December 21, 2016
“Hello, darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.” As expressed by Simon and Garfunkel in their 1964 song, “The Sound of Silence,” we all know the dance we do with our own darkness. Our darkness can be its own breathing being. It umbrellas the parts within that remind us of pain, shame, heartache, struggle and vulnerability, and houses the parts within that we are told by society are better left aside. We are made to believe there is more value in the light. Yet, we do not have one without the other. We experience brighter light as we move forth from the shadowy darkness. The contrast between the two highlights the inherent beauty in the subtlety of being a human, and our willingness to be with, and, more fundamentally, speak of the dark a bridge to brighter freedom.
Nine years ago, I started to write the book that has now, in its current iteration, become my Last Cut memoir. At that time, it was in part entitled, “The Bright Side of the Dark Side,” yet looking back, I see how I was not ready to fully own my darkness. I was not ready to fully claim the pain, shame, heartache, struggle and vulnerability, as I have been able to this year through Last Cut. I had yet to step into the process of stripping away the distractions and the detachments to allow myself to be present with darkness, my old friend. I had to reach greater depths of dark to ultimately face the questions I have asked this year through Last Cut. Because beyond the stories of betrayal, bodily pain, illness and emotional hurt, how we sit with our most intimate darkness determines our openness to the light.
On this darkest day of the year, some of the people who bring the most light into my life were born. And today, I recognize the extreme privilege I have to be writing of these thoughts when the news details dark occurrence upon dark occurrence in world affairs. I do believe though that, through our commitment to finding light amidst darkness within, we strengthen and prepare ourselves to go out into the world as a force of change. I have taken this week to slow down and contemplate this past year. Vocalizing the darkness I have sat with for years has brought forth more light than I ever knew possible. #ownyourscars