I was standing outside smoking (I know, I know) late the other night. The moon was in the sky casting a surreal glow on everything. The light was muted by the time it reached my backyard and therefore made everything cast these wicked shadows.
I turned around and saw a shadow on the side of the house. For just a moment my heart hammered in my chest. It was a head, shoulders and very tall. I stood staring at the shadow. It was so big and at an angle that someone had to be standing behind my greenhouse, right? Wrong. It was me. A funky trick of the light.
It occurred to me that I was afraid of my own shadow... that made me giggle a bit. How cliche, right? But an interesting thought.
As I write about Mela Malone and her scary and magical journey I have dealt with a lot of my own fears and prejudices along the way. Her teacher and mentor's name is Sammuele. He has embodied the duality of man, so to speak. He has potential for greatness and darkness. It is his choices that makes him who and what he is. He chooses to help Mela. He chooses to use his abilities (power) in certain situations and in others he doesn't. Why?
He, like us, fears himself . Not our whole selves but that piece within all of us that has the potential to do bad things.
I think we are all capable of doing horrible things - just watch the news. But we are also capable of greatness. Fear can make us choose one way or another. Fear of action, or complacency, can create a horrible situation. Fear and the wrong action can create an even worse situation.
How to sort through that though?
Acceptance of fear. Faced with decisions that produce any amount of fear can make me run on "autopilot". I will look back on a situation and think, "That was such a stupid thing to do." Had I a handle on my fears, embraced and accepted them, I could have categorized my emotions and made better decisions. Is that even possible? Perhaps with time. Master of your own feelings and all that seems a silly thing but I look around and see people making decisions, followed by knee-jerk reactions, based out of fear. Fear of rejection, betrayal, pain and of the unknown.
On the flip side of that - understanding why people do things to you is just as important. I try (Note: I said try.) to sort through why a person is doing something that negatively effects me. Like I have said before, I think people are genuinely good. But fear induced actions create fear induced reactions. Ugly cycle that.
Fear is natural and should be given it's due. To have no fear would be a monstrous thing. Recognizing it, owning it and not letting it rule our decisions or reactions would make us more open to the goodness in people. Thus, shedding some light on what we interpret as darkness in people.
In my case, instead of assuming some unknown man was lurking behind my greenhouse waiting to pounce on me - I should have considered the obvious. My knee-jerk reaction was fear and my little heart just went to hammering.
It was just my "dark side" come out to play in the moonlight and teach me a lesson. My dark side is there and as long as I accept it, own it and recognize it for what/who it is then all is well.