Both sides of chiaroscuro portrait

Lately I’ve been watching a few different shows. They’re the kind of shows you’d expect me to watch if you know me well (or have read any of my fiction). My current entertainment consists of (in no particular order):

Noticing any trends here? These are all referencing books in some way. There’s everything here from classic literature to serial comic characters. There are close interpretations of the original media, and there are loose adaptations based on characters developed in a series or books.

They’re also fantastic – from paranormal introspection to galactic drama.

There’s also some serious darkness. I love me some darkness. Why is that? Why the fantasy? Why the exploration of the dark?

Sinister. Left hand. Dark side. Unknown.

Lately there’s been a song playing on the radio, “Riptide.” It feels like it comes on every other song, but I love the lyrics because they hint at something here in these shows.

We might live in a right hand world, but we still need the left hand. We may live in light, but to know light is to also know darkness. This is a part of experience. To know yourself, to love yourself completely is to accept and embrace those dark parts as they are. This is the only way you can fully engage in self-love. It is the only way you can forgive yourself completely, but also, it is the only way to forgive others. It is the only way to walk completely in light.

When I say embrace dark parts, I don’t mean encourage dark or hurtful behavior. I don’t mean wallow. I mean simply to wrap your arms around this part of yourself like a parent does an uncooperative child. Whatever was, it doesn’t matter. Love it. Bless it. Integrate the lessons of this and continue on your path.

Now everyone won’t be able to maintain a certain level of light in the face of such dark exploration. There are some people who couldn’t handle watching certain shows and still maintain love and light in their hearts (i.e. me, binge-watching Buffy five years ago). That’s okay. This isn’t for everyone. In fact, when you begin going down a certain introspective path, at first, you probably shouldn’t watch Shannara or Expanse. You definitely shouldn’t watch The Magicians. These are for the advanced. Really. I enjoy these shows because of their exploration and their ability to give me insight, but for some, they could affect one’s mood and ability to love. You know if this is you in about five seconds of watching one of these shows. Don’t try to be a hero with this if it’s affecting you. Get to a place of strength, and then check in. That’s when you can integrate the dark. That’s when you can integrate yourself and fully love.

Into The Dark
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