Today I am pondering the concept of darkness. Just to keep it ‘light‘ on your Saturday reading, right? Wrong.
It’s not going to be the basic ‘light-and-shadow-y‘ absence of light in our day to day lives, but the more metaphorical shape it may take, that I want to take a gander at today. Just for the hell of it. So letsa go: a talk about darkness:
That dark pit that resides within all of us, regardless of how bright we try to make our days and actions. That hiding spot for all our thoughts and feelings of vengeance, hate, cruelty and viciousness that we hold within ourselves, no matter how much we try to deny them power over us.
I have always been one to quickly give in to that darkness. I probably would’ve done very well as a pirate in the Black Sails universe (of the quotes found later in this writing). At my core I’m just not a very nice person, is the gist of it.
A black-and-white thinker, like myself, is effortlessly lured to passion, easily led to love but also swiftly bound for anger and quick to hate. The extremes of these emotions have always found grounds in my life, as I’ve always willingly given into them. It’s the dramatic streak that I have as a writer, I’ve always told myself. This incessant need to stir up the type of drama in my life that would do well in any of the classic Spanish tele-novellas. But it’s there, regardless of where it finds its origins. A darkness. And in me, it’s not that well hidden or deeply entrenched as in some of the better specimens of human. It’s always right there, just below the surface.
I assume my life would have been a lot easier had I not been so inclined. Things tend to go a lot smoother when you don’t drive them to the edges of their capabilities and preferably slightly over a breaking point, just to see if you can still fix it. But it’s what I do. My Modus Operandi. My go-to MO.
When I am wronged, I don’t focus on recuperation. I focus on retaliation. When I am hurt, I don’t make attempts at healing but attempts at getting even. When I am angered, I look for the ways to vent my frustrations and when I am sad, I find the ways to return the favor to the one who caused it. And when I give in to the darkness, I keep wanting more of it. It feeds itself.
It’s why I’ve often had these ‘stoplight‘ exes. Insane stories, memoir material all-round. Guys by whom I’d be hurt, and who I’d hurt back worse, only to put a great big band-aid over the cuts and bruises and have another go at it to see just how dramatic the story could get. It’s why I always feel that draw back to ‘rebooting‘ old loves. Because there’s already story there, that can only be added on to, and which then soothes my drama-craving soul. A merry-go-round of idiotic painfest bound to burn into cinders with me merrily watching myself go up in flames every new chapter.
There’s a Dutch saying: ‘Gedeelde smart is halve smart‘ (Shared sorrow is half sorrow) , meant to lighten the load for those who are feeling worn down. When you share your sorrows with a willing shoulder, they might carry part of the burden for you. I, however, abuse that saying to the max of its other context. When there’s sorrow on my plate, I will make sure to lessen my load by dealing it to other guilty parties, where and whenever possible. It’s how I’m wired.
Truthfully: I do try to resist. And I often even succeed.
Honestly: It’s been getting better over the years, I have a more firm handle on my darker urges and generally succeed in remaining on the ‘good‘ side of things.
Frankly: These days I tend to recognize and thwart these unhealthy tendencies way before they come to fruition, so much so that I’d almost think I’m getting the hang of this adulting thing.
Actually: These past three years I’ve even managed to avoid falling into these age-old character-traps altogether. Sometimes.
But that doesn’t mean it’s no longer there.
That voice of darkness (as so beautifully put in that first Black Sails quote below). I do see it now, for what it is, when I tell myself to act in certain ways. And though the lure ‘of the story‘ is often still there, I have learned how to rewrite the current narrative to better suit my needs, instead of boosting my story lines with some additional drama.
But sometimes. Oh sometimes. I just crave the drama. Need that darkness. Sometimes – I just want to give in. Guess I just really like that cloak it’s wearing (see quote 1). And lucky for me, quote 2 ties into what I firmly believe. It’s that same darkness that tells us most about who we truly are. THE place to learn all that we can be. So you know. I’ma add a bit of darkness to my light. Always.
Read on for a lovely scene and two terrific quotes from my new go-to series.
Don’t do that though, if you haven’t watched season 3 yet (and still want to!)
Quote 1 from Captain Flint:
Maybe you went too far. Maybe you didn’t go far enough. Maybe you did it just right. The point is that while you were doing it, you heard a voice telling you that disciplining him would prevent him from repeating the offense, a voice that sounded like reason, and there was a reason to it, as the most compelling lies are comprised almost entirely of the truth. But that’s what it does. Cloaks itself in whatever it must to move you to action. And the more you deny its presence, the more powerful it gets, and the more likely it is to consume you entirely without you ever knowing it was there.
Quote 2 from Captain Flint:
You must know this. You’re too smart not to know this. They paint the world full of shadows and then tell their children to stay close to the light. Their light. Their reasons, their judgments. Because in the darkness, there be dragons. But it isn’t true. We can prove that it isn’t true. In the dark, there is discovery, there is possibility, there is freedom.