Beware of Darkness.

The sun set at 4:32 pm yesterday. What a far cry from what seemed like midnight sun just a few months ago.

I had been boasting to a friend just minutes earlier that I lived a life without much anxiety lately. Sure, I get nervous for photo shoots but it’s a good kind of nervous that I use to channel into my work. And I get nervous before dentist appointments but that’s because I went two years without one cleaning/exam. And it wasn’t just two years of assuming everything was all right. Oh no. I knew I had to be going every three months because I have very sensitive gums and they need to be looked at often.

There isn’t as much anxiety lately, but there is the mysterious darkness that creeps in sometimes. It’s hard to find the light.

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(Photo credit by Dan S. of http://www.aggressive.tv/)

Sometimes it’s little nuances of change, even when change is good. On Monday, Scarlet saw two of her “best” friends in one day. One was from her newborn days. Back when I felt that my purpose, at least then, was consumed with round-the-clock nursings and making new friends. The other friend she saw was a new friend from preschool. They have a fierce sort of friendship, and it grew strongly after several months of knowing one another. The closeness started at school so I wasn’t witness to it. At first.

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I felt the slightest sense of grief later that day at her old friend’s house. Like I missed the newborn baby days. I guess I’m afraid these two won’t always be close. It’s even possible that on Monday, they weren’t as in sync as they normally are, but that could very well be because it was after 4:00pm and she was hungry, and anyway, who is normal after 4:00 pm in the darkness anyway?

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What I feel for the mothers of the two girls, well luckily that isn’t fading or out of sync. You don’t always have to be friends with your kids’ friends, but one of these women has been around since the beginning of the parenting journey without drifting too far, and the newer friendship seems to be built of more-than-surface stuff too. What I’m even missing..I still have in my life.

I guess it’s just fear.

For good measure, I’m including a photo of another one of Scarlet’s friends. This was taken on their first playdate ever. And her mom is my friend too and I’m thinking of her today and I’ll generally use any excuse to look at this photo. It’s happy-making.

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After the second playdate, I had to get home. Fast. I didn’t feel totally well. I had to make dinner for two hungry kids, and myself. I had to go through as much of pajamas and bedtime and laundry and dishes that I could do before Cassidy got home. Every now and then, I fall into a pocket of feeling lost and hopeless. A trap. When I’m in a lost and hopeless trap, I can’t find a way out right away. It feels ominous like I never, ever will. Even though I know I will, if that makes sense. It’s the only way.

Out.

And it has to happen.

The sun hadn’t set into total darkness when we left at 5:00 pm. We followed the last of the light through the clouds all the way home. I think that’s how I feel in general these days. I’m aware of the darkness. I beware of darkness, however, I follow the light and I follow it well. I know how to see its bright glimmer and I know how to feel the warmth that radiates from it.

And that’s the best anti-anxiety method that I know.

“Watch out now, take care
Beware of the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night”
— George Harrison

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104 Comments

  1. I don't get to see too many pics of you on your blog but when I do I always love it. The first picture of you looking up is so awesome. I honestly hated pushing back the clock an hour when we lived on the east coast. I guess after my trip to Spain seeing that they didn't do daylight savings it stopped making sense to me. Having it be that dark for that long just seems depressing. And then I learned how depressing people get in Alaska during their months of pure darkness and I feel for them!

  2. I know what you mean. This is the time of year we have to be careful, with less of the sun and the light to warm our faces. But the light is still there, so we follow it. Friendship, and smiling faces, those are things that bring the light 🙂

  3. Those photos of Scarlet are definitely happy making! And the first picture of you is just stunning. Can't you see the light around yourself, Tamara? Keep on embracing all of the light in your life…your friends, your family, your beautiful soul!

  4. I have been there, too, lately – kind of down and dark and wondering what my purpose is. Maybe it is the time of year. Maybe it is just life??? The light is starting to come back i for me – beam by beam. I hope you continue to feel the warmth and know that you are a light to so many others. Those pictures are gorgeous. I agree with Allie above that that first one should be in a gallery somewhere!

  5. Just remember that even on the darkest winter night, the sun is growing towards the spring and it is a time to grow dreams, sink way deep, and sow the seeds of creativity.

  6. I don't know how you do it but you manage to write exactly what I am feeling. I've been hit with a yucky feeling of I don't know what. Just that Gia is so sweet and happy and with the older kids going through rough times, I don't want Gia to lose the "easiness". Sometimes, I am afraid the darkness will suck me in. I'm going to concentrate on looking for the light. Thank you for this. 🙂

  7. I love this time of year because of the holiday anticipation but I HATE this time of year because it's dark SO early. It's just such a restless and blah feeling. And then I start stressing over snow, being stuck in the house, blah blah. I have to snap myself out of it! You know what though, I feel like time moves so fast that in two blinks it will be summer again.

    1. So true! I was thinking that. People keep saying to me, “Before you know it, the light will be back in our lives.” And I think to myself, “Before you know it, the light will be back in our lives and then it will be November again.”
      It’s better than that, of course.

  8. I totally understand that yucky feeling when you look outside and see nothing but darkness, and you look at the clock and think it can't possibly be correct. It's no fun driving home from work in the dark. It makes me a little sad. So, like you, I start trying to focus on the things that make me happy. And these pictures? My goodness, they make me happy!

  9. You are such an amazing photographer. That first picture of you should be in a gallery somewhere. I too am hating the sinking sun. I’m fighting against it although I know it’s a losing battle. Some days I’m happy for the early darkness and I make a fire, but most days I want just a little more light!

  10. I love when my girls make friends, because I will always think about what it must be like to see your child struggle to make friends.

    Remember when the sun sets, it's already making its way back around to shine on you again.

    If you could see you the way we see you? …

  11. Ah! We totally missed you at the parade! We were there, but the parking situation was a nightmare and we were almost late! I hate that the sun is gone too early in the day now and am counting down the days until spring. I didn’t realize that S had a red pea coat to match yours!

  12. You know you are totally preaching to the choir on this one with me and this time of the year always gets me. Yesterday it didn’t even top out at 40 degrees and was dark by 5 here. So, not a fan, but I keep thinking warmer and lighter thoughts, like reminding myself spring too shall come back again even if it isn’t for months now, but still as sure as we got here, we will get back there again. And as always love all the pictures of Scarlet. Her smile is totally infectious! 🙂

  13. Yesterday I had one of those days where I was in a funk all day – I know that it is just a temporary thing but I feel like I've let myself become a complete hermit and yet I don't know how to change it.

    I hope that you have plenty of sunshine in your life today!!!

  14. ok- ready for my tangent????

    Holy crap!!! Gorge photo of you! S & her buds are fab as always! I NEVER show it, because I fake it & I am so stoic but I am really always anxious inside, quite like sick to my stomach sometimes, but, as a child, my dream was to be on broadway or to be a lawyer so I was told to "fake it until I make it", so, that's what I do… & it works most the time for me… what a true to the core post!!! XO, T!

    1. Fake it until you make it. I LOVE that. I get sick to my stomach with nerves. Not always. It can be years without and then a year can happen with it happening way too many times. It’s beastly!

      1. ♥ it happens to the best of us. It's how we handle those "beastly" times that show our true character & in my head your like a newer version of Audrey Hepburn but we call you "Sweet T"… just sayin'… lol. XO

        1. haha, so true!
          When I was in labor, I was at an EIGHT and that’s when I told the nurse I was in pain. And I said it sweetly.
          I am a class act. Or an idiot. Somewhere in between.

            1. Ya know what I was referencing, right? You sounded like "eh- well maybe I'm a riot" & I'm (me-Amber) sure you are funny as crap so I say fake it til you make it… LOL!!! 🙂 good ole stage trick from back in the day theater trick, gah… I'm such a drama queen… anyways…LOL xo, Sweet T.

  15. I can never believe that it’s 4pm and already getting dark. By the time I am on my way home from work, it actually seems light the dead of night, and I haven’t even eaten dinner yet. That’s really hard, for some reason. I enjoy the light in the morning, because waking up in the dark of night was getting old, but it’s still hard on the other end.

    I feel the same way about change as you mentioned with Scarlet and her friend. But her new friend brings light into her life, and although going through change sometimes feels like a lot of darkness, the actual situation doesn’t always have to be. I adore the picture of you in this post! You don’t make enough appearances here!

  16. It is tough to see the light when there is so much darkness. I think this time of the year reminds us of how quickly time passes when you do not realize it. How wonderful that you are capturing these moments in time.

  17. I’m ready to go to bed at 7:00 with all this darkness… and I treasure the friendship with the women who had their babies when I had mine. Some sort of special connection there for sure!

  18. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, I’m much better at sensing the darkness and keeping it at bay. Like you, I “beware” because it scares me. But I think – in my case at least – it’s good to be a little scared of it because it keeps me on my toes, it keeps me from getting lazy. Vigilance is good.

    My daughter’s best friend’s mom is one of my best friends. It’s wonderful. I don’t know if the girls will always be this close – right now my daughter says she wants to go to the same college and share a dorm with her bestie but they’re only 8 after all – and I realize that even adult friendships fade or undulate in intensity, but I hope all of us will always be friends at least on some important level.

    1. I think what you said about even adult friendships fading or undulating in intensity is really incredible. It’s always hard for me, even though I’m always at least 50% responsible for it. It just happens. And sometimes you think a new friend is going to be a forever friend and it doesn’t work out. And sometimes the most unexpected ones become lifelong. I’m still close with a girl I was close to at age 9, so anything is possible, right? We have gotten used to the fact that we no longer share weekend plans, classes, and Hebrew classes together. We’re not in the same state anymore. The friendship lives on, though!

  19. True! I love the idea of visiting Alaska but not for another six months, at least! And thank you – I do try to get photos out of the archives when I can.

  20. Thank you so much, but I didn't take it! I wish I had. There was sun today and I realized how badly I miss it when it's not around. And it can be very gloomy here for November. It's rarely truly sunny.

  21. I hate this feeling of being out of sync. There are some of Frances' first friends that we don't see anymore, and though the reasons are all different, it still makes me miss that certain part of her childhood when those friendships were intact. I even made friends with another mom through Frances and we've all grown apart at this point. Nothing bad happened, just life circumstances, but I miss that closeness and that part of us.

    1. I agree. And we all know our kids’ friendships will be hot and cold, but it scares me to think of losing their moms as friends too. Circumstances. Different schools. Work. It all happens.

  22. Yes! This journey around the sun or whatnot. It makes the world go round, literally. I kinda like preaching to the choir. Not that I like other people being sad, though!

  23. Thanks! I try to sprinkle in more photos of me when I can. I like 'em. The light in the morning is nice, but I ideally miss a lot of it because I simply cannot get up in the morning before 9:00 am! Actually with kids, it's more like 6:00 or 7:00 but I would love to sleep in one day.

  24. I appreciate you sharing that, about wondering what your purpose is. The problem with me is that I don't have wiggle room to wonder. I know what it is and I know we can't afford life without it. So it becomes intense pressure and then I want to hide. Horrible cycle.

  25. I am sometimes struck by the darkness arriving so early lately; I am turning on lights earlier every day, it seems. I know what you mean about the darkness feeling lurking too. Friends (old and new) and smiles like in these photos do a lot to keep it at bay, don't they? 🙂

  26. I don’t feel the darkness very often, so when I do it really throws me for a loop. But when the sun sets way too early and it’s cold and gloomy outside, I look at my children and my husband, and the light floods in.

    1. I love her shoes too! I want to buy them all in adult versions, but maybe that would creep her out. Nah, she’s not old enough to be creeped out by that.

  27. Oh how we have the same hearts… your words so beautifully and agonizingly describe mine as well. Lets keep feeling those glimmers of warmth and light together, my friend.

    That picture of you is breathtaking. XO

  28. I think we're all fighting these early sunsets. Some days there isn't even sun available to set! I feel light deprived. Some days I don't even feel like leaving the blinds open at home. I leave when it's barely light and get back to darkness.

    But we pursue a different light, don't we? One, like Scarlet and her friend, that comes from relationships and the warmth and bask-worthy light they afford us. Hugs, Ali

  29. Well, thank you! I hope Gia doesn't lose her easiness too. And sometimes it's just there. Des has always been easy, but slightly harder than Scarlet. They're both easy kids, though. And this is why there won't be a third. The third would be the one who screams at the dinner table and runs away from us in public.

  30. I agree. And of course many of us worry that our kids will be those awkward kids who can't make friends. I was terribly awkward and I still made friends, though.

    And the last two things you said are almost too good for words!

  31. Love and pain, light and dark, joy and sorrow – all so closely related. When we have the love or the light or the joy – there is always that tiny bit of fear that it might be taken away. If that's the case, then in my opinion we just need to embrace it harder and love every ounce of the good stuff when it's in front of us.

    I am glad for your new and old mom friends and for Scarlet's new and old friends as well.

    1. Yes! And it’s weird. I love it/hate it. The dislike is so strong that when it’s summer, I’m horrified by the thought of the holiday season ONLY because it makes me think about being cold and sick. When I’m in the holiday season, though, I’m totally happy. Weird.

  32. I love looking at how the kids' friendships have changed over time. I do still love that last photo though, Scarlet just has the BEST smile there!

  33. I have sensitive gums too, chronically affecting my life–and up to date being checked:( said it's even older than my age…sigh.

    Loved the little girlfriend pictures of your daughter, omg!!!

    It's really dark late afternoon, and yes it could affect our mood sometimes, but I keep myself very busy or just relax with it and or listen to the chirping insects and the taps of the rain…

    1. I'd love to hear more about the gums issues!! I think pregnancy made my so much worse because they were never good, but they got worse.

      Chirping insects and the taps of the rain. Sounds nice, actually.

  34. Ooooh I know these feelings. The darkness even when there is no anxiety and how the darkness settles anyway. And I, too, am getting practiced at searching for the light. My daughter also has a friend she’s known since the newborn days and sometimes when they are together, I long for that time too. But those photos up there of two little girl friends are priceless and this time is special all it’s own.

  35. I do feel weary during this time of the year when the sun seems to fade before I'm ready for it to say goodbye for the day or before I've soaked it in enough. And I find that it's easy for me to retreat into those darker corners, mostly because I like to hide under blankets. But there is so much light all around. I need to remind myself of that a lot. I see it but sometimes I'm not always convinced of it.

  36. Sending some warmth and sunshine your way from the Valley of the Sun. I must admit I'm not missing the cold, dark evenings.

    Reagan has found two best friends at school and she is ecstatic to keep telling me to have them come over and play dress up. I have yet to meet the moms and I find it so odd that I probably won't for some time.

    Amazing how that happens.

    Miss you my friend.

    ¤´¨)

    ¸.•*´

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    http://raising-reagan.com

    1. Thanks, Joi! I really wish I could somehow control it that everyone is friends forever, but this is a good teaching moment for me that you can’t control it all!

  37. I have the darkness. I try and remember that he gives me ideas and hope when the lightness is fleeting. It's hard and awful but always affirming. Sending you hugs and belief and magic. The way you capture it. That kind of magic. And lots of love.

  38. That first picture of you is awesome!!! I hate the time change. I hate the dark so early – but I like it being lighter in the morning – so that is a positive!!

  39. This is one of the reason why I don’t particularly like winter. When it gets dark my mood gets dark as well. Sunshine brings laughter and fun! It has been getting so much darker here earlier and I don’t like it one bit. I love that last photo of Scarlet and her friend. That smile brought a smile to my face. Here’s to sunshine and laughter and more much fun!

  40. I think I have been doing just the opposite of you lately. I do not do well when the weather turns dark and there is very little sun. I need the sun to sustain me.

  41. that picture of you is amazing! i’m working really hard to retrain my brain to focus on the light and feel blessed, despite being depressed and feeling down. there is so much to be grateful for.

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