Does sitting in the dark make you uncomfortable?

I posted a new poem on Instagram this week and I noticed it didn’t get as many likes as some of my previous poetry posts have.

Granted, I did post it at midnight (right after I wrote it) and perhaps the folks on Instagram didn’t like the poem (that’s ok too). But I wondered whether the reason that people didn’t like it, was because the subject matter is quite dark.

Have a read for yourself…

I’m not getting up today
Sometimes I wish I wasn’t here
Peel my skin and see the blood and bone within
Feeling nothing
Where’s the life in this decrepit shell
Feeling nothing
Desolate as hell
I wonder what the fuck this life’s about
I shout I cry I scream
no words come out
I feel nothing but the ache of weighted scars
And poison arrows in my heart
They tell of pain and ritualistic suffering on altars of my own creation
Of tears and weeping
I drown in selfless adulation
Until I realise
that’s my skin I peeled
left to shrivel on the bathroom floor
I can’t hide from my recriminations
They stare back inside this broken tomb of lifeless dreams and buzzards
Blaring down to tell me
You are nothing
You are nothing
And I believe it
I believe it
Because it’s easier than getting up today.

Now someone reading this may think that I was writing about myself, but the inspiration was much broader than my own thoughts, however disturbing.

In the past few days I have had conversations with a number of people I’m close to about that part of us that seeks to sabotage us and keep us down.

While the intelligent, logical part of us knows what’s happening, the emotional part (the place where fear resides) takes over sometimes and we can fall into apathy or despair.

When it’s really dark and heavy we get stuck – some of us for a day, others for a few months or years, and others for a lifetime.

There seems to be growing epidemic of depression, anxiety, mental illness and chronic pain that is tormenting our society.

I think this needs expression. We need to open it up to the light. To paint about it, write about, sing about it, speak about it. So we know we are not alone in it.

Creation is the antidote to despair – Elizabeth Gilbert

In her inspiring interview with the founder of TED Chris Anderson, Eat Pray Love and Big Magic author, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her experience of grief and creativity.

After losing ‘the love of her life’ Rayya Elias in January this year, Liz needed to finish her latest book City of Girls which is a light hearted tale of women in the 1940s exploring their sexuality.

So in the midst of her great sadness and loss she said she struggled to find the energy – her vitality – to write the book. But what she had forgotten is that her vitality comes from the act of being willing to show up for her creative work. And the more she showed up and the more she wrote, the more her vitality grew, and the more she healed herself and restored herself to who she is meant to be.

She says ‘the creation for me is the antidote to despair’ and she says she is ‘willing to feel whatever needs to be felt’ – grief, sorrow, rage, pain – to not fall into depression. Because ‘depression is the absence of feeling’.

Liz says the point of creation is to see what you will become through the art of creating. And what you create is not as important as what you become through your creation.

So, yes, this poem is dark. But I think it seeks to shine a light on the darkness; to allow it to be seen and to say to others sitting in the dark, ‘I get it’. In some way, I get it. I’ve been there. Sometimes I am there. And to allow my own creative expression of the darkness to allow me to heal so I don’t have to stay there. So I can step into the light.

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