My Shadow / My Friend

The month of September was rough for me on a personal level. Just those series of days where it feels like nothing ever goes right… from the big things like grief from a very recent loss, down to the smallest little thing like spilling a tiny amount of coffee on a Post It note. You know what I mean – we’ve all had those.

Those periods of bad days bring out the parts of me that I’d like to ignore.

The parts of me that struggle with hopelessness and anger over past events. I’ve struggled with depression since I was 7 years old, so I am familiar with these feelings all to well. Even during the good times, I can feel them lurking out of view, always connected to me somehow. Just like a shadow.

Admittedly, I tend to shove things WAY DOWN, deep within myself instead of dealing with them. I’m trying to change (that slowly but surely), and after the past few weeks I definetely needed to do some deep digging. So, I did what I always do when I want to try to understand my more complex feelings: listen to music.

I recently came across a new song that I wanted to share.

It’s called “My Shadow” by Smashed Into Pieces. And I have had this on constant replay for almost a month now.

Of course, my first thought about this song is: “Hey, that reminds me of the Shadow’s Edge game!” Then I listened to the lyrics… and they really hit home.

The chorus goes like:

I’ve been down, I’ve been up, in and out
There’s no way I can let go
Take you out in the light, in my heart
I embrace my own shadow
Step by step with my friend, you’re a part from within
I can’t let you go
You’re my shadow

What really stuck with me is how the lyrics made me really think about my current and past challenges.

About how the anger, sadness, and confusion can sometimes latch on and follow you around like… well… a shadow! How that shadow might not ever detach itself from you, and how it will always be there, even if you can’t see it.

At first, that is a REALLY depressing thought.

Kinda like “Oh, so my depression will never go away?” or “Seriously? So will the trauma of the past always affect me like this? This pain will always be there?” Well, yes and no. I’ve discovered that there isn’t a simple answer to that. I can’t change what happened in the past. I can’t go back and make it easier for Little Lacey and hide away how sad the world can be.

But what I CAN do is accept that side of me, make it my friend, and use it to my advantage.

I found myself acknowledging how those experiences helped me grow and how they made me more resilient for things down the road. How those struggles helped me learn how to help those around me… because in the end, many of us will go through similar trials in our lifetime.

When we walk through times of weakness
We carry on (carry on)
You will walk with me forever
So let’s get along

In the end, I am finding myself thankful to have my “shadow” hanging around. She’s the only one that was with me every moment of what I’ve experienced, and she has become an ally through the hard days.

How are you embracing your shadow? What does it look like to you? And how can we make our shadows – our past experiences and pain – our ally in this lifetime?

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