by shelbyisrad

I’ve been brushing up against the shadows recently. Before, I sat on the outside (clinging to the light) , watching as the other rebel bravehearts dwelled in them, or dived into them. But now, I’ve begun to dip my toe in as if testing the water. Testing, because I’ve never been comfortable with the shadows.

I’ve been afraid of the dark since I was 8 years old, the first time I remember being hurt by someone who was supposed to protect me. Or maybe it even goes as far back as to 3 and 4 when I shivered in my room afraid to even leave to use the bathroom because my mom’s boyfriend was drunk and raging.

At 21 years old my heart races if i’m outside alone in the dark, thunder sends shivers of fear down my spine. I sleep with either a TV or music on, because the darkness and the overwhelming silence, keeps me from drifting off to sleep. Since 10 years old I’ve had terrible nightmares, I’d wake up in tears or screaming from fear.

However, As much as I love the sun and sunshine the moon has always captured my heart. When I look up and focus on the stars there is no fear of the night for me. I become enveloped and overwhelmed in it. When I acknowledge the beauty and good in the darkness it doesn’t allow fear.

But in searching out who i am, in loving myself, in bonding with the bravehearts, in conversations with my Grandma, I have seen the beauty of the shadows. I’ve seen the value of the dark places in our hearts, the vulnerable and even scary parts of ourselves that makes us even more who we are. I don’t know what being in the shadows really looks like for me, i do know, that in those shadows are brave, beautiful women who have welcomed me into their tribe. If I ever get fearful I know I can reach out and clasp their loving, encouraging hands.

Without the shadows and the pain I see there, I know i would not be the compassionate and kind person I am. I achieved this level of love and compassion because I don’t let that pain have power over me. But I use it to become even more of a strong and loving person. Because of the pain I know I’m able to understand the pain of others. And that is the greatest joy I have, my ability to connect deeply and understand other humans and their hurt. The shadows, the dark places, the pain they give me the ability to see the beauty, the light, and the good. And when that pain causes me to have fear, I won’t let the fear win, I will choose to use the pain for good.