from my archives: here's the light

{While I'm in Thailand, I am republishing favorite posts from my archives every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This post was originally published 7/17/12.}

and behind me, here's my shadow.

we think we can hide the things that lurk. we can't. we can make friends with them, but they're there.

i have walked away a hundred times. and i will walk away again.

this is part of me, the walking away. i have deep empathy, but the shadow side of empathy is when it's run out, it's over. i walk away and what is left behind is nothing to me anymore (except pain, sometimes, which is very much something). sometimes walking away is the right thing.

but sometimes i walk away for no good reason at all.

that's the shadow side.

and life does this back to me. i can see it, every time a friend stops calling. this is what i do, too, and so my life mirrors it back to me. they stop calling. move on. it hurts. i know it hurts but i do it anyway. walking away is easier than calling and saying why you are upset.

the shadow side of being incredibly brave is being incredibly cowardly.

all the things that make me me, the passion, the intensity, the colorfulness: the shadow side of that is anger. temper tantrums since i can remember. they get easier to derail as i get older. they get easier to ride out, but there they are. i didn't outgrow them when everyone else did. they stayed with me, because my passion stayed with me. i cannot shuffle my way through life bored. everything is vibrant and beautiful and amazing, and i am deeply invested (until i'm not. another shadow side of passion is depression). this is who i am.

shadows aren't evil. they aren't even bad, unless we try to deny them and in doing so make them larger than life. we are all human.

i've been thinking a lot about this as i head to my reunion.

who i was in high school was someone who wanted to be so sure of herself, but wasn't. someone who wanted to not care what everyone else thought, but did.

but over the years, i have worked and worked and been rubbed raw in the working.

i am becoming myself, the me i wanted to be. (i have written poems to that effect.)

the shadow side of wanting to be so self-assured that i don't care about what anyone else cares is not caring. have i exceeded that point? i am not sure. i've lost another close friend this year. she stopped calling. this time i'm just not quite as hurt as the first hundred times it happened.

or maybe i just recovered faster because the wound had already been opened many times before.

i don't know.

i don't think it will keep me up at night, either (though i have lost sleep over the loss of this friendship, or what feels like loss). but i am over it. i have walked away.

i have walked away a hundred times and i will walk away again.

sometimes, there's nothing else to do.