I wish I could stop the darkness from settling in each evening. I wish as the sun went down, my guard did not go up. While the world switches its light from on to off, it is like my brain does the same within. As soon as the night settles in, I am unsettled. I am unraveling. I am slowly coming undone.
I could go from having the best day of my life to tears on my bedroom floor in just a matter of minutes.
We are always taught not to be afraid of the dark, but what no one teaches you is how to be comfortable in it. The words “don’t be afraid” are about as helpful as “stop worrying” and “just be happy.” You cannot expect such a simple statement to fully encompass the depths of a feeling.
We are curious beings by nature, and the more you tell us not to fear something, the more we will search for the reason why. Why shouldn’t I be afraid of the dark? What lies there that does not present itself during the day? What could be so bad that it has no choice but to lurk in the shadows until the darkness of the night comes out to comfort it?
In the darkness, my nightmares come out to play. In the darkness, my anxiety caresses my cheek. In the darkness, my PTSD holds my hand, while my anorexia strokes my hair. I am surrounded.
Cold hands are pressing down on my chest, while warm tears burn the insides of my eyelids, desperately seeking refuge on these cheeks.
One reel of images runs through my mind, while another one unfolds around me. Like a projector screen flickering in and out, I do not know when this scene will cut out and the next will begin. Like a CD stuck on repeat on your least favorite part of a song, playing the words you never wanted to hear, over and over and over again. Like a video cassette that someone forgot to rewind after playing it, you are stuck winding through all of the things that hurt you the most, again and again and again.
As if you had not already seen them enough and felt them enough and lived them enough.
And then, you are silent. Broken. Like a cassette tape whose insides have been furiously torn out, you will never be the same again. Nothing makes sense anymore. You are hitting the jukebox, pounding and pounding and pounding, but nothing comes out. It’s not like the movies; your favorite song does not play. The high school heartthrob does not ask you to dance. It is just silent. You are just silent. Everything is silent, but inside you are screaming. Inside your guts are like the cassette tape insides torn to shreds. Inside your mind is just a pile of undeveloped Polaroids and photographs that did not turn out quite right; something is always just a little off. A little too bright. A little too blurry. Everything is always just a little too much.
Your mind isn’t the majestic library of blessed thoughts and happy memories you had always hoped it would be. Your mind is a vast, barren land where redemption looks more like a black hole than the Promised Land. The future looks like going through boxes upon boxes of things and forgetting what it was that you were looking for halfway through. Your mind is an empty attic; it’s all just cobwebs and dust bunnies floating through the air. It is an old leather trunk with a layer of dust an inch thick; and every time you clean it off, it is like you never even cleaned it at all.
My head has never been my friend. There is no home here. There is no comfort or safe space to come home to. There is only chaos. Carefully constructed, constricted areas that snap at the first sign of pressure. That blow over at the slightest breeze. During the daytime, I can keep this chaos at bay. The daylight does its best to cover the darkness, but I know that it can never truly erase it. It will always be back for me.
I have been told that I was the darkness that someone else’s heart needs. How did I become the eclipse casting its darkness over everyone, when all I ever wanted was to be the sun? How did I become what lurks in the shadows, when I have always wanted to run out into the light? At what point, did the darkness consume me? When did we become one?
If I am the darkness that someone else needs, then why am I so afraid of the dark?