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Plunging into the darkness

Monday, November 26, 2012

I've been thinking about the dark side a lot lately. No, not the space occupied by Darth Vader. But the darkness inside us all and the horrendous nature of life. Then Sirensongs wrote about battling the darkness in herself and I read this article


The argument is made that in order to be happy we need to embrace negative emotions and the bad that happens in life.

I couldn't agree more.

This reminds me of a friendship that dominated my late teens, entire 20s and early 30s. It was positive in many ways and for a woman who grew up without a father, it was great to have a man in my life who was there for me in ways my father was not (My father and I have since established a healthy, loving relationship.) But as we became adults, our unrealistic ideals falling away, each of us settling into the adults we would become, I found us diverging on one very important point.

This person was nicknamed Spock by all of our friends because he was never angry, never very sad, never depressed, never irrational and never impulsive. As we grew older, he became more and more critical of the way I processed and handled the world. He would always accuse of me being too attached, too passionate and too emotional instead of logical. For a long time, I tried to change this about myself and I was ashamed that I used instinct and emotion alongside logic to make decisions. I tried to be more like him, which was less emotional.

Eventually I came to resent his constant criticism and that he saw me as inferior to him because I let my emotions get the better of me sometimes. I started to embrace that part of myself and realized it was the very thing that made people want to be around me and it was also the very thing that made me happy. I started to see him as the one to pity. Because although he never felt those negative emotions, he never felt the positive ones either. He never felt joy, happiness, deep emotional attachment, love or pride in his accomplishments. He was a landscape of never ending opens fields. You could see what was coming and it never changed. I was the forest. There could be a venomous creature two steps ahead but man was it exciting.

I remember getting into a bitter argument with him one time about this. He explained to me that he didn't like the unknown and he didn't like highs and lows. He was afraid if he felt emotions, he would go over the cliff. I told him I loved that cliff. I loved to go to the edge of it, peer over into the blackness and consider plunging to the abyss and then backing away into safety. It was the dance on the precipice that made me appreciate the light. It was embracing and respecting that darkness that made me appreciate the good that life has to offer. This was the moment that our 17-year friendship ended. I knew I could not be friends with someone who had so much disdain for my way of looking at the world and ignored his own humanity.

Since then, I have sought out people who embrace their own darkness. Who embrace what is terrible about themselves but love themselves anyway. It feels more honest to me. I think these relationships have kept me young because we never lose our passion to live.

I just finished reading "The Paris Wife" about Ernest Hemingway's first wife and he was a man who often flirted with the darkness. It made him brilliant. In the end, he succumbed but not everyone does. This perspective has helped me on this journey. It's helped me forgive myself. It's helped me admit my faults and in turn come up with a way to triumph over my own darkness.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This was an awesome blog! I couldn't agree with you more. My older brother sounds alot like your friend, he is impervious to everything. Which may explain why he is still single at 44. I always tell him to relax and enjoy life, the good and bad, the ups and downs. I always say you can't appreciate the joy of a sunny day if you've never been through a storm. Thanks for reminding me of this!! You rock!!
    2339 days ago
    Glad you got away from that guy...couldn't even imagine being around someone like that ever! I am with your decision and the way you look at things.
    Have a wonderful Wedneday...and keep up the postive outlook and with that exercise!!! Thanks for stopping by! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2339 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/28/2012 1:26:33 AM
    Sorry a long friendship had to end over that, but I think it was the healthiest thing to do. I too subscribe to your way of thinking and can def relate. I as a Gemini, have always gotten that I'm too emotional. And I can be very emotional. I feel things very deeply, good & bad. I also believe it is the more honest way to live. It's real. It's gritty, I wouldn't have it any other way. I do sometimes wonder what it's like for ppl who live on the more logical side of things all the time rather than little to no emotion, but I am who I am. Love this blog. :)
    2340 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/1/2012 1:53:52 PM
    I couldn't agree with you more! Although by reading my blog that you're referring to, you'd never know it, lol! The darkness inside me is what makes me, me, and the horrible experiences that I've had have helped shape who I am today. Also, I truly believe that you can't fully appreciate the positive unless you've truly experienced the negative. Sometime you need contrast to put things in perspective. I don't think I'd experience any euphoria, if I hadn't also visited the depths of despair.

    I'm sorry to hear about your friendship. Sometimes the clash of temperaments can be too much for a relationship to take. I'm glad that you didn't compromise yourself, and stayed true to who you are. I'm happy that you can embrace your inner darkness, and accept yourself as you are. It takes a brave person to do that, I think.

    emoticon emoticon
    2340 days ago
    I think it's the ups and downs, the good and bad that makes life enjoyable. I think life would be so boring if you didn't embrace both sides. You can't appreciate the good in life if you don't have the bad things in life. I don't like dwell on the bad things in life but I do like to "analyze" the bad, sad, negative, etc. so that I can learn from them. I think it's irrational to not embrace both sides of the coin.

    I'm sorry that your friendship ended but I think ending your friendship was worth it in order for you to be who you really are.

    emoticon emoticon
    2340 days ago
    as you well know, I experience the extreme highs and lows... sometimes I wish i was a more "stable" person, but then I'd miss out on those amazing highs!

    Great blog, I completely understand it :)
    2341 days ago
    I visit my dark side, but it is scary. I tend to forget other people and their feelings and only think of myself. I try to keep my dark side at bay. When I go over the cliff I tend to leave hurt it my path. I can be brutally honest. When your friends are not used to that and then I end up on the dark side I leave a lot of hurt feelings and then I feel guilty. It is a double edged sword I think. I feel so exhilarated and free then when the aftermath hits it is guilt and sorrow. I actually made a co worker cry at a meeting and didn't even mean to do it.

    I am truly sorry you lost a friend over his not being able to let you be you and have all your feelings show around him. If you feel you cannot truly be yourself around someone then you must let them go. So sorry you had to do that. emoticon

    2341 days ago
    I personally feel it is illogical to be void of feelings and emotions.Where is the passion for life? Sure we all have dark feelings and can dwell on the negative. But when we look at the next venture with a more positive outlook,the enthusiam you feel when you succeed is fantastic.
    Shame about the friendship with your friend ending,but if it was bringing you down to feeling like him,then it is a sacrifice I am sure you can live with.
    Live long and prosper as Spock would say.
    2341 days ago
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