By Holly Hansen
There is a quiet place I visit that is rare to find. It’s not a physical place. It is a
dark room with a mirror and only me to look at. I hear no expectations and have no context. It took a long time for me to find it. It was not found by effort. My experience is that the only way to find it is through devastation or integrity.
When I first experienced it I was unamused by anything. I did not like the world or myself or what I did with my time. When I spoke I always felt like it was mushy, and smelled of half-baked interest. I worked a lot and stayed out late. I blurred my reality with fatigue and alcohol to see if I could make it wash away. One morning, triggered by what should have been just another slightly disappointing interaction with a failing friend, I broke.
My mind laid back and floated slowly to that place. I was gently placed in front of myself and heard no voices. I did not have to make decisions. All of my self-proclamations and outside expectations dissolved. I realized who I was. It wasn’t spiritual. It was a last resort. It was the shell that bound me flaking away.
Not everybody needs the darkness to find this place. Some people have such a strong thread of integrity that it is a natural state of mind. I am not afraid of darkness, nor am I morbidly affectionate towards it. I just know I can walk among it and sometimes it helps me remember that I need to find peace and meaning within, without pressure, without others.