Thursday, May 10, 2012

I hated the dark

As a child, I always needed a night light and it had to be really bright.  Those little barely lit wall things didn’t work for me.   I could see all kinds of things in the shadows.  In fact, may as well make the light one that’s overhead, or at least in a standing lamp.  That way, the shadows weren’t as scary.

The dark represents the unknown.  Well, the unknown for me, anyway.  If I can’t see it, I don’t know it.  Seeing isn’t confined to processing the input from my eyes.  If I can figure it out, then I control my own ability to see it or not.   I guess when things are important to me, I really want to be able to see it when I decide I want to be able to see it.  Darkness cannot be tolerated at all.

In my early 20’s I lived with my mom is a very cramped space.  I loved it.  I didn’t have to think about being alone in the dark.  We shared a bed.  When I got married I found out I didn’t mind the dark so much.  Company in the dark all the time definitely made the dark less dark.  Or maybe I wasn’t as preoccupied by looking in to the dark.  As a kid, I would spend inordinate amounts of time staring into the dark until exhaustion would overtake me and I’d finally succumb to sleep.  Isaiah in my bed somehow made the dark different.  I didn’t care as much.  I’d stick my hand out, and he was there. 

In therapy, they say that stressed systems don’t grow.  Years of not sleeping alone helped me to calm down considerably.   Darkness isn’t as much of a problem for me.  Actually, the unknown is just that, unknown.

A couple of days ago Jaedon hurried over to me and grabbed my hand.  He wanted the key to the kitchen that is typically in my pocket.  Before I could do my ‘Hi honey, what do you want?’, started yelling and grabbing at my arm.  I lost my balance and tried to steady myself, but he started screaming more, pushing me over further, then holding my clothes, pushing me.  I stumbled around like a toy, screaming in shock.  He continued pulling me around for a few more seconds until I regained my footing.  I ran into the bathroom and shut the door. 

Darkness.  That was all I could see.  Panic gripped my innards and I started to cry.  No, my eyes did not fill with tears and I let out a sniffle.  I cried, like I was 8 years old and had received an unjust whooping.   I stared into the darkness and could only see shadows.  I let my imagination run wild and cried some more.  Yes, I knew I had given him a new homeopathic remedy that morning, and I knew that he had been peeling portions of paint from the wall and eating it and I knew he was going through a parasite detox.  The few pinpoints of light were not enough.  Better to not have had them at all.  The darkness overwhelmed them and I cried.

Within 5 minutes, it was as if nothing had happened.  I was out of the bathroom talking calmly to J.  He was co-operating, asking me for something in the kitchen.  I was righting the chair and picking up the small remnants of our brief foray into the darkness.  The doorbell rang, and it was as if nothing had happened.  But something had happened.  The song in my head, “stand in the rain, stand your ground. Stand up when it’s all crashing down.” Repeated over and over. 

Later that night, I sat in the car, listening to music, praying, thinking.  I felt the darkness descend again.  I felt the panic.  I felt the tightening of my chest.  Then, the thought flashed through my mind.  Unknown is just that: unknown.  I can go into the unknown and explore it, if I want to.  Like those times when my glasses broke and I had to use my hands to figure out where the fallen pieces of glasses are, and the tape, to try to get them together again.  I can explore the darkness, even when I don’t want to.  And, when I really don’t want to explore, I can close my eyes and relax.  I can take a breath.  The darkness will be there until it’s not dark anymore.  In the mean time, I can co-exist with it and explore at my pace.  I reach over, my fingers wiggling in the dark, stretching across the space, and I feel Isaiah.  I lace my fingers through his, and take another breath.  He still helps me to calm down.

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