Dancing In The Dark

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography

Many of us live in darkness, a place where the sun doesn’t ever shine and you forget what the sun is. It can feel like you are in an ocean, in pitch-black darkness, waves crashing around you, and sharks everywhere. Some don’t even see the waves, they live in pitch-black darkness and stillness, because, you see, the waves, although scary looking and treacherous, can take you somewhere if you can just hold on tight to your raft, it can keep you moving. The waves are scary but do present opportunity and hope that may not be so visible, especially in the darkness, and those waves seem so harsh and dangerous, but to get across to safety you have to go through that danger. To reach a level of comfort, you have to feel discomfort. People are afraid of those waves because they might sweep them away, which is a very valid point. But you don’t have to ride the waves and build your raft alone, people can help you, they can help steer that raft, help build a strong foundation for that raft to help you reach a point where you can see hope, you can see the light shining in the horizon. But remember, don’t let too many people on your raft, because too much weight can make that raft sink. Too many opinions and ideas can make you feel like you’re drowning, you don’t know what to do. So keep it small, trained professionals, like a psychologist, and a few trusted people, not a random fish you caught, cause that fish that you’re reeling in could be a vicious shark.

Some people dance in the dark, they cope with the darkness by using drugs or self-harm. These things will only make the darkness stretch further, while you see the artificial light for a few hours, the reality is that the more you play in the dark, the deeper you dive into it, and you want to keep finding that artificial light, so you walk deeper and deeper into the darkness chasing that fake light. Many people wonder why some people self-harm. When we feel emotional pain, the same area of the brain is activated as when we are physically in pain. So think of it like this, people who self-harm are doing so because that physical pain temporarily reduces emotional pain. But self-harm is never the answer, no matter how dark it is. Just like drugs, it is a temporary fix, but people get trapped in that state of mind, it’s difficult to escape something that provides you relief. But to anyone out there that self-harms to cope, know that there are healthy grounding techniques that have the same effect, such as a cold shower, splashing your face with cold water, and many other ways of healthy physical pain that ground you.

One way to put it would be to “Dance in the Water” (a song by Danny Brown). You’re lying to yourself if you think you can “dance in the water and not get wet”. If you end up in that lifestyle of dancing in the water in the dark, you’re bound to get wet and not see it, but you’re convinced you can get away with dancing in the water and leaving dry because you can’t see and that water seems refreshing at first. The longer you dance in the water in that darkness, the more it’ll soak you. It’s a dangerous dance because as you’re dancing, the water splashes on to you, weighing you down, so you have to dance harder because of that extra weight, and dancing harder means bigger splashes, eventually, the splashes will reach the top of your head, you’ll be completely soaked and weighed down in the dark waters, and now you’re not dancing for fun anymore, you’re dancing to save yourself from drowning. Overdose and extreme suicidal thoughts are usually the results. I know it’s not a perfect analogy, but it makes sense.

Some people dance in the dark waters together, which can lead to a very steep decline and being engulfed in darkness because it seems so much more fun when you dance with someone else, rather than by yourself, so you take things further. More people dancing in the water together makes more splashes, everyone is weighing everyone else down. It can also make it more difficult to stop dancing in the dark waters because you don’t know what the other person or people are thinking, you’re afraid of losing them, and you might think that if you stop dancing, they will leave you. But, often times the same thoughts will be going on in others’ minds but no one has the guts to speak up. It’s difficult to read minds, especially when you are blind in the dark, or blinded by that bright artificial light, that’s why it’s so important to have communication, to have serious talks because most of the time they will also feel the same way, it’s just that no one speaks up.

Many people think that the darkness is their comfort zone, this is because they’ve been in the dark for so long, it’s all we know and the concept of light seems delusional like it doesn’t exist. It’s like they’re hiding behind the moon where the sun doesn’t shine. They hear voices in their head, but they can’t see where that voice is coming from because of the darkness. Because we can’t tell where those thoughts are coming from, we tend to believe them because it’s all we hear in our minds. It’s like we need more darkness to feed the darkness in us, so we do things that make us unhappy. The truth is they aren’t actually comfortable in the darkness, the dark tortures them daily and they want to leave, but everywhere they look, all they see is darkness and no escape, so they say “what’s the point, there’s no hope.” People that have lost all hope can be hard to convince that there is light, and we have to be their guiding light, their torch, or even drag them out, and take the steps for them. Get that person professional help, and talk them up. Some sit and walk in the dark together, and that can be great because to one person the other person can look like a guiding light, even if that other person only sees darkness. Sometimes we see light in other peoples’ lives, but can’t see it in our own lives. That makes us feel like we’re alone, “there’s no one out there like me.” But that’s far from the truth. People are great at masquerading. Often times that light you see in other people is just a mask to cover the darkness in them. Not everyone is as bright and joyful as they make it out to be. Personally, I act like a clown around people to mask my issues, but that doesn’t make things better, it does the opposite, I realized I was neglecting the problems I had. Speaking up was soo difficult at the beginning. It’s scientifically proven that initially speaking up about traumas and mental health issues increases anxiety but after the initial phase the level of anxiety starts to decrease and it becomes easier to talk about your issues. I used to be embarrassed about the way I felt, but now I know it’s a health issue just like any other, and I can talk about it with a lot less anxiety.

Some forget who they are, they’ve lost their identity, they don’t feel like they fit in anywhere, and they feel lost in the dark. You have to lose yourself to find yourself. Walk through the darkness and feel the emotions, go insane, but make sure you can come back from that insanity, back to the light after you’ve found your real self, the person in you that was lost deep in the darkness, and bring that person out to show the world. I saw an interview with someone who said, “It’s ok to go insane, just make sure you come back.” and I agree with that 100%. Emotions are feelings, and a feeling is called a feeling because it’s meant to be felt, whether a good feeling or a bad one. Sometimes those emotions drive us insane, but it’s important to experience that insanity because then you will know how to handle distressing situations in the future.

When you wake up in the morning, your eyes are sensitive to the light, you don’t want a bright light shining on your eyes, a dim lamp is better to adjust to the light. It’s the same with life, don’t rush into the light because it can feel unfamiliar, it can be too much to handle. So take the steps slowly, patience is key, sounds cliche but it’s true. To someone engulfed in darkness, everyone else looks like they’re full of light, and sometimes those people who appear to be full of light say or do things that hurt us more than usual, it’s because we’ve been in the dark so long that we become sensitive to the light, we’re trapped in darkness. It takes time to adjust to a normal life where there is light. Many of us try to escape the dark, but no matter how hard we try, it feels like we aren’t getting any further, in fact, we’ve slipped deeper into the darkness because of the frustration. Hopelessness increases. Take it slow, the wounds will repair, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you if you want that wound mended, or if you want to stay in the apparent comfort of the darkness.

There is always hope, and that hope helps us grow. When people lose hope, they don’t see the point in doing anything, we can become very apathetic. But know that there are so many people who have been in that extremely dark place and made it out into the light. The clouds still come and go and it might rain and get a bit dark sometimes, but the sun will shine after. Hope sparks growth.

Some positive and hopeful lyrics from the late Mac Miller:

“I know we try
And the days, they go by
Until we get old
There’s water in the flowers, let’s grow
People, they lie
But hey, so do I
Until it gets old
There’s water in the flowers, let’s grow”

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