Out of the Darkness...

I've interrupted my attempts at sleep as my whirring thoughts developed into a blog post. My mind couldn't quiet as I was reading a book and I didn't think that watching a show would help so I decided to try to sleep. The problem is that neither my mind or body are conforming to that wish. So lying there staring at the walls in the dark I am brought back to my childhood nights. When I was much younger my bedtime was 8pm and I was invariably asleep even before then. My mother was grateful for a child who took herself off to bed before even being told. But as I grew older and approached adolescence I would be sent to bed before I was ready and, just as tonight, I would lie and stare around the darkened room and I would daydream about my future:  I was going to win an Academy Award before I was 30. I would travel to every country in the world. I would have a lot of money and never drink or do drugs and I would live securely in a large house where no one would ever have cause to hurt me. I would save myself. I would save everyone I loved and everyone would love me. 

The thing about staring around in the dark is that the longer you do it the harder it is to look into the light. It takes your eyes longer to adjust and when you reach that light you are blinded and you think there's nothing there. So for years I have stared into the dark wishing for material things until I became too disillusioned to keep dreaming when I didn't receive them. Until I assumed my life was nothing but disappointment and failure. Every day I woke up to the dreaded sun that, following the moon's demise, had unfailingly risen again to remind me that I was another day closer to death and further away from my dreams. 

Now tonight I watch and I wait for sleep. Through my quickening breath and beating heart that signals the arrival of mental distress I tell myself that tomorrow is another day. It is another day to start again. It is another day to try. Perhaps it is another day to fail. But what suddenly occurred to me, that hadn't even slightly before, was that I have been blinded by the light this entire time. The light! This beautiful, beaming light that promises me a future. Now that future might not be the one I imagined, but I am alive and I have survived being me. When my eyes finally adjust I might just see that that the life I dreamt about has been there all along. That really, the true dream is to accept myself as just Liana; the awkward, frizzy-haired, crooked teeth, short-sighted girl whose father called her the ugly duckling so he could promise her she would turn into a beautiful swan. 

My last post found me on the floor, brought to my knees in desperation. But perhaps the gift of desperation is what I needed. Perhaps surrendering to my lack of power over my mental illness has actually given me some strength, because I find myself incrementally, day-by-day, feeling a little bit better. Each day when the sun rises I am thankful that somehow my intake of breath doesn't feel as painful as the day before. I might just be coming out of the darkness and into the light. Darkness is nothing but the absence of light. It's going to take some time for my eyes to adjust and when I finally see clearly what's there it might not be what I'm expecting, but it will be something. And something is better than nothing.  

Squinting into the light

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
                                                                                        ― Martin Luther King Jr.


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