Join me in the Darkness if you Dare

I’ve been teetering on the edge of reason, weary, dizzy, exhausted for what seems like days. Escaping to the lake on my own was both a brilliant and impulsive move and possibly in need of revision.

Someone once said that none of us are actually afraid of the dark, we’re scared of what it conceals from us. We’re afraid of having something with the potential to hurt us standing right before our eyes and not registering it as a threat, people can also be like that.

You be the judge.

It’s the middle of the night when sleep is as elusive as a thief, I draw a haggard breath, and feel myself slipping into the murky abyss, dropping into the unknown as if a discarded cigarette that someone extinguished with his foot. I feel jettisoned, abandoned, and frightfully alone.

Who knows the exact depth of our aloneness?

These are the things I think about when I’m swaying on the edge of consciousness, cloaked in fear, losing my perilous grip on reality. Deep into that darkness peering, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream writes Edgar Allan Poe.

At some point I encounter myself in the midst of a dream so realistic I don’t question the viability of characters who play their parts with revelatory perfection. A genesis of raw truth, veiled in illusion, and although I remain neutral, I notice there is nothing too unhallowed for this stage.

What could possibly be the purpose of dreams?

A sorting, discarding, and storing of important memories is the current belief but I also think we process emotion, express desires, maybe even rehearse the future while dreaming? Who knows? Freud wrote that dreams are “disguised fulfillments of repressed wishes,” but he’s a little passive aggressive don’t you think?

An unidentifiable noise, or slight breeze awakens me, I search the darkness for the threat, noticing the solidity of this world as compared to the fluidity of dreams. I want to dissolve into the calm because the softness of sleep seems so much more appealing than the treacherous reality of the dark where my thoughts take on a life of their own. I’m not sure who said the depth of darkness to which you can descend is in exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach.  

I banter with my worthiness during these long sleepless nights, remembering the question posed to Ruth Bader Ginsburg at her Harvard Law dinner, “tell me why you are here and why you deserve to take this space you have been given?”

How does one answer such a question?

It did occur to me if I can’t answer this question for myself, who can? Perhaps this is the most important work we’ll be asked to do?

Wasn’t it Descartes who said, “I think therefore I am?” Which doesn’t speak to our value just our existence, seems a little random, but how does one honestly justify their presence in this world?

Maybe I’m just a small piece of the puzzle, the prolongation of life, knitted together with colorful strains of DNA because that is what was needed, at this time, and in this space? A Swede with a penchant for wit, wine, and words in equal measure, someone trying to figure out where she fits in, maybe that’s why I’m so tall, so my head can be in the clouds.

I imagine this jagged line of succession that trails back to a more primitive version of myself, dwelling in caves, covered in the coarseness of an antediluvian time, carrying around a curiosity for life instead of an iPhone?

Or is there something else that warrants my being? Is this our one opportunity to give ourselves over to our own evolution, becoming fully human, made in the likeness of God? Or are we damned by a corroded mold, crafted from the sins of society? Maybe we’re a mixture of both, a heavy pour of humanity stirred by the divine, and it’s quite possible we’ve been over served.

I waiver, moving in and out, as if a tide of uncertainty.

Or am I just obeying a didactic command to be fruitful and multiply? To have created children of my own flesh and blood, I understand the sacramental nature of life, because I feel sustained when they are near me.

It the same with God “when she brushes up against me,” notes Allison Marie Conway.

Conway beautifully pens these words, “it’s not easy to sink into yourself and believe that you are worthy of the breath that animates your entire life, the temporary heart which beats like wings against the fragile air. There is a jaggedness to this kind of deliberate stillness, this disciplined silence, the feeling that at any moment you will fall backwards into the truth and the full power of who you are.”

Why are we so determined to evidence our own beliefs? These illusions we create and spend a lifetime substantiating as if that will make them true? We cling to our fallacies as if a child to a tattered teddy bear, maybe what we fear most is freedom, letting go of the anchors that serve our narcissistic needs, and not that of our true potential.

Something tells me that simply participating in the miraculous unfolding of life is our sacred work, to be forces of good in the presence of suffering, or simply releasing others from the tethers of destructive narratives we ourselves have created? As Carl Jung claimed knowing our own darkness is the best method of dealing with the darkness of others.

So I lie awake embedded in the softness of the sheets, twisting and turning with my thoughts, wrestling with my pride, my worthiness, my purpose.

I wake to a darkness in which I find myself fearing what pursues and confronts me, I’m broken down and tired. It is in the wee hours of the morning that I realize I might be alone, but I have not not been abandoned by love, she caresses my brow, brushes up against me in the dark, nestles me in the crux of her arm as if a beloved mother, so I know I am not alone.

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again

Andra Day

I’m Living in the Gap, no longer afraid of the dark, because you cannot maintain the illusion of loneliness if you are not alone.

Anecdotes:

  • I have been blogging for five years, only a few weird remarks have landed in my comments, but yesterday that all changed, and I have to say it was rather shocking.
  • I had my first troll.
  • Who is it that feels entitled as to judge another but not turn this arbitration on herself?
  • I wavered between taking her seriously or considering her a delusional human being?
  • I ended up claiming her as spam.
  • Maybe she was afraid of my words?
  • Yoda says fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

25 Comments

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  1. This was such a heartfelt write. Thank you so much for sharing Conway’s words. Those are now among my favourite quotes. I may be young but I can still relate to a lot of the uncertainty and questions you have included here. Loved reading this!! The song is inspiring as well!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you IT, I appreciate your kind words. I’m not sure age matters when we’re contemplating the meaning of life, our focus might change but our need to belong, to matter, to be loved never waivers! All my best, C

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Loved this! Strange how you speak words that seem personal to me. (I guess that is why I love reading.) it is nice to know that I am not alone in my feelings of self doubt or self worth. I consider myself confident and happy usually, so why do I i the middle of the night get these strange thoughts? You help me to know I’m just human. ??

    Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad to hear this Terri, I have these strange thoughts, and knowing someone else can relate makes me inordinately happy. It appears many of us agonize over trivial things in the middle of the night? It feels good knowing I’m not alone with these thoughts! Sleep well my friend, Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

  4. – I wondered if you were going to mention Jung. He thought dreams were purposive, both for balancing our psyche and the development of our personality, a process he called “individuation”. There’s a whole rabbit-hole therein, which I’m currently exploring and have for the past few years.
    – I also have the too-tall blues. 6’3″ ; )
    – My late father used to wonder about his purpose, saying, “Why did I survive (WWII) when so many better men perished on the battlefield?” Who can answer that?
    – I personally believe, “We are the Universe experiencing itself.” That covers all experiences and experiencers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh my Sundra, love that we see eye to eye, although I’m in the under six feet category, but still. You can’t talk about dreams and not mention Jung! I didn’t realize dreams were part of developing our personality? That makes sense in a strange sort of way and I can only imagine the rabbit-hole! Your father’s question is universal, why me, and not them? It’s complicated, but the idea that we are evolving as we should is appealing, and gives me hope. Thanks for your considerate comment, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kim, thank you for your kind words, I am a huge fan of Conway, she has a blog on WP that you can follow. I adore the way she writes. Now the troll is another matter, not a fan at all, makes me wonder why someone bothers to be cruel, when they could just not read the blog? Very strange times we live in. All my best, C

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Lovely writing. I embrace the darkness, as I never knew what real darkness was until I moved away from the city where I had lived all my life up until then. I also embrace the vivid dreams, and feel bereft when I have none, like missing the unexpected visit of a friend.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pete! We also live in a fairly bright city but have a cabin in Lake County and it’s extraordinarly dark at the lake. The inky darkness is lovely when I’m star gazing but when I’m alone it takes on alarming characteristics! And here’s to vivid dreamers, I rarely miss a night, and I do enjoy toying with the meaning of these escapades? Kindly, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words Earthwalking, I love how you put this, “a wandering through the mind’s eye.” I’m so glad this resonated with you and you found it affirming. That’s why we write, to connect, and affirm. Thanks for stopping by Living in the Gap and joining me in the comments! All my best, C

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love dreaming. As a child, I was able take control of my nightmares and alter the outcomes…. or if I can’t, I force myself to wake up…. By the way, I will be nominating you for an award soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Crystal, Bahaha, “you pride yourself on living in the present – until the present is the middle of the night.” That’s so spot on and precisely how the present alludes me in the dark. I love Andra Day, her music is so hopeful in the face of such oppression and fear, she’s an inspiration. The troll is gone! I deleted but she sort of wounded me? I applied pressure and I’m going to live but words can scar. A good thing to remember. Thanks for your observations Crystal, always enjoy engaging with you! Be well, C

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “I’ve been teetering on the edge of reason, weary, dizzy, exhausted for what seems like days.” Welcome to my world!
    You paint a wonderful, ethereal image. As if you are in a space between life and death, reality and another dimension. Kind of a twilight zone. And your picture nails it.
    Dreams and darkness, alone, hope, loss. What is your purpose in life? Why does one exist? If your purpose is to raise kids, then what is their purpose? What is anyone’s purpose? Are we merely cogs in a wheel? Am I alone? Will death bring an emptiness? An absence of being? The depths of despair? As if in a space suit hurtling through the galaxy, cold alone, empty. When I take my last breath, and a coolness starts to fill my body, will it have been a life well-lived? Will it matter? And who or what will make that call? Will she [sic] be happy with what has been? These questions are unanswerable, so…. I go back to Ecclesiastes. As an aside, if you really dig deep and check the world wide web, the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is clearly 42.
    When one takes the time to think of all the rare and miraculous events that had to happen to make it so that you exist (someone calculated the odds of being born are 1 in 400 trillion,) it puts a lot of pressure on you to not blow it, so to speak. A kind of we are not worthy type of moment. However, justifying one’s existence is a futile fool’s game.
    Thanks for a great entry, it really appealed to me. Especially the imagery. Oh, by the way, you are not alone.

    PS Wish I would have seen the troll’s work. I can’t imagine what you found shocking. Don’t let it deter you. To quote Descarte, “whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.”
    PPS I really like Descarte.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know Mike, sometimes I get in these funky ethereal moods, especially when sleep-deprived, and living on my own for several days. My mind goes on these impromptu adventures where she unearths little treasures I have deeply buried (for good reason) in the depths of my mind. As life continues to speed on by, pandemic or not, I find myself thinking more and more about my purpose, my contribution, my legacy to the world? It’s impossible to gage ones worth and I too have turned to Ecclesiastes for wisdom and direction. And then I wake up this morning, way too early, peek out the window, and my eyes are gifted with an epic lake sunrise, and I watch as a blanket of darkness is lifted from the land. It took my breath away and suddenly the idea of “witness” engulfs my purpose. Maybe that’s all we can do? Witness life and share our observations with those we love?

      PS Love the song.

      PSS I deleted the troll and moved on, maybe there was a language barrier, but she so didn’t get me, and thought I was completely deranged. Some might argue in her favor? What surprised me was why she bothered to read a blog that she didn’t like? Just click out and be on your merry way.

      PSSS I really like Descarte too.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I love the dark. I find it so peaceful and I do my best thinking in the dark. As for the troll, they was the deranged one. I think people are bored and find some sick sense of satisfaction in making other people feel bad.

    Like

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