The sun finally made an appearance Friday afternoon, but by then, I was already too far gone.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you the sun had not been seen for a full seven days. I truly don’t know how humans in certain parts of the world can live like this for months on end.
I do a very good job most days of managing my mind. I did all of the things I was supposed to do. Why did I abandon the work on myself on Friday?
Perhaps the answer is as simple as it is difficult to admit: I gave in.
The darkness hits us all at times. It is impossible to avoid or ignore. There can be no light without it. It must exist in our lives. It is a necessary element.
No, it’s not evil.
It just is.
For me, the dark moments are usually born of loneliness and isolation. I don’t even have to be physically alone to experience this, though I often am when hits me the hardest.
Things happened, I suppose. Plans changed. I had a full schedule and then I didn’t. That’s when the inner mean girl kicked in to overdrive. That’s when she is at her best – the times I am most vulnerable.
That’s how it works, right?
Bullies are most effective over those who are weaker. Bullies are also acting out of their own pain.
Yet it doesn’t matter that I know these things. I am still human and still fallible.
There are three things that we typically do with an unwelcome emotion that is accompanied by an urge. The urge is usually something to numb it away: food, drink, further avoidance.
That’s what we do. We either react to it, avoid it, or resist it. In hindsight, I realize I had been doing a combination of the latter two for days on end.
Everything is fine.
Nothing to see here.
It’s all good.
The flaw in this logic is that avoiding and resisting not only delays the negativity, it compounds it. So when it finally hits (and it always does), it hits that much harder.
Your defenses are down. You’ve used all of your energy trying to pretend it away.
It never works.
Trust me when I tell you that it never works.
What are you supposed to do with it? If you aren’t meant to react, avoid, or resist, what is it that remains?
We are supposed to allow.
And it’s the hardest thing of all.
You have to dig deep beneath the surface and find what’s really lurking there in the darkness, just waiting for the not-so-ideal moment to present itself.
It means you have to really listen to that inner mean girl when every fiber of your being wants to squelch her voice.
It means you need to show her compassion and curiosity.
Why is it that you are here and what are you trying to tell me?
Really listen, even when you don’t want to.
Talk to her as if you’re talking to the fifth-grader who used to openly mock you in front of your peers. After all, that’s exactly how she’s been talking to you, if you really bothered to hear her. Allow her to speak her mind.
Nobody likes you.
What are you wearing, anyway?
I’m actually chuckling right now, because that’s exactly how she sounds. Like a child who just doesn’t know any better. She’s pitching a fit and pointing the finger at me to keep the focus off of her own shortcomings. She hasn’t yet lived her life, and maybe she won’t ever fully do that.
That mean girl never had any real power over me. I didn’t know that then, of course.
Then translated: in the moment.
That mean girl also needs my curiosity and compassion. Everything that she’s saying to me is a projection. Why is that?
Maybe through the darkness, she’s trying to shine on light on the parts of me that I don’t want to see.
My own insecurities, judgments, and perceived shortcomings.
What if instead of avoiding those truths, I’m meant to allow them instead?
Of course I don’t really think I’m dumb, that no one likes me, or that I should put more thought into my choice of clothing on any given day.
Or maybe I really am thinking those things and I simply need to acknowledge them.
Own up to them.
Perhaps even…value them?
After all, they are still the parts of me that make up the whole of me.
No one will ever fully know all of the pieces and parts. Humans are so very complex. I do think that it’s the least we can do for ourselves to get to know all of the things we think are ugly about who we are.
That may be a tall order.
Numb them away?
That’s even worse. Trust me when I tell you that it won’t solve a thing. More often, the opposite is true. More problems are created. Every time. And those problems also compound.
The answer probably lies somewhere in between the darkness and light. Somewhere in between feeling elated and completely, utterly deflated.
The human experience is always going to be wonderful half of the time. The other half is going to be raw and sometimes awful. We have to allow those moments too. We can’t mute them or numb them or push them away.
The mean girl is never going away.
Because she is me.
The sun is gone
But I have a light
The day is done
But I’m having fun
I think I’m dumb
Or maybe just happy
Think I’m just happy
– Kurt Cobain
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