The Shadows & The Sun
[5 minute read]
"You need to spend time crawling alone through shadows
to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun." ― Shaun Hick
Last year felt something like that; crawling alone in the shadows...
I often find it hard to articulate how I feel in spoken word; I've always been more confident dancing inside and out of the walls to written ones. I woke up this morning with an urgency to write. In fact, it was in those barely-there moments before waking that I heard my own voice speak to me.
It's as if my subconscious knows I'm about to wake and urgently speaks with lots of "!!!!!". Always tieing her last words to what's left of my fading company, sending me with her messages into the waking world. She tends to do this often and precisely at this time.
"Create, create, create!" She yelled, her voice sounding more hallow in the seconds that passed. "Not just editing, you need to WRITE!". I sat up quickly, my 6-pound ball of soft fur jolting up next to me, ready to ask any possible intruders for a belly rub.
"I'm going to start writing again," I said to him out loud.
Allow me to formally introduce myself....again.
Hello, I'm Kalyn, just with less camera equipment and more verbiage. I'm assuming most eyeballs that land on this page followed a map that came from knowing me through coffee cups or velvety b-roll, so it's odd to introduce myself like this. Some of you may have met this version of me in the pages of #FEELS, through Carson Wallace's voice, or in heart-poured pages danced on by elephants. If so, I welcome you back to the inside of my brain. Feel free to grab a warm beverage and cookie from the table at the back and take a seat amongst one of the blankets and yoga mats provided in the landscapes of my mind. Here, you'll find me lacing together the prettiest words I know to describe the ever-fleeting feeling of what it is to be awake and alive. Because we are, and to be honest, my hyper-conscious awareness of that is what drove me to ever begin writing in the first place.
The beauty of posting here is that I can care less about grammar and punctuation and more about pouring my unfiltered thoughts out like digital ink to screen paper. It's my goal to be as honest and vulnerable in these online open journals as possible. I've felt very few safe places most of my life, so it goes without saying, I'm mighty protective over the few I do have. Yet, at the same time, I can't help but feel like no matter how many different channels I work through, I'm always tugged to come back to the written word. Lately, following those intuitive tugs has been a focus of mine. And I'll be honest... it's hard to sit here and write without a topic or narrative to stick to because I know there's nothing to hide behind other than real and raw emotion... my Pisces specialty.
Here's the thing, one of the inevitable truths of this human life is pain. I've done my fair share at trying to avoid it, tuck it away, hide it like it doesn't exist, or stay silent about it in hopes no one could see it bubbling under the surface of my skin. The only thing about avoiding pain is it only demands your attention that much more.
I don't want to drown out and complain, but I feel like some darkness needs to be shared to normalize the experience of feeling that pain. No matter the generation you look to or the unique people you find, no one who has lived on this earth has done so painlessly. While our tolerance and perspectives on pain may differ, one of the many deep ties that hold all of us together is our inevitable experience of pain. I know I can't speak for everyone, but it really seems like 2020-2021 is an era of cracking that humbling truth wide open.
I don't think I've ever felt as much pain in my heart as I have in these last twelve months. Pain for the world, pain for those I love, pain for all the loss, change, and things left broken. I feel it in my heart, in my bones, in my soul, and yet somehow, at the same time, I also feel these fleeting moments of bliss that somewhat baffle me. Something as simple as bursting into laughter with a warm soul, dazzling under the countless stars keeping us company in the midnight sky or feeling the spread of a smile cross my face when my dog rests his head against me. It's like being cracked wide open again but in an entirely different way. I'm not sure if that's subject to the sorrow that's made way for such serendipitous joy, but bliss points seem to be hitting deeply and differently this year.
There's this duality of darkness to light playing tug-of-war through-out our entire life experience. It's easy to question the beauty of it all when the world seems lost, the skies fold grey, or the answers come up puzzling. To crawl in the shadows, struggling to remember that a time will come to stand up tall and stretch within the rays of our sun again. Trying to hold all your pieces together for fear you might completely unravel if you let yourself see the pain for what it really is...
When we lose our light from casted shadows, leaving us lost in the dark trying to find our way back home, life can seem scary. No matter how many times we get lost, it's easy to forget that some lesson needs to be learned so we can find the light again. It's even easier to forget when those lessons need to be learned globally.
So let it take you, let it break you, let it heal you, let it in.
Suppose that my heart wasn't cracked wide open this year... I'm not sure I would feel confident in my capacity to fully understand and comprehend the depth of feelings that come in those contrasting moments under the sun. I'm not sure I would be able to float like a feather or carry all this light inside had I not made room by digging through the dark. Every time a new wave comes crashing down, I get better at letting it take me. I feel the weight of the world carry me away with the tide, knowing I'm only mapping new layers of life to be felt. If my heart had not been cracked open wide, I'm not sure I would be doing the necessary softening and opening up needed to accept the truth of a world in need of change. I'm not sure I would understand the importance of the souls we dream with, minds we explore with, and hearts we're gifted keys to.
I know this last year has been challenging for so many, but I can only hope that we are growing that much stronger for every ounce of resistance and challenge we face. We need more light, we need more love, and just like how breaking down our muscles makes them stronger; the same goes with our society, systems, hearts, and the world at large.
Don't let the damage shake you, but let it shape you. Don't let the pain shut you down; let it wake you up. Don't let the darkness drown out your ability to be a light. For every ounce of pain you feel, you're able to experience that much more love. For every loss you take, you're one step closer to your next win. For every shadow you crawl through, you're that much closer to the sun.
And until that happens, you're welcome to stay huddled here in this internet corner for warmth. There's a community of kind hearts here that connect with you, even if you can't see them. And I promise to keep doing my best to lift your face back up to the sun.
Your internet friend,
** Written July 7th 2020, re-worked February 25th 2021 **