Smoke and Mirrors 

I have been told by more than one person, guys specifically, that I verge on terrifying. I didn’t get it at first. Like how am I terrifying? Terrifying because I might hurt you? Terrifying because you might hurt me? Terrifying because are falling for me and the timing is bad?

 

All of those are valid. And I know I am intense. I know I over-analyze things and can be insecure and needy. I am not exactly passive. I have strong opinions and am honest to a fault, except for when I’m not. When I fall, I fall hard and fast, and I expect way more than most can give. And I know I have darkness, like a lot of it, and I’m terrible at hiding it.

 

That’s it, isn’t it? After decades of wondering what the hell I was doing wrong, I think I finally see it, my tragic flaw. The darkness.

 

It is tragic. Because as it turns out, most of you are scared of the dark.

 

I used to be. I used to use smoke and mirrors too, to trick you, to trick myself, into believing that I was normal. Not just normal, but happy and fun and positive, with no issues or past experiences that would make me need or expect too much. This usually worked for a month or so.  My scars were deep enough that you couldn’t see them unless you got close enough, which I would make sure didn’t happen.

 

But I couldn’t sustain it. Once the smoke cleared, what was staring back at me, what was finally exposed, wasn’t pretty, at least not all of it. And you would slowly back away. I always wished you would have done it sooner, that I would have shown you sooner, because now you just confirmed that the bad outweighs the good… and I kind of liked you.

 

So I don’t do that anymore. I simply can’t. I think you deserve to know what you are signing up for. And I want to know, sooner than later, if you can’t handle it. If the dark parts scare you, then I certainly don’t want to keep entrusting you with them. These are the parts that are currently the strongest, and also the most fragile.

 

So you are going to see them, sooner than later. And you are going to have to show me yours. You are going to have to expose those places where you go to hide. And you are going to have to tell me when you go there and why.

 

You don’t have to, clearly.  You can slowly back away. Because I assure you, it’s not easy or comfortable. But if you haven’t done it, or at least started the process, then you don’t truly know why it is that you do what you do, which includes how you deal with me. If you don’t know what your patterns are, what triggers you and how you will react, then I won’t know how to best handle them, how to best handle you.

 

So I want to see them. Your demons, those you have worked so hard to keep hidden. I want to meet them. They are actually who I want to meet the most. Because they are why I fell for you. There could not be so much good if you had not experienced so much bad. Your scars would not be scars if your wounds had not started to heal. And your scars are what I think make you beautiful. They make you unique and brave and resilient. They are your story, and your story is what I want to know, the good and the bad.

So I get it. You want to remain in the realm of comfortable and easy. You want to keep feeling good and try to forget the bad.

But you won’t forget it. It will always be there. Until you bring it out into the light. Until you get a really good look at it, study it, learn to understand it, then it will always return to the surface and attempt to extinguish the good.

So what if you question it instead? What if ask yourself why it always comes back? Why does it still scare you? What if it was just an experience- a reminder of what you have overcome, not a deciding factor of what you will become?

I’m not there yet. I’m admittedly a bit lost and have little clarity at this point as to where I will land. And yes, sometimes it is terrifying.

So if it is darkness that scares you, then I get why you would be.

You are exactly right. There is a good amount of dark. But I promise I’ll show it to you. I’ll make sure you know what you are signing up for. And yes, it verges on terrifying. But sometimes, that which we fear, in the end, transforms itself into something beautiful. 

And, just so you know, I’m not afraid of the dark. 

If you are afraid of your darkness, you are afraid of your own soul”. –anonymous

 

https://nataliebreazeale.wordpress.com/

Comments

Dino Manalis Added Jun 23, 2017 - 8:52am
Think positively and be as happy; healthy; and strong as possible!  It will not only help you, but also the people around you will feel better!  Enjoy life!
Bill Caciene Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:44am
I don’t blame you for wanting to see them and wanting to see them as quickly as possible, but we all keep our demons hidden and only expose them to the people we knew really well.  So there is no quick and easy way to learn someone’s demons.  And anyone trying to see one’s demons too quickly will surely make the person uncomfortable, which is maybe why you aren't seeing those demons.  I would also dispute the notion that one’s demons are the things that make one interesting or attractive. 
Tom C. Purcell Added Jun 23, 2017 - 12:49pm
Darkness is all around us today.  I don't need anyone else describing that to me.  Every people needs leadership that can show them the light, not more darkness.  I prefer to show people the light. 
 
"A rooster never crows when it's dark.  A rooster only crows when he sees the light.  Well, I've seen the light and I'm crowing".  -Muhammad Ali
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 23, 2017 - 6:03pm
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!
Dino, I love your optimism! I agree with you 100%. I also think it is extremely important to live and speak your truth and let those around you do the same. The truth isn't always positive and happy. I think one the only ways to get to a place that is happy is to expose the things that aren't. I believe that takes away their power and reveals your true courage and strength. I am happy, I am positive, and sometimes I'm not. And that is truth.
Bill, thanks for your thoughts. I agree, there is no quick and easy way. My thoughts were not meant to insinuate that this process has to happen immediately. This is what getting to know someone means, in my opinion, discovering each other. This includes when and how you go about that. In response to your last comment, I stand by what I wrote. I think if you don't see someone's flaws or weaknesses or 'demons' as beautiful, too, then you are only loving the 'beautiful' parts, and that's not all of who they are. When I love, I love everything- the 'ugly' and the beautiful. 
Tom, thanks for your comment and thoughts. I'm so glad you are spreading light. You are right, we do need so much more of that. I wish you all the best and thank you doing your part to make the world a better, 'lighter' place. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 23, 2017 - 9:21pm
Natalie, want to "discover" someone's personality? See how they deal with stress. Make things go wrong. As the drill sergeant said, he will push you until that bad part of your personality, that weakness you have that only comes out under stress.  Stress will bring out either the best or the worst in someone. Guess the movie.
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:35pm
Yes, I agree, anything uncomfortable makes us reveal our weaknesses. It certainly does me. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:40pm
"Bring me your suffering. The rattle roar of broken bones.
Bring me the riot in your heart.
Angry, wild and raw.
Bring it all.
I am not afraid of the dark".
- Mia Hollow
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:32am
There is no darkness. As long as we're ALIVE we can only be grateful for that. Because whatever condition we're in, there's nothing else we have.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:57pm
SEFa notes: as we're ALIVE we can only be grateful for that- agree with your whole comment.  There is no "darkness," and any lack of light might be from our own shadows.
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 24, 2017 - 5:45pm
Thank you both for reading and taking the time to comment. I find it interesting that you are convinced there is 'no darkness'. There could not be light if there was no dark. And dark does not equate to 'bad' or 'worse', it is the opposite of light and just as valuable. If you have sadness or anger because of a traumatic event as a child, for instance, this is not 'bad'. It is a part of your story and results in emotions you have to process and cope with. If I love you, all of you, then I want to know that part of your story. And yes, I agree with you, we absolutely should be grateful for being alive, and being alive means experiencing the full spectrum of emotions...the good and the bad, the dark and the light. 
Janie Smith Added Jun 26, 2017 - 11:30am
Allowing someone to know you should be more liken to how a rose opens in bloom to offer its fragrance, not like pounding out a tough cut of meat with a tenderizing hammer.
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 26, 2017 - 11:57am
Interesting analogy. I don't think I've ever quite reached the latter, and perhaps dont always achieve the former...maybe somewhere in between, a daffodil perhaps.
And l'm not sure that a rose is your best choice to 'hammer' down your point...roses do have thorns, after all. 
Janie Smith Added Jun 26, 2017 - 1:04pm
I do love daffodils and they can have a wide variety of fragrance, so it does make for a nice analogy.
 
However, I think thorns on a rose just enhances my analogy, since people, like roses, should be handled carefully. 
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 26, 2017 - 1:11pm
I 100% agree, Janie...all of us should; we are strong, but we are fragile. We are light, and we are dark. All of it, the fragrance, the textures, the color...and the thorns. All of it is beautiful. 
Thanks so much for reading and taking time to comment. I love hearing what people take away from my writing! Enjoy your day!
Janie Smith Added Jun 26, 2017 - 4:12pm
you too, Natalie!
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 27, 2017 - 4:45pm
Enter your comment here...
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 27, 2017 - 4:52pm
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Yes, it is a long journey, no question. I also thought I knew myself and what I was capable of until I found myself in a very dark, painful place. But it is because I went through this that I realized who I truly was. I have an article published in elephant journal that addresses this same topic, but focuses more on how I got out of it. 
I'm glad that you have the perspective you do...I think it leads us to live life more fully and authentically, and ultimately learn how to experience more of the good. 
 
Article in Elephant Journal: target="_blank">https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/06/you-cant-love-me-if-youre-afraid-of-the-dark/
 
My Blog: summoningmagic.com
Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!
Brooke
Athena Carson Added Jun 29, 2017 - 9:03am
I hear you!  I get that "intimidating" comment a lot, too.  I see it as a strength, personally.  
 
I know what it's like to claw out of darkness, and although I would never wish that experience on anyone, having that experience really teaches a person a lot ... about themselves, about other people, about God, about the world around them.
Doug Plumb Added Jun 29, 2017 - 6:10pm
Jeff Jackson's comment was right on the money. People say there is no absolute truths, there are many and this is one.
Natalie, want to "discover" someone's personality? See how they deal with stress. Make things go wrong. As the drill sergeant said, he will push you until that bad part of your personality, that weakness you have that only comes out under stress.  Stress will bring out either the best or the worst in someone. Guess the movie.
Natalie, want to "discover" someone's personality? See how they deal with stress. Make things go wrong. As the drill sergeant said, he will push you until that bad part of your personality, that weakness you have that only comes out under stress.  Stress will bring out either the best or the worst in someone. Guess the movie.
Natalie, want to "discover" someone's personality? See how they deal with stress. Make things go wrong. As the drill sergeant said, he will push you until that bad part of your personality, that weakness you have that only comes out under stress.  Stress will bring out either the best or the worst in someone. Guess the movie.
Natalie, want to "discover" someone's personality? See how they deal with stress. Make things go wrong. As the drill sergeant said, he will push you until that bad part of your personality, that weakness you have that only comes out under stress.  Stress will bring out either the best or the worst in someone. Guess the movie.

Natalie, want to "discover" someone's personality? See how they deal with stress. Make things go wrong. As the drill sergeant said, he will push you until that bad part of your personality, that weakness you have that only comes out under stress.  Stress will bring out either the best or the worst in someone. Guess the movie.
Doug Plumb Added Jun 29, 2017 - 6:12pm
I don't know what happened above, the copy and paste is no longer working correctly here. I only wrote the first sentence.
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 29, 2017 - 6:18pm
ATHENA, I so loved  your response...yes, intimidating...I have heard that a time or two. I wouldn't wish it on anyone else either, but I also am inspired when it does. The amount of strength, resilience and grace I have seen in others who have gone through similar experiences is why I keep writing. Thank you for taking the time to read and for your thoughtful comment. 
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jun 29, 2017 - 6:33pm
Thanks Jeff and Doug for your thoughts! Yes, completely agree. It is when we are put in situations that make us uncomfortable, scare us on whatever level, That we let our fears convince us of all the terrible things that could happen. This uncertainty often pushes us to either hide in the places we think are safe, usually by pushing others away, or having the strength and courage to face them, expose them, and disempower them.
"There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality." - Seneca
Tubularsock Added Jul 1, 2017 - 12:39pm
Natalie, most interesting post. Tubularsock believes that one of the most terrifying things to do is self-reflection especially when you get past the lies you have told yourself along the way.
 
But remember that you are not alone, you have been trained by all the dysfunction that appears in EVERY family, in EVERY society, in EVERY religion.
 
We all live inside our own LIE and then we project it out and believe the results.
 
The only way out is to go in and there just begins the journey. The path is narrow and can only be traveled alone. Wear sneakers.
Of course within all this most people wish relationship with others which doesn’t make it any easier because we usually combine our dysfunctions and trigger each other out.
 
It is never easy BUT what else do you have to do?
Beats TV!
Natalie Brooke Breazeale Added Jul 1, 2017 - 1:38pm
Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! No, I'm definitely not alone, which is reconfirmed daily from some of you who read what I write. It breaks my heart, but I think it's beautiful at the same time. Those of us who go to these dark places and have the courage to face them, feel them and dig deep enough to find our way back out are able to live our lives more fully and authentically. This is my opinion, anyway. Yes, sneakers required, and a shit ton of patience and self-love. Sneakers I have. The last two, not always as much as I would like. And no, relationships do not make it easier, necessarily. But they are why I think we are here, to love and to grow...