wallow in the brokenness of my being. I can consider myself past the point of no return. I can give in and give up. I needn’t look forward to a brighter day because there won’t be any. I can abandon hope and give into the deep pain I can feel rising, achingly so, from my bones. This ‘home’ that I have occupied for vast swathes of my life, before I knew better, from back when I thought this place was me, is calling me in again.
I’ve strayed back here because I am weary. Striving to live a different way, to head off the old programmed patterns, to quieten the cruel thoughts and to banish the darkness is an exhausting daily practice. It takes focus and requires active aligned choice in every moment. It means living your values even when doing so is the more difficult, seldom chosen route.
Looking back, I cannot remember a time when this dark place was unknown to me. It has peppered my life. At times along the way, I have mourned, knowing that I will never be enough and the dark place is all I deserve. This feels like it could become one of those moments. This time at least I can identify why I’m here. I’ve been knocked off course by the re-emergence of a dynamic so well known to me that it is enthralling and its power to drag me back under is astonishing.
And yet, I am resisting the dragging under, even though the pull is strong. Better travelled than my younger self, I have seen the otherside. Rather than simply, unceremoniously sliding back into the void and bedding in, I know there is another way. I know that the darkness is not truly mine and has never been a home; just a port in the storm. The other side is beautiful. You can see for miles, everything is just within reach, it’s warm, it’s unbounded and it is possible; it is love. But whilst glorious, it is a risky place to inhabit. It is quite significantly scarier than the darkness. In the dark you know what you’re getting and suffering requires little innovation. You can play the same sad songs on the turntable forever. Staying in the light, listening to your knowing and reaching for the best of yourself does not come easy. To redefine who you are, not who the world tells you you are is a seemingly never ending process. Stripping away the ‘not-you’ and adventuring into the what-ifs can be exhausting and lonely as you realign and redesign, the who you want to be.
I am sitting in the dark, acutely aware of the light. How easy it would be to stay within this cold cavern of familiar patterns and pain; to be held in its gloomy safety. But because I’ve sniffed the air outside, I want to believe there is another way. I want to believe freedom is out there. I want to believe because I hope for better for my children; that they never need to know the darkness as themselves, only as something outside themselves that they can choose to leave.
May pain be my guide to a better day. May it let the light in.