When we encounter our shadows, the darker, well-deep, less comfortable parts of ourselves, the bits we wish we could forget when we’re cozy snug in this life, when we’re sitting by the fire sipping something warm in the cool of autumn…
When we encounter our shadows, it’s all too tempting to sip harder and faster, or simply to run. Run harder and faster and away. Anything to distract from being consumed by our own darkness. But we can also choose bravery. We can turn to the darkness and we can acknowledge it as ours. We may then begin to own it, and see it for what it is.
Because all our darkness is, at its root, another bit of ourselves to integrate and learn from.
meals with our shadows
i was famished and you fed me.
i met you, you fed me from the beginning.
at first you bathed me, gently ferociously in heat and mystery, you offered me nourishment in the form of distraction.
at first you bathed me from a distance, your eyes drank in the most private parts of me, i offered them to you freely and without thought to the future. you watched me from a screen somewhere and we finished fiercely with our eyes and our hands.
but later. later. i saw you. i touched those same hands on hot city streets and the wonder. it dissipated but the fire began. the fire we started in stagnant darkness, from nothingness, the fire of the eighth day. a biblical fire of epic proportion.
later. you fed me with fire. your words sliced me along meridians i’d never explored, my guts spilled endlessly into your calloused hands. you spoke boiling flaming fear into the open prairies of my body, you formed once-sharp cells into dull and quivering scythes.
later. i weakened and you fed me with fear. you fed it to me in torched teaspoons, you gripped my lips and forced them inside. you fed my own nightdark medicine i’d brewed in secret. you fed it back to me. you worked black magic. you stewed a brew of darkness fermenting from our carefully curated fear. you worked it into a furious lather to bathe me with. and forcibly. you fed me and bathed me and
later. you clothed me laughingly in our trangressions. you sewed me carefully, even lovingly, into a garment constructed from the itchy, fragmented yarn woven intricately from years of hidden sin. on the outside it—and i—sparkled golden in the dancing light of the morning but inside, in the waning light of evening, we shone raw and fractured and unmasked. but later. later you clothed me and you asked me to dance in front of the fire and beat the drum of retribution.
by then i was empty.
you’d stopped feeding me. i was without fear, but also without fire. my bare feet didn’t feel heavy, i felt weightless. i felt unmoored. i was floating but without serenity.
Author: Sellers Grantham
Editor: Catherine Monkman