What Are You Doing with All Your Dark?

I always tread lightly when addressing sensitive subjects such as grief. My intent is never to come off as a pretentious know-it-all as everyone grieves differently. There may be a “model” for the steps of grieving, but no individual grieves in the same pattern or manner as the next individual.

In fact, I’m so often ridden with anxiety regarding the subjects in which I write about that after I post such material, the minutes, hours and sometimes days following are filled with inner turmoil. I ask myself, “Should I have posted that?” “Should I change this? Edit that?” “Should I just delete the whole damn thing all together?” The inner inquisition marches on, infiltrating my slumber and testing my motive to move forward, to write on, if you will.

For those whom this appears as an easy task, one that comes naturally, it is, in fact, not. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had an inherent inclination to share my personal life from a very young age, perhaps its purpose being solidified in my senior year sociology class when Mr. Johnson, whom to this day remains one of my favorite and most memorable teachers, asked the class if anyone would be willing to volunteer to be a part of a panel of students speaking on an extremely serious, personal subject matter. This panel consisted of a group of teenagers, including myself, who were all too familiar with various forms of addiction.

What ensued following my willingness to volunteer was an unfortunate and deeper wedge placed smack dab in the middle of my brother and I for the simple fact that he found my allocation of such intimate matters to be, for lack of better terms, wrong. What I gratefully gained from doing so was the realization that sharing some of the darkest corners of my already dusty life would develop into a habit that would serve not only as a form of therapy for myself but for others, as well.

I recently came across this beautiful thought by the talented writer, Amanda Torroni. It asked, “What are you going to do with all that dark?” And it answered, “Find a way to glow in it.” What a simple but profound thing to ask ourselves and I couldn’t have answered it better. I found a way to glow in it in the fall of 2002 in Mr. Johnson’s sociology class.

Amanda Torroni
Amanda Torroni

I told myself that as humans, we never know what the stranger in the back of the room or the new friend we meet in biology class is experiencing and these people may not have the know-how or desire to vocalize such personal details of their private lives. My having the ability to do so means someone will be able to relate and thus feel a little less alone and perhaps gain a little more courage and hope.

Twelve years later, here I am –still glowing in the darkness, still sharing on what I aspire to be a continually grander scale and still hoping with quite a few more life experiences to introspect upon. As for the divide between my brother and I it will always remain and not just because of my readiness to open up about our dad’s drug addiction to the masses. At least there’s a whole hell of a lot more acceptance and understanding that we’re two entirely different people with different dreams, goals and perspectives. We grieve differently, glowing in our own unique ways within what sometimes feels as a perpetual darkness.

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