One day, I read a beautifully written and powerful New York Times article about light pollution. The information shared in this piece saddened me, and yet simultaneously, it awakened me. Of course, prior to reading this well-crafted write-up, I partook in a little “medicinal” healing. Look, I had to. My sanity depended on it. Besides, I was trapped inside myself and needed a relief. Unfortunately, this time around, I fell into a heightened state of self-loathing – I could feel all failures of the past, present and potential future spread through me like cancer.
When this happens (yes, this isn’t the first time), I begin a journey into blinding dark space – reaching my hands out in front of me, metaphorically speaking, and rummaging through the darkness, looking for something. Not sure what I’m looking for, but I’m definitely searching. Oh, I found it! It’s an over-consumption of unhealthy perceptions – my due punishment for the filthy and inadequate life I’ve led thus far [insert sarcasm here].
I hate myself in these moments, literally. I dig into reflections that I’m not working hard enough or that I’m not a better friend, lover, daughter or mother. I mold a beautiful ceramic vase of ineptness that I sit on a mantle of truth. This self-inflicted emotional trauma is deafening and catapults me into suicidal considerations.
Not to mention that this is taking place alongside physical agony, a steady algorithm of misery reflected through the tension in my neck that forces my shoulders up around my ears, my jaw clenches, causing a surge that ignites a rhythmic thumping in my head. At times, there’s a feeling of floating, but not in a euphoric way, more like an ‘oh fuck, gravity is going to get me at any time’ way and I’m going to hit the surface, and hard.
Yet, there’s a certain beauty that breaks through, with a little coaxing of course, and then some of the time (like that day), it prompted this right here… thoughts on paper. A manifesto of how fucked up I am. But, by getting this fucked-up-ness out on thin sheets of wood pulp (well, actually a virtual thin sheet of wood pulp known as Word), it allows me a place to shed my thoughts from tyrannizing me. It’s a painful process, then again, pain is necessary – an indicator that should make us pay attention, to promote problem solving and healing.
i see the natural light
Let’s get back to this whole light pollution article and connecting these random conjectures into epiphanies – essentially the reason why I’m writing all this.
So, besides the bleak facts of what light pollution is doing to our planet and the necessary ecosystems that hold it all together, I came up with this: I’m over-consumed by light pollution. Light pollution radiating from the 48” box that is broadcasting signals of late-night (and day) binge watching of Orange is the New Black. Light pollution strewing from my hand-held technology that includes: Snapchat from my millennial friends, an obsessive online Scrabble habit disguised as Word with Friends, the puzzle world of Two Dots, and the social networking web that consists of pinning, tweeting, and filtered photo-sharing.
This “pollution” detaches and distracts me from the natural world, the natural light. It shields me from true human connection and worse than that – a connection to me. I’m blinded by all this light-emitting noise that in turn isolates me in an unsafe place of self-loathing, depression and unhinged attacks on my own light, my essence. It’s debilitating and completely self-induced, which makes it all the more volatile.
So, now what? I’m not sure. I guess the first small step, which I took by turning my thoughts into words, is to recognize all the outside forces, that artificial light obstructing my thinking, which perpetuates deep-seated feelings of little to no self-worth.
The tricky part? My livelihood depends on a fraction of this light pollution. Shit. This complicates things a bit, but it leads me to this: Balance. I can do my job and do it well, but I don’t have to participate in an over-consumption of it when I’m offline from work. I don’t have to find another casserole recipe, or Boho bedroom idea on Pinterest, I have plenty pins to get me by. I don’t have to look at Snapchat for the latest highlights of the Miley and Liam saga – at the end of the day, who fucking cares?! And, I don’t have to connect those fucking dots into a square or push the home button on my Amazon Firestick connecting myself to the shenanigans of Piper Chapman and her stinky panty business.
pursue the lightlessness
Seek out those wide-open spaces, to see and feel the natural light, not be blinded by it – allow that luminosity to pave a path of clarity and balance, after all, it takes the darkness to see the light, right?
And the next time I feel the tinge of societal standards and irrational belief systems put their hands around my neck and restrict my breath to logical thinking – I won’t grab my light polluted phone or dive headfirst into the phosphorescent cesspool of social media.
I’ll write, read or spend quality time with my loved ones and maybe all by the glow of candlelight.