No Space for the Dark and Heavy

“Dad, I need you to be my pa – not my doctor.”

“Mum, it’s okay to cry. Don’t hide your fear. Hiding is part of how we ended up here in the first place.”

I always pretended everything was okay.

When the panic attacks struck, it was okay.

When it became unbearable to function at work, it was okay.

When I injured myself multiple times daily, it was okay.

When being alive felt like something I didn’t want … it was okay.

Of course, none of that was okay. But I grew up in a household where the things that were not okay were not pointed out, mentioned, or discussed. There was no space for the Dark and Heavy.

Mum, Dad … if you don’t make space for the Dark and Heavy, it will make space for itself. And – as I’ve learned – looking the other way or plugging your ears doesn’t wash it away. Wait long enough, and you’ll feel a little tap on your shoulder. It’s not something to fear. The pain is not the enemy. Pain is a gift.

Continuing to walk on a broken leg as though nothing has happened does not make your leg un-broken.

We must stop. We must look at our injury and say, “Something here hurts. Something is not right.” We must peer into the darkness and ask, “What is it that you have to teach me?”

Mum, Dad … I am a child of Light and Dark. And that, well, that is okay. It can even be beautiful. Let’s talk about it.

— Erin Avenant


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