At some point last year, going to therapy became less about trying to get a handle on everyday “issues” that were challenging and in need of ways to understand and overcome them, and slipped into the territory of looking at all experiences (easy, difficult, good, bad, sad, happy, high, low) as just that — experiences, with all their effects on me. On witnessing and holding myself as my life had an impact on me.
Somewhere in this process, I realised the importance and absolute inexcapable necessaity of looking at my depth. The depth I had been digging, burrowing for, for years now. The inward spiral, the dive into the abyss. Except, for years I had held that space as a “serious” stoic place of strength and believed that I could go there easily. In fact, that I was already there.
That wasn’t an accurate understanding at all. It was, in fact a lie. A lie I believed because it was easy, comforting and helped me cope and stay afloat. It was necessary at the time.
But something about the topsy turvyness, the abject isolation and loneliness of 2020 took me deeper. And I realised that the depth that I looked at so fondly, was actually a terrifying darkness. My own darkness. The space of strength that was somehow also my biggest undoing. The depth and the darkness that were in fact the same place.
Facing this space has been extremely scary and very confusing and nerveracking. But I’ve had the greatest help and support in the form of a therapist who is perfectly suited to the way I think and understand the world, my work that keeps me rooted in this space of finding the tools to better know myself, my family that keeps me light and free, and my delightful husband who keeps it real, knocks the wind out of me when it gets to my head, props me up when I go too low and keeps me grounded. A whole team of people who knowingly and unknowlingly see different parts of me, and therefore help me see all of me.
But like I said before, sometime ago, the shift in the process last year has been in recognising that the darkness exists. It always will. It isn’t something I need to fear or be ashamed of. If anything, I need to own it, embrace it and derive strength from that wholeness. Sometimes that journey is like taking a deep dive in a dark well and not knowing if I’ll drown or come back up. Sometimes it’s like a swim in a dark lake, but on a full moon night. Sometimes it’s like dipping my toes into an inky sea. I have the capacity to choose how and at what pace I want to dig deep.
I’ve struggled with this, but I am slowly only now seeing my darkness as my strength. It took a long circuitous root to getting to this place — this deepest depth, the darkest darkness. Many layers below the depth I thought I was at. A part that I had locked away, that I needed to befriend. A part that asked for as much nurturance as the lightness in me. A part that is deserving of so much more compassion that I have given it. A part that continues to ask for and bring out from my depths, loving care, attention and intention. A part that awakened a love for life itself. But most of all, a part that I now look at with curiosity and respect.
I feel tears pricking the back of my eyes as I put these words down. It has taken a long, long, oh so long time, but it is this seeing of the darkness that has brought me to where I am today. A space where I finally feel like I have begun to love all of me.