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The Dark Passenger

by Conner Burton 2 days ago in self help

A shadow looms...

Author Generated

There is an interesting TV series on Showtime called Dexter. Dexter is the name of the main character on the show. At first glance, he seems like a pretty normal guy. But of course, we learn pretty quickly he is nothing of the sort.

You see, Dexter is a serial killer. That fact alone would offer plenty of material to base a television series around. But it doesn’t stop there. They throw in another twist.

Because Dexter does something unusual for a serial killer. He applies a moral code to his killings. He only kills bad people who do bad things. Only kills people who "deserve" it. So the viewers are caught in a moral dilemma. Is he the hero or just a monster? Who are we actually rooting for here?

Throughout the show, as Dexter commits these murders, as he enacts his own version of justice upon the world, he mentions feeding his Dark Passenger. Dexter’s Dark Passenger accompanies him wherever he goes. It is a part of him. The shadow.

Now this shadow, this evil, developed and grew over time. Dexter had a troubled childhood. And throughout his childhood, this shadow grew to the point it couldn’t be ignored anymore.

Feed me, Seymour!!!

So Dexter finally caved in and fed the dark passenger. He made his first kill. And now the shadow had a taste of what it wanted. It wasn’t going to stop there. Evil is always hungry for more.

Dexter is locked in a never-ending battle for power between his normal self and his Dark Passenger. Sometimes the normal self wins, and sometimes it doesn’t. When the Dark Passenger takes control, his world descends into chaos.

While Dexter is an extreme example, I believe that we all have a Dark Passenger. All have a version of the shadow inside of us. It is important to understand what it is capable of. What happens when the darkness takes control of our lives.

I like to think of my Dark Passenger as riding shotgun in the car. Sitting right beside me. I guess that makes him an actual passenger in this case, which means my metaphor is not very creative…

But anyway, he is always there. The shadow is always by my side. Close enough that I am aware of his presence, but far enough away that he doesn’t distort my vision driving forward on the road.

And like a bored passenger on a long road trip, my dark passenger becomes restless. He likes to test his presence every now and then. I will be driving down the road and he changes the radio station. Turns the volume up real loud. Puts the heat on when I want air conditioning. Opens the glove box, scattering napkins and useless papers all over the floor.

When this happens, I treat him like a child. “No Dark Passenger. Hands to yourself.” I slap his hand away as he touches all of the dials and knobs. This is my vehicle. I am the one driving. This is my life…

Now one might think, I will just open the passenger door, and kick out my dark passenger. No hitchhikers on this journey. But it’s not that easy. Because what is the shadow made out of? It is you. And you can’t just get rid of something that is a part of you.

My Dark Passenger is made up of my doubts, fears, anxieties, stress, negative thoughts, and emotions. Darkness lives in me, just as it lives in you. Don’t try to deny it. And definitely don’t hide from it.

Because another thing you might think to do is to place your dark passenger in the backseat. Or maybe even the trunk. Out of sight, out of mind right?

Wrong. Ignoring the shadow provides an opportunity for it to grow unwatched. Because your darkness does not sit idle. It festers and waits. It grows hungry and desperate. And it will take every opportunity to expose your weakness and strike at the most inopportune time. You must not allow it the freedom to move about the cabin.

So I park my Dark Passenger right next to me. And when I wake up each morning, he welcomes me with a greeting, “Are you sure you want to get up today?” A stupid evil grin on his face.

When I type out these thoughts and share them with the world, he is waiting for me, “Your thoughts aren’t original, nobody cares.”

When I come up with new ideas to try and break away from the rat race, he whispers in my ear, “That will never work. Stick to what you know. You are an imposter.”

Over and over again. Every day.

So how do I keep my Dark Passenger from wreaking havoc? From taking control of the steering wheel. Taking control of my life?

When I wake up in the morning, I look him in the eyes. Good morning darkness.

Not today.

And he shrinks back into his seat, temporarily defeated. I look at him. Acknowledge his existence. Respect what the darkness is capable of. Use the shadow as a reference point. A place where you don’t want to go. Because you know that it is real. And unchecked will manifest and become your life.

This is a war. A never-ending battle inside of you at all times. No victory to be obtained. You cannot defeat the shadow inside. You can only keep it at bay. The only sensible thing to do is fight. As you spar with your other side, engaged in a never-ending wrestling match for control, you realize what you are truly capable of. You become more courageous. More confident. You don’t need to listen to the dark passenger anymore.

You tell him, “This is my life. I am taking the reins. You are the one that has to feed off of me. Come to think of it, you are nothing more than a parasite. And like a bug, I will squash you. I am the strong one here.”

Pick up the lantern. Become the torchbearer. Become the beacon of light. Blind the dark passenger. Keep the shadow at bay.

Or else you will descend into the depths of chaos. You will no longer have a passenger riding shotgun. Darkness will be the driver. He will be you.

Who is driving your life? Is it actually you? Or is it Dexter, a few seconds away from unrolling the knives?

Make the choice. Only you decide.

self help

Conner Burton

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Conner Burton
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