the story so far

Keeping the Darkness at Bay

So many things in life come in circles, in cycles, in waves. They come and they go with a relentless ebb and flow that we can sometimes predict but rarely control.

Our lives have these seasons, and we can either fight them or we can grow with them.

The waves that I fight are the shadows that like to plant themselves deep in my consciousness. I call them shadows because it isn’t anything in particular that’s there, there’s nothing to see. Have you ever looked at the shadow that a glass of water sheds on a table top in sunlight? You briefly wonder how something as clear or invisible as water can make a shadow, but you understand that we can’t always see what blocks our light.

The analogy holds to so much more. Since I was a child I have always struggled with the shadows that seem to be just behind my shoulder, just out of sight. I fought them tooth and nail until I thought I couldn’t. And because I would rather throw in the towel than be beaten outright, when I could fight no more, I would give up. I would let darkness wash over me and I would sink as far as I could sink into oblivion, and wait for it to pass.

And pass it did, every time. I’d wake up one morning and feel less blue. And all that would come and go. As it does.

Years later I learned to just accept it all, to ride the waves so to speak. I wouldn’t even begin to fight the rising tide as it came in, I would just let it happen. And I could see it coming a mile off. I could say to myself, “it’s about to go downhill.” And because I saw it coming I thought that it was okay to let myself dive into it like I had no choice.

What I didn’t understand was that at the end of the day, I’d never stopped relinquishing. I’d never stopped letting it happen to me. Even when I was fighting it and then giving up at the end, I wasn’t claiming it for what it was, and me for what I am.

So I am done with that phase too.

You see, maybe Nietzsche had a point when he said “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” I was staring (which I hear is rude anyway) and I was consumed by what I thought I had to face.

But this time when the wave came round, and I knew it was coming, I didn’t face it. I didn’t even glance. And somehow, for the time being at least, that wave has frozen, poised above me, perhaps for another time, perhaps for never. It didn’t crash down, and I neither had to fight it nor succumb to its depths. I’m still right where I was, feeling as if on a great height, a precipice. It isn’t rock solid and the winds make me waver back and forth. But for once I haven’t fallen.

I should knock on wood or something, but guys, this feels pretty good.

Until next time. And that will be the test.

1 thought on “Keeping the Darkness at Bay”

  1. Hey Tessa!

    I’m loving your blog (followed!) but I would also like to invite you to submit a short piece to my own. I think your perspective and style of writing would be a perfect piece for my project.

    It’d also be a great way to get your blog/writing out there.

    Please feel free to email me (jennifer@youngandtwenty) with more questions, or take a look at the ‘BEING Young & Twenty’ page on my blog.

    I hope I’ll hear from you 🙂



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