The Dark Is Supposed To Be Ours

women reclaiming the dark
Photo by Stephany Badaro

The dark has always belonged to us, and we to it.

We make the descent into its depths during the final fortnight of every menstrual cycle and with every waning moon. This is a truth that so many of us refuse to even acknowledge, let alone openly explore.

And is it any wonder why we choose not to?

Fear of the dark is arguably one of the most prevalent manifestations of anxiety in our collective consciousness, especially among women.

Merely contemplating it can be an alarming experience for many.

The mind conjures up a combination of terrors, monster and man becoming one and the same, the horribly disfigured subject of a tapestry that has been woven together using the threads of reality and imagination.

This fear-fuelled perception of the dark has been carefully crafted throughout many generations. Society may have written the original script, but now it is we, the people, who are continually reaffirming the narrative.

From childhood, it begins.

Innocent and deeply impressionable minds are initiated with folklore and fairy tale classics forewarning about the myriad of horrors that await them in the dark.

Maybe it would be simple enough to disregard these stories as simple works of fiction if it weren’t for the media presenting eerily similar tales on an almost daily basis.

And so, the cycle continues, each generation remaining unaware of their own complicity in keeping the veil tightly wrapped around the eyes of the next.

The fear is palpable; it is alive within women everywhere. And the dark, too, has become a living, breathing entity, one that threatens to engulf us in our entirety.

As I write this, another woman has been snatched by someone lurking in the shadows. Her name will become the latest citation in the age-old cautionary tale told to women the world over: never walk alone at night.

Once again, we have been betrayed by those who we have trusted to protect us. Or perhaps it is we who have betrayed ourselves by relinquishing our own power in the first place?

We are warned that we must be more vigilant than ever before: the media flooding every platform with tips and techniques for ensuring our own safety.

At first glance, it might appear well-meaning, but when we dive a little deeper, we allow ourselves to see things from a different perspective.

What is revealed is not always easy on the eye. In fact, sometimes, the ugliness is almost unbearable to behold.

Right now, in every direction I turn, I feel as though I am being forced to face seemingly inescapable reminders of my own impending victimhood. I must never be allowed to forget that with every single step I take into the darkness, I might be dancing with death.

But I refuse to believe I am a victim. I will not be terrorized by fear.

This declaration might seem bold, audacious even. And yet, here I stand, making it anyway. This world has stopped us from reclaiming something that is rightfully ours for too long. Those in power have fostered a willful ignorance of the immense power that the darkness holds, especially for a woman.

The feminine dark is the womb of life itself. The place of deepest renewal. The birthplace of a new world.

Maybe that is why it feels so excruciatingly cruel when yet another woman’s light is extinguished like this; because the dark is supposed to be ours.

Every man was nourished and nurtured in the darkness of the womb, and yet so few seem to have any semblance of reverence for a woman.

Like most of us, I have suffered at the hands of a man. I am not writing these reflections from a place of blind ignorance but as a survivor of domestic abuse.

I vividly remember how liberating it felt to finally unleash the fire of the anger that I had spent years suppressing. And I also remember how much twisted pleasure I took in reducing that man to ashes.

Right now, there is a dangerous cocktail of grief and anger coursing through the veins of women everywhere. This rage is holy, and its flame is spreading like wildfire. But what we might first consider as a warranted reaction toward an oppressor is often revealed to be something different entirely.

The stories that women are finally finding the courage to share will be the fuel that burns the world as we knew it to the ground, and it is about fucking time.

But is it possible for us to do that without destroying one another in the process?

Creating more separation between men and women will continue to perpetuate this never-ending cycle of violence and suffering for us all. The feminine dark is rising, and unless we can learn to traverse it together, it will swallow us all whole.

Can we women share our stories without the need to condemn and vilify men for their actions?

Are we able to fathom that feeling safe in our own bodies is a freedom that only we can afford ourselves?

Can we remain rooted in our true power as the chaos continues to swirl?

Are the men in our lives able to listen with their mouths closed and their hearts open?

Can they witness us as we reveal the broken shards of ourselves that are nothing but reflections of their own wounding?

Are they willing to do what it takes to come into balance and harmony with the feminine, within and without?

As we begin the humbling work of learning to see the world through a different set of eyes, I wonder if we will be able to hold space for our humanity, even on the darkest of days?

One thing is certain: this is an ocean of healing that we must all dive into together.

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