Darkness Becomes Me

The urgent padding of bare feet down a hallway, around a week-old basket of laundry and randomly scattered toys. The lifting of a quietly sobbing three year old – mostly still in dream world – from bed to crib in one swift move. Staring at the LED lights of my alarm clock on my bedside table, like a ship to a lighthouses’ beam, as a means to maneuver safely around the sharp corners of our bed frame (I know if I walk towards those numbers that I am at least at the side of my bed). The heaving of body out of bed, scooping of hungry infant out of nearby playpen (whose head could be at either end), and placement of baby at breast between two warm bodies. A midnight piss, complete with mouth sipping water from the bathroom faucet.

This is all very ordinary. And all done in complete charcoal-black darkness most every single night.

Last night, as I walked the path from Kaia’s room to our room in the pitch dark, the thought occurred to me:

“I am so damn good at this. Save for a few instances (like the time I careened face-first into our closed bedroom door with Indi in my arms), I’ve never tripped or run into anything. I find my way around in the darkness like a pro.”

And let me remind you that we are not tidy and orderly folks. Our bedroom is often a maze of strewn-about objects: piles of clothes, diapers, crumpled towels, plastic toy animals (of which hurt like hell when you step on them), half-broken pieces of jewelry, books, glass cups, dirty sheets and pillowcases in a wad, laundry baskets, hangers, one cat, and one dog. My point? It’s like hurdle jumping. Only more like hurdle stepping. And at night. Naked.

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I have learned – often reluctantly and over time – to navigate through darkness rather fluidly. Or perhaps it’s better to explain that I embrace the journey wrapped in the witchy, mysterious hue of black like I would a sister. I struggle mostly with the seeming stagnancy of the darkness, my impatience like the nervously grinding hand of a kid on a jack-in-the-box crank. I hate waiting. No, let me rephrase that. I.Hate.Waiting.

For answers, for grocery lines, in traffic, for a slow internet connection to load, for microwaveable meals, for the greasy guys at the lube shop who don’t know how to type properly and take 10 minutes to chicken peck my info on their keyboards. But mostly, for answers – both ones that I anticipate coming and esoteric ones that may never arrive.

Yet I have found that the darkness shrouds answers – leaves space for the deepness needed for asking and questioning and waffling – and for that very reason I’ve come to understand darkness as my guide and friend. It is in the space void of light that I can walk a beaten path without thought or simply lose myself in a maze, letting my tired mind wander. There is stillness in the dark, a welcome blindfold to quell my need to constantly “take it all in”.

One may say that we are more vulnerable in the dark. In a sense, that is true. The protection it offers allows me to break open my layers like the fragile shell of an egg; all emotions of humankind dripping from my core. Yet darkness is my shroud, my cape of mystic abilities, where the glowing orb eyes of the owl meet mine. It is where wisdom and suffering convene to bring about simple awareness. Night is my protection, allowing the most fragile parts of my heart to be bare and wide open: the song of grief and healing and expectation as loud as the beat of congas calling me to dance within their fire. It is the darkness that heals, the darkness that gives me the knowledge to recognize the abundance in the light.

The darkness is where I can shed my Motherhood skin, remove my mask of Wife, release the Beast of 31, uncurl the tail of Birther and Doula, step out of the robe of Woman, and retract the claws Living Everyday Life. The darkness is where I can be Destroyer Goddess: Erishkigal, Kali, Lilith, Hecate, or just Leigh the Dark Goddess. Darkness is where the veil between birth and death is lifted; where gravity is defied; where limits are tossed to the wind. Darkness is a womb I crawl into in repose: a silent world of echoes and heartbeats.

And while the Light is my inhale, the Darkness is my exhale. And it feels oh so good to breathe it all out.

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At 18, I wrote:

“Night is my innocence

Night is my sorrow

Night come and swallow me like the pills of the addict”

At 31, I gladly step into Night’s belly, awash in surrender.

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How do you find your way through the Darkness?

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5 thoughts on “Darkness Becomes Me

  1. Ahh, the skills we gain in motherhood. 🙂

    I don’t know how I find my way in the darkness because, quite frankly, I fight sleep (lately). There’s something about it going dark and silent that I battle against. Likely that whole vulnerability thing. But I’m doing better and trying to let things go, free my mind, and let the darkness wash over. That, and our home is never completely dark. We’re notorious light-left-on-in the hallway people.

    “And while the Light is my inhale, the Darkness is my exhale. And it feels oh so good to breathe it all out.” Simply beautiful by the way.

  2. Night naked hurdling. I love this.

    The darkness comes to me as a relief, like rain in the desert.
    And sometimes release, when tears can flow or mouths can find each other or a soft breath against a child’s sweet, sweet, sweet head can rest.
    And then there is fear, and trust, that light will happen as it always does.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

  3. This is good, Leigh. Very good.

    I am just now understanding this, just now in life getting it – how do I navigate? These days, by letting go. Before, I was careening, arms swinging in front of me so as not to hit the wall. But wouldn’t you know it, I always would anyhow. And of course, it would hurt. Now, I am going with it, trusting myself and walking through to whatever is calling, be it a crying child, 2 am, or my worries/ fears/ dreams not yet realized.

    You. are. awesome, sister.

  4. “Yet darkness is my shroud, my cape of mystic abilities, where the glowing orb eyes of the owl meet mine”.

    Words to print out and hang up in the darkest closet. I just get all magically giddy when I think about it that sentence. The glowing eyes of all things Wise.

    Thinking about a response. Because it sits on the tip of my mind’s eye, I’d like to work on it tonight. Thank you you for asking me this question and thank you for walking my dark moments with me.

    mb.

  5. Wow, love this post. Very useful skill to navigate in darkness. When i was wakeful when kids were young, they would often wake too, like they could read my mind trying to escape the house in dreams.
    the house asleep while I am awake, kept me writing into the wee hours, writing a journal that became a book, that became poems
    best
    jenn
    aka musemother

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