Some Days Get Really Dark — A Darkness Beckoning The Lies Our Bodies Can’t Handle Any Longer
I’ve been walking in a cloud for the past week — a dark cloud. Even my supervisor at work felt it when he asked if I was okay. He’s a really nice guy and I feel honored to work with him as well as the many happy people who show up each day to serve hundreds of people with their cosmetics products.
My cloud, I thought, came because of the fact that I might be a little more sensitive to the lack of sun than I thought. You know I wasn’t raised in the winter and although the dry season was harsh ( the harmattan cold can be scary), I never imagined that I would miss the sun to the point where I would feel my whole mood shift like this.
I love the cold of winter. I really do. I love how white things get and walking in the snow, seeing my footsteps. I haven’t tried making any snow angels (yet) because snow can be really dirty ( who knew!). But something has been going on recently that I never realized someone like me would be affected by.
I feel unhappy. Dark and morose. I feel like I am a robot, going through the motions of my job and school. I find little joy in the things I used to — instead, I use them now to drown my real feelings of powerlessness.
I noticed how much it hit me today when it started to snow towards evening and I got very excited. I was silently praying it would be heavy snow — scary to drive in — but white enough that it would be a beautiful white sky like it always is when it snows here in Pueblo.
Guess what? The snow stopped halfway and became a dark fog barely hanging over the roads. The brown grass became even rustier, and my heart sank. I went to Facebook and wrote about seasonal depression; about how it wasn’t a joke.
I am very sensitive to emotions around me and even if I can’t put my finger on exactly how someone is feeling, I can feel when they’re “off”.
It’s worse when that feeling emanates from within me.
Normally, I can watch a few videos, talk to friends around the world, make some jokes and really just boost myself back into a good mood. Sometimes, I just need to sit quietly for a few hours alone and I would be back to myself — not too chipper, but not too dark either.
Today was different; it had to do with the weather, but it wasn’t only about the weather.
Today is a dark day.
When I started blogging in 2012, dark days often came after a heartbreak or a similarly difficult period. My emotions would go through a roller coaster where I would feel empowered by the pain of it all: I would write a lot — A LOT — poetry, fiction, non-fiction. I would go out and drink ( mostly just to be with my friends). Then when I would think that I have finally gotten over whatever it was that I was pained by, it would hit me.
Dark days start like every other day. But then, like a movie strip, everything slows down and rewinds: I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone. I just want to be alone and mope. I won’t eat. I won’t pick up my calls, I would sit and go deep into my mind and hug the pain.
I could never escape dark days and I always saw what triggered them.
This time, however, I wish it was the weather. And I really want to think it’s the weather.
My sensitive nature won’t let me accept that lie.
Dear friend, I am not happy. I don’t feel like I am doing what God sent me to do. I feel distracted. I feel like I am doing all the chores that need to be done but not what I need to be putting my heart into.
The unimportant, non-urgent fluff.
I feel an emptiness without a name. A pain that tears can’t soothe. It comes like anger — at myself mostly. Then it lashes out because I don’t have the vocabulary to talk about it.
As I write this, I have reached out to friends and mentors to talk about this feeling. In the past, my dark days would require me to convince myself that whatever happened, happened for good.
But with turning 30 this month, the thought that in a decade I would 40 is providing me with a different kind of angst. I know 10 years is a long time. 10 years ago I was 20 and I hadn’t even started studying journalism.
Heck, I didn’t even have a blog or know what a podcast was.
See how far we’ve come?
So, this dark period I’m going through right now, the fact that I still have to keep going — working, school, life — to the best of my abilities; I don’t know if this is a sign of maturity or the shackles of the American life.
Life here has hit me in places, leaving bruises I have refused to care for, and now, I feel like they’re bleeding.
I lost 90% of my audience of readers because my writing no longer reflected their reality. I have the tools now to self publish my books, move around and even connect with people I had only seen online, but guess what? I can’t seem to afford the time or the money to do it.
It’s a vicious cycle that winter now shoves down my face in a silent, heavy fog.
I have been trying to keep it together, but each day, I feel like I am bursting at the seams. I feel like I am working so hard — many of you reply to my writing and say I am — but I look at what is left to do and I wonder:
If I continue in this direction will I be there in 10, 20 years?
What happens when we move out of Pueblo? What happens if I get fired? What happens when we get kids? Will I ever get to go to Cameroon to see my parents? Can I care for my siblings if something happened to my parents? Have I come to terms with how much I had accomplished in Cameroon and dropped to move for a life cause?
Am I ready for the consequences of it all?
With or without dark days, I introspect, think, and ask a lot of questions — most of them have no answers. Not really.
They’re like balloons I send up with colored gas, hoping they’d get popped and the gas will draw an image of my next best step — the wind, my oracle.
I feel lost.
With the speed at which things are moving — and the monotony of my rote life, my inability to keep up with doing things that actually demand my core such as editing video and writing, I feel like I am in a trap and do you know what the worse part is?
I put myself in there.
That’s what always emerges at the end of the dark sessions: I got didn’t commit to my relationships. I didn’t do my best and I got fired. I listened to advise I shouldn’t have. It always ends with me. The dregs to swallow, I must.
The hard part: I have to map it out to come to terms so I can move forward. Until I do, I’ll be stuck in a cycle of blame, fear, loss, and sadness.
I have to understand how I got here. Who did I listen to? What action did I take?
How the hell did I get to this place?
I believe God gave each and every one a unique gift. My biggest fear is dying without sharing mine with the world. Even when I call myself “a writer”, I don’t feel it’s my gift. I still have this nagging feeling that I am missing something.
That I just picked the first thing that came naturally to me and went with it. Like picking the first dish at a banquet. I just know that there’s better. And even if this is it, I still have a long way to go with gaining the necessary skills.
It doesn’t mean it’s useless or that the rest of the foods aren’t good. It just means that’s not the one for me — not in its current state.
It’s as though I decided to call myself “a walker” because we all learned how to walk at some point as we grew up.
I know I want to tell stories. When I edited my first ever vlog this week, I stayed up till 4 am working on it. I could see the mistakes, the skills I still needed to gain, but I felt the passion I have around working hard on stories.
For a few blissful hours, the clouds lifted and I felt something I haven’t felt in a while:
The internal pride that comes with doing something to the best of your abilities and knowing you gave it all.
I want to die knowing that I gave it all. That I did everything God sent me to do. That I didn’t hide behind excuses of being black, being the firstborn, being a husband, being an immigrant, being whatever.
I want to tell stories that only I can tell, not because I’m better than anybody. No. But because only Kamga Tchassa could tell those stories, no one else.
It’s not about the comparison to those who came before me, or my mentors or the people around me living the lives they chose.
It’s about living my life, knowing in my heart, that I am not lying to myself.
And right now, I feel like I am.
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