Thursday, November 03, 2005

From the shadows...

The theme at Mama Says Om this week is shadows. And, I have had trouble writing this for some reason. Then, I realized why. I don't really like shadows at all, and try to avoid them in my life whenever possible.

Shadows hide things. They are not black and white, but shades of gray. Life is much easier when things are black and white. In the shadows, there are whispers and rumors, lying, and deceit. Shadows are innuendos, secrets, and unclear intentions.

As a young girl, I was painfully shy and shadows provided me a nice place to hide when I was scared or insecure. At parties, it was behind my mother's coattails or in a corner talking only to my sister or a safe friend. And, even today there are moments that I find myself a shy girl still looking for these shadows from which to hide. Because of this, I fear I unintentionally misrepresent myself as a snob or anti-social, when in fact I'm neither. I'm just shy sometimes.

And, in my youth, those same shadows became ghostly figures reaching at me from the dark corners of my closet, keeping me fearfully awake at night and giving me horrible nightmares.

In the shadows, my son is being bullied by a neighbor
who sits across from him in class, laughing when he makes a mistake--the real reason why he's suddenly telling me he's bored with school or feels sick and doesn't want to go.

In my mirror, during insecure moments, I look and see a shadow of myself--struggling still with who I am meant to be in this world, how to learn to love myself more, and how to find a good balance in my life with all the balls I am juggling.

Shadows hide the lies told about addiction. Family members pretending the problem is not there to those on the outside, and the addicted lying about their problem--thinking they are hiding it from everyone's view.

My sister lived in a shadow too, although I never knew it. Behind the scenes and in those shadows, my mother was berating her, using me as a comparison, leading her to have a sort of hatred of me that exists sometimes even still today.

From those shadows recently, I looked up to witness an amused exchange of glances between new friends at my expense--telling me that my closest friend might not be as close as I thought.

In my shadows, there is insecurity, weakness, and self-doubt. There is anger, self-loathing, and jealousy. In their safety, I hide my worries about my health from my kids and my husband. They are the mask I wear to protect myself at times.

I suppose some good things can happen in the shadows as well. Shadows hide secret schoolyard crushes, or even adult ones for that matter. From their depths are surprise parties being planned, friends whispering concerned words of support, little white lies that prevent hurt feelings, and lovers sharing secrets known only to them.

And, when I really think about it, this blog is all about my shadows. It is a place where I can write about the things I hide, open up and just express those feelings of gray somewhere that feels safe and somewhat anonymous. And, the more I write about my shadows, the stronger I become.

With that said, I still prefer to live my life out of the shadows whenever possible. I will walk towards the light and away from the gray looming that reminds me that life is not as simple as black and white.


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