by Cameron Montgomery
I’ve been feeling lately like I don’t know who I am. Like the tracing paper is slightly off the trajectory of the clear and certain lines beneath, faintly showing themselves, or a slightly blurred mirror. I am feeling two-dimensional, slow, bored.
Everything is going great- I have a great relationship and job, I feel productive, I have a book coming out– there is no particular thing weighing me down that I need to change in order to get back on my path of bold crackling witchy creativity.
In between the busyness of everyday life, in my deep realness moments, (like when I’m looking at the stars at night, walking beneath wet trees dripping with rain, or working on a new project) I feel like I am losing touch with who I am.
My grip on self-awareness is slipping away, or holding onto something former. I thought that maybe this feeling came from some prosaic thing like getting older, even though I have always believed that age is just a number. Maybe my seasons are changing and I am on the cusp of some adulty shifty thing.
The thing is, I really clearly remember who I was. I am deeply familiar with who I used to be. I remember that girl’s intensity, always doing bizarre and eccentric things, always bleeding a little for some reason or other. Burning like hot coals.
Now I am always using my head, with my heart as advisor and my guts are in exile. I used to follow my guts, that deep dark churning purple place inside of myself, with my heart cheering me on and my head cleaning up any messes that needed cleaning along the way.
These days I am feeling a little upside down.
Today I realized that I have lost touch with my dark self.
I have spent so long being good and standing toward the light that I have neglected the deep and dark wells of self where my creativity comes from. My head always makes the ‘good’ choices. My head gets all the gold stars. My head keeps my heart safe and manages my guts into invisibility.
The light also makes you small. In the light, you are a two-dimensional portrait walking down safe streets with a smile, just a fraction of your whole self. In the dark, there is the small part you see, and the vast infinite darkness propelling you, the forever unclear memories, dreams and desires weaving your existence.
Making ‘good’ art is not a bad thing. But when my art comes from my weaknesses, repressed dreams, humiliating fears, instincts, ‘perversions’, inner chaos and honest desires, it is more real, more rich, and just better in general.
When I was in India studying Jain monks, I learned about the Right Hand and Left Hand paths.
To simplify the complex history and context of the Jain way of thinking about it, the Right path is about saying ‘No’. Getting rid of your attachments, your petty material possessions, your fixation on toxic relationships, your addictions to alcohol, food, intimacy, perfection (whatever your poison) is a great way to see that when you die these things will not help you deal with whatever is next.
The Left path is essentially immersion in the socially unacceptable to transcend the social. It means saying yes yes YES. Burning up like a bright star. Both paths lead to recognition and acceptance of the existential truth of our eventual deaths in this life. Both paths are supposed to connect us with Source.
My guts are always saying yes yes YES. The more I say no, the blurrier the mirror becomes.
My dark self is a fertile garden where my creative seeds germinate in murky mystery. The endless possibilities of what they will become is thrilling. It’s time I worked on cultivating wholeness.
Today I am remembering to turn the fear of this powerful creative place into excitement, charging my creative batteries, fuelling my dreams and desires.
My dark side is an old cherished friend. It’s time we reconnected.
About the Author
Cameron is an artist and part-time prof working away on a witchy PhD. She is a celebrant (weddings, memorials, baby namings!) and a lover of all magical celebrations. You can visit her blog at https://willfulandwayward.wordpress.com/.
Show Comments (4)
Aaaand BAM synchronicity strikes again! This resonated with me in a way that would spook me…IF I hadn’t been talking about this -exact same thing- to about five other people in the last week. Sometimes it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the good things, all the forward momentum and positive affirmations and future selves that–! Our secret shadow selves find new (creative!) ways to remind us that yes, we are more than what we present to the world and yes, our wholeness means engaging ALL aspects of our selves, even ones that scare the shit out of us. Cognitive dissonance, dissociation, I could go on FOREVER on this so let me just say:
Lovely imagery, lovely style, lovely reminder to cultivate darker flames — love love love love love!
So glad you dig it! ;)
I only just now see your comment, and this is, of course, for a reason. I needed to hear those words! Thank you for the affirmation! Sending you dark loveliness! xox
This article mirrors Dante’s journey in the divine comedy – he has to go to meet Beatrice in Heaven but has to journey through hell and purgatory first. Essentially – ‘the way up is down.’