But, I Thought You Were Happy?

I am, but that doesn’t mean the Dark Shadow doesn’t come to try to draw me away from time to time, to tempt me with the sweet sense of calm, of oblivion, of nothingness.

For weeks now, the Dark Shadow has been stalking me, reaching its tendrils out to latch onto me and drag me ever closer to the edge. I’ve resisted, as I always do, but for the first time in a very long time, I have stared over the edge, into the abyss. Last night, in fact, I leaned over.

Sitting in the bath, Bat Out of Hell II playing in the background, tears coursing down my cheeks, the voices urging me on; I stared into the water, my face millimetres from the surface, and I wanted desperately to know what it would feel like to inhale that lavender-scented water into my lungs. Would it be painful, as they say? Would my body reject it or, would it do as it was told and yield? To quieten the voices, to calm the storm, to close the doors on the world – this is what the Dark Shadow was offering me.

But as my nose disappeared beneath the surface, a tiny voice whispered, ‘help me’. This voice grew stronger and stronger until I realised it wasn’t inside my head. I was speaking. I was uttering those two life-altering words out loud. I was finally asking the universe for help. I was acknowledging that I couldn’t defeat the Dark Shadow alone.

I cannot predict when or, largely, why the Dark Shadow comes, but I have, over the years, learned to recognise its presence. It’s a weight in my chest, a veil over my eyes, a cloud blocking my thoughts. But, more than anything, it’s the voices in my head; not the ones who craft my stories, but the ones who want to remind me of my station – you’re not good enough, your writing is crap, you have no talent, you’re getting old, you’re ugly, you’ve got no boobs, you’ll get fat if you eat that, no one loves you, no one will miss you, what’s the point in you. These were the voices forcing my face under the water, these were the voices who very nearly won this time, but for that voice that spoke out, that inner strength of which I am most proud, and asked for help.

I cannot tell you exactly how long it took following my plea, but I do know that before I went to bed, I felt a little lighter, and when I woke up this morning, I saw a sliver of light through the darkness.

What pulled me back from the edge? Did the universe intervene, and my guides stop me? Did my own willpower suddenly cause me to dig in my heels to prevent my fall? Or, was it a combination of both? Whatever, or whoever, it was, I am grateful.

I believe it is some of the traits that are good about me that make me vulnerable to the Dark Shadow. My compassion, my empathy, and my vivid imagination, all contribute to my greatest weakness. The state of the world right now – climate change, wildfires, animals in peril, the farce that is Brexit, the hatred, disrespect and vileness of the human race – have all been too much. And, once the chink in my armour is exposed, the voices begin. Where do those voices come from, though?

For me, the voices come from inside, fed and nurtured by my interactions with the world, filtered through my fragile confidence, to become something more than they initially were.

Listening as I am told I should wear makeup and dress up more, that a real writer writes every day and sells thousands of books, that I should write romance or erotic fiction not that rubbish you write, that I shouldn’t watch the films and shows I do, that I should socialise more, that I shouldn’t fall in love so easily, that I shouldn’t pin my future on a pipe dream, that I shouldn’t be interested in the stuff I am as it means something is wrong with me, mentally.

Hearing that I am not good enough, that I am not pretty enough, that no one will love me, that I’m not worth being with, that I am a failure, that my writing is rubbish and I am wasting my time, that my creativity is a joke, that my dreams are a delusion, that no one will want someone like me, that I am broken.

Listening vs hearing – a daily battle that I know isn’t unique to me. Most of the time, I can block out the voices, but sometimes they take over, and occasionally, like last night, they almost win.

But on this, for me, most auspicious of full moons, it is time for me to ignore the voices and to shout out those things of which I am most proud, for Aries is insisting that I do just that.

I salute my resilience, my tenacity, and my strength, for they have helped me battle the abuse, the heartbreak, and the misfortunes life has thrown my way, and have made me the strong, determined, independent woman I am today.

I worship at the altar of my creativity, for allowing my dark imagination to run wild, to create memorable worlds and unforgettable characters, to share my dark tales with the world, to help troubled souls find hope, and to keep me out of jail.

I relinquish my soul to my compassion and empathy, to that part of me which cares about the planet and the wildlife upon it, that carries the guilt and shame of generations for what mankind has done.

I am humbled by my bravery as I stand up to those who hurt me, and to take the steps I need to, to see myself as others do – my body for its beauty, my mind for its fascinating capabilities – to change my life on nothing but self-belief, to forge ahead, alone, in this uncertain world.

It is through these traits, and by recognising when I need help and accepting it, that I have created this wonderful life, for which I feel very blessed. I own my own home, I run my own business, I am a successful author, I am a respected yoga teacher, I am a DJ, I rely on no one but myself, and I have people who care about me. I write dark and twisted stories and I believe in the dark and twisted fairy tales. One day, my prince will come. Until then, I will continue to live.

To sit here and write these positive things about myself has been extremely difficult, especially with the Dark Shadow still hovering, and there are things I didn’t write, as I felt they sounded conceited, which I am not. But, as Aries rules this October full moon, it is my duty to shout out about myself, because if I don’t or can’t do it, how will anyone else?

For those of you with your own Dark Shadow, like me, know you are not alone, and believe that when you ask for help, you will receive it; just be open to it.

May fear protect you when the darkness come.

’Til next time.