Fighting the Light

For today’s post I am going to try something different – I’m going to share a short story that I wrote. It is a story that I started a couple years ago during a time I had been ill for several weeks. I recently rediscovered the story and decided to finish it. Disclaimer time – I do not have any rights to Brian McFadden’s song “Demons in my Dreams.” It is just a beautiful song that inspired me to write this story. Hopefully Mr. McFadden will not take offense to my use of his lyrics. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

FIGHTING THE LIGHT – by Brenda Rogers

The bright sunlight floods through the blinds waking her. The sun had finally gained the upper hand after days of clouds and rain. She pulls the covers over her head in an attempt to block out the light. After three weeks of being sick the brightness is too much for her. She prefers the darkness and shadows anyhow. The light leaves her vulnerable – it allows for everyone to see how inadequate she is, how unworthy of love and friendship she is. The darkness shields and protects her from the judgmental and contemptful gaze of others. It is a place where she can pretend that her heart is impenetrable and that she feels nothing and is incapable of feeling hurt. She wraps the blanket around herself, doing all she can to shut out the light.

The house is as quiet as a tomb. There is no sound – no rattling of the heater, no hum of the refrigerator, not even sound from outside. She hates the quiet and does whatever she can to avoid it, such as having the TV on or listening to loud music. She dreads the quiet when the only thing she can hear is her own thoughts and fears. As unwanted thoughts start to enter her mind, she starts to feel the anxiety build in the pit of her stomach. She shoves the ear buds of her MP3 player into her ears and turns the music on, hoping that the music will drive out the sound of her thoughts. The music begins to play – of all the songs, did it have to be this one – Brian McFadden’s “Demons in my Dreams?” She likes the song, but rarely listens to it because the words hit too close to home. She had forgotten that she had added it to her playlist. All she has to do is push a button and another song will play, but she finds herself paralyzed and does nothing as the words of the song begin to play

Have you ever been lost in a different world?
Where everything you once knew
Is gone?

She definitely feels as if she is in a different world at the moment. It is easy to imagine that she is alternate reality, with the bright light and the haunting lyrics of the song piercing her soul. Fear and panic start to take hold of her, but she still can’t seem to move as the next stanza of the song begins

And you find yourself powerless
With everything that exists

If you asked people to describe her, they would all mention her control issues. It is a standing joke amongst her family and friends. People tell her to just let go, to trust, and everything will work out. They will never understand that she will never be able to do that. If people knew the reasons why she tried to control everything they would turn from her in disgust. She knows all about being powerless. She was powerless all the times she was sent from place to place as a child because no one wanted her. She was powerless all the times her drunken father would beat her in his rage against his own powerlessness. She was powerless every time one of her mother’s many boyfriends put their hands on her where they didn’t belong. She’s powerless when she doesn’t know where her child is – she knows if anything happened to that child, one of the few people to love her despite her faults – she would never recover. So she laughs and jokes about her control issues, but she knows that she will never change. She would rather live with the illusion of being in control than with fear of powerlessness.

She tightens the blanket around her in the attempt to keep out the ever increasing brightness. The light doesn’t want to leave her alone today. It keeps calling to her, trying to entice her with its warmth, but she prefers the cold, thank you very much.

If you become a nobody
Blind, to your family
Who would you be?

“Become a nobody?” She is a nobody. She can count on one hand the people who she matters to, and even then those people would be better off without her. “Blind, to your family?” Her family doesn’t know her, and she has no real connections with most of them. As a child she pretended to be a chameleon, trying to be whoever/whatever would please those around her. She had wanted so much for someone to notice her, to give her any scraps of attention they could spare, to let her know that she mattered. It was all a waste of time. She wonders who she would be if she had grown up in a home with loving, attentive parents, but such musings are a waste of time – she is who she is.

And life has gone into reverse,
Re-living every hurt along the way.
Everything that you fear
Is calling you and drawing near.

She doesn’t know why these thoughts are bombarding her today; usually she can keep them buried. It is pain that she doesn’t want to deal with. Too bad the pain has other ideas. Does dealing with the pain serve any purpose? Her childhood has no common ground with her current life. It has been over 30 years since she was that abused, unwanted child, but that child was demanding to be acknowledged today. Deep down she knew acknowledging the pain from her childhood would help her to grow emotionally and improve her life. Not dealing with the pain of her childhood was hampering her from enjoying life and establishing meaningful relationships with those around her. The constant battle to pretend that her childhood had never happened left her angry and depressed. But she was afraid of the pain and wanted to stay in the cocoon of darkness that she surrounded herself with. Was she strong enough to deal with the pain? She was going to find out; the pain was pushing to the surface and wouldn’t be denied.

Wake me up and let’s go

It was time to find harmony between the child that she had been and the adult she was. If she was strong enough to survive her childhood; she was strong enough to deal with pain of that childhood and acknowledge how it affected her life now. It was time to throw off the covers that kept her in darkness and face the light.

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