31 August 2011

Darkness: The Fight

This is my fourth "Write on Wednesday" post.

I've found the others less personal, more fictional, but this one is a story from my life- it's all about being honest, telling a 100% truth, but I don't have to tell everything.

One thing I've found about my story--well, many of my stories--is that there are elements of "me" that are always secret. Truth be told, the truth is always told, but there are some secrets- we all have secrets. What's made part of everything such a fight for me, though, lies within my secrets, the demons that haunt me, and the trouble with writing this exercise, the 100% truth, is that I might find myself slipping into the things that I may not want to share, or that may not be easy to share. It's not so much a thing of openness, as a thing of security and worry about how it will affect my future. However, it may be healthy to air it a little and see how it feels. I've opened up on other forums- time to open up slightly here.

The darkness is encapsulating. It's like nothing I've ever seen before. In the years before, I've been able to hide in it well, pretend it's not there, and nobody would notice. Family, "friends," schoolmates, most of my former coworkers, they were all oblivious to the darkness that surrounded me and the fight that I fought, or if not, they asked nothing of it. In my teen years, it was less encapsulating, easier to hide. I could put a curtain around it, a façade of sorts, and nobody would know. In college, I would talk about it, but nobody would believe it- after all, I seemed so well for so long, why would it all of the sudden change?

These days, though, it is not as easy. Life has become more of a challenge in itself. As I push myself harder, fight harder, the darkness is becoming deeper. I want out of this darkness; I can no longer hide it, but I have found that in the time I spent hiding it, it's become so much deeper, it's extended to a depth that I can't escape, I'm holding on but I can't fight and hold on at the same time. I want to do this on my own, I don't want anyone to know, but I can't. There's nowhere to escape, nowhere to hide, nothing to put in front of this darkness to make it go away or make it smaller. It has become bigger than I am, and in itself, taken over my life.

To someone on the outside, it's hard to see or understand the darkness or the reason for it. I should be happy, by all means. I have nothing to be unhappy about. You're right. I have a family. I have a home. I have food, and I have clothing. I went to, and graduated from, a major university. I have all the things a person could want, and then some. Plenty of books, a nice room decorated the way I want it, a personal laptop, a nice smartphone, my sock monkey, a sister whom I love to death, my physical health (not perfect, but close enough), no huge personal losses...what is there to be unhappy about? Where does the darkness come from?

I don't know where the darkness comes from. It's something I can't explain. It'll leave me crying at unexplained times, and it left me fighting my way through college. I fight the darkness every time I have to go somewhere, every time I have to do something when I am feeling the darkness weigh down on me. I wake up to face the day and all I want to do is close my eyes again and forget, stop fighting, let the darkness take over and consume me; it's what I've wanted for so many years, but I continue to fight.

Nevertheless, I carry on with the darkness, no matter how much it's weighing on me, and I try not to let it affect me. I've done well at carrying it through everything, and even getting a degree with the darkness inches from me. In the end of my college days, I even started pulling my grades up, finishing the last 2 years with more As than I saw in my first 4 years. It's a rough fight, an endless fight, and even more so fighting alone. In college, I found a way to get someone to fight with me, but now, I'm on my own. It's an uphill battle.

One thing, one last thing that I must share- the darkness is the reason I fight. If it were not for the darkness, I would not know what I am fighting for, and I may not be where I am today. The darkness gives me a reason to fight, and it helps me to fight. It helps me to know about the people I am fighting for, and it pushes me to fight harder. I know what it's like to fight this fight. I know what it's like to be in the darkness, and I fight it every day. To know that the fight I go through every day could save someone's life? That is something that makes the fight even more worthwhile. I don't enjoy the darkness, not a bit, but I know that the darkness has taught me a lesson that can used to help someone else, and has given me more strength and taught me more than any textbook or professor could. I'm not thankful for the darkness, but I'm thankful for the insights and perspective it's added to my life. It's made me a better person, and it's given me direction. Most of all, even though I have to fight through the darkness to get there, it's given me something to fight for.

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 12 - The Fight. You have to be honest, because without honesty, your work won't speak to people. You have to be fearless, because restraint in writing can be perceived. But that doesn't mean that you have to bare your entire soul. Choose what you want to share, choose what is relevant to your story. But make sure that what you choose to share is real, and true. The exercise today is to write a story from your life. And remember: it has to be 100% true, but it doesn't have to be 100% of the truth. There's a difference. The keywords are: The Fight

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12 comments:

Judy Haughton-James said...

Hello Ashley,
This is so touching. Keep on fighting and never give up. I have been through a very difficult time since 2008 when my identical twin sister Janine died. We had almost 47 years together. Some days are good and other days I feel down and out. I call it the roller coaster ride of being twinless. However I have been fighting on and doing everything possible to lift my spirit and look back at the good times we had. I am a new follower from the Give A Hoot Wednesday Blog Hop. Take care and my best wishes to you.
Judy from Jamaica

Kerry said...

Ashley, this is both compelling and sad. You had me hooked until the end with every word. There are so many others who feel exactly as you do. I love the ending, and that you will always continue fighting through it. Nice writing.

♥α§ђ£ε¥™♥ said...

You guys have made me cry. Thank you so much for your touching responses. <3

Finding a skinnier me said...

I have experienced my own moments in the darkness. So much emotion, raw, naked emotion. Though this piece was hard to read because of the darkness, it was a well written and a great piece. Continue fighting.

Claudia Crowley said...

Ashley, for goodness sake get some antidepressants. Sorry I'm crass, but I've had a bunch of depressive episodes and wouldn't wish that on anybody. And I think I did more personal development when I was OK than when I was depressed.

You _are_ a good writer. Please keep on!
CC

♥α§ђ£ε¥™♥ said...

This really is about what I've fought and not necessarily where I stand right now, CC. Not to say things are perfect, this was just something I hadn't talked much about before.

asampler said...

Well, as a person who has fought the darkness of depression, only to find it slinking back in, I was very moved by your piece. Thanks for sharing this, would've been tough.
J x

K.D. Storm said...

You have my respect, prayers, and cheers. Sometimes we have to go to a dark place in order to come out where the light is to thrive.

B said...

From FYB Link-Up: Holy Batman! I posted a very similar post on Wednesday! I am coming out of the darkness at the moment- thank heavens. My husband told me not to link up my "Please Excuse the Elephant' post, he said it would be too much information for a new audience {first link-up today *blush*}. But - here you are - a brave and eloquent soul sharing your struggle.

Bless you for sharing, it isn't easy huh? But, it is out there, and it will help people AND it will help YOU! Go Girlfriend!

♥α§ђ£ε¥™♥ said...

I was hoping that it would help at least one person out there...that was my intention. It was hard for me to write, to talk about, openly, but I did it because I knew that it would one day come out. I've been blogging for almost a year now (come Sunday) and linking for a bit, so I felt I should spill. There are sprinklings of it here and there anyway. I know I'm not the only one- I just hope that this helps someone realise they're not alone.

Sif said...

I love that the darkness is both what you fight and what inspires you to fight! It's a complex thing! Fascinating!

InkPaperPen said...

Good on you for opening up and writing about something so difficult. I find it amazing that it is the darkness that you fight but the darkness that inspires you to do so... Just amazing. Hope you found the exercise worthwhile. You are very brave x

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