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Inspirational Coming of Age Creative Nonfiction

How Darkness Grows

By Schrodinger Penning (Pen Name)

Somedays, I just don’t want to accept it. It seems not possible, like a violation of life and reality. But that’s only if you don’t pay attention to the full picture. 

Life hasn’t dealt its kindest to me. Growing up, I thought I would have a good life.  I loved my parents and siblings, I had food and a warm home. I was going to get rich one day. I had many things I wished to be when I grew up: a doctor, a firefighter, a policeman, robotic engineer. And honestly the list went on. With all the money I had, I would support my parents, live close to them, make them comfortable. It was my dream, but I was young, naïve. There were things I didn’t know. Things I wish I never had to know. If only it was that simple. 

People are shaped by experiences. Sometimes, there are common experiences that can be seen in the lives of many people, like when you can generally tell who is the youngest child in their family, like me. Or how you might notice someone’s occupation by the way they carry themselves. But then there are experiences or the combination of them, that are more unique to an individual or at most, a select few. In my case, its most likely the combination of everything in my life, but even then, I have learned that my experiences are more common than I realized. My utopian dream was quickly shattered as a grew up and learned things a child should not have to know. It didn’t help that my gears were always turning, my brain was always connecting the loose ends of information I came across. It didn’t matter that the situations seemed disconnected. It mattered to me, maybe a little too much. 

It’s depressing to see your dreams crumble before your eyes, but truthfully, its frightening to see your world fall apart, especially if your world is small. There was more to life than I was aware of, but just like a little fern in the forest, I only knew my dark swamp, and it was slowly dying. With each connection I made, my view of life became darker and darker. I realize how broken everything around me was. What I didn’t know was that it was even worse that I had even noticed. My will to accomplish anything of value waned the older I got. I thought I would try to help, but instead only became a catalyst for more destruction. The parents I once loved, I grew to hate. Constantly on the edge of divorce, I notice the increasing lack of respect they had for each other. The dreams I once had, everything I wanted to be, with no opportunity to become them, vanished. 

Being the youngest, I was constantly told how inexperienced I was, how I didn’t understand everything in life yet. Little did anyone know I had come to conclusions it took my family seemingly years to reach. I thought, “Do I really not understand? What could I possibly be missing?” I soon learn I was not missing as much as I was told. The feeling you have when you realize that those who told you that you don’t understand, are the real ones who don’t understand, and worse yet, cannot accept the reality of life. It hurts. It burns. The choices they made in life that brought them to the place where they are, are blamed on someone else. It’s always some else’s problem. And the consequences of many of those choices fall on someone else. Why? Because there are those who wish to run from responsibility, from the consequences of there own choices. In my family, the burden fell on me. More like I took that burden upon myself because everyone who said they were more mature than myself shirked the responsibility of cleaning up their own mess. 

But there is also the unfortunate fact that my own actions did not always help, and in truth, were calculated to hurt. Just like my family, part of my pain and the darkness I felt, was simply me reaping that which I had sown. Some days, I made it my business to make hell on earth, believing it would enlighten the others to the truth of reality. But I was sorely mistaken. It only brought more darkness. But even when I did my best to seek out the best interest of my family, even when I was hurt by them, it only brought more darkness. That which I did would not be remembered, or worse, denied. If there is anything that hurts more in life, it is that. 

Somedays, I lost my will to live. Why continue in life, if your dreams are snuffed out. Why continue with life if it seems no matter what you say or how you feel, its not understood or its completely disregarded. Why continue with life if you have to work for some else’s problem, to care a burden that is not your own and it only gets heavier. I wondered how I could ever become a decent person with an environment like this. What could come from something so dark? 

Sometimes, it’s because of pain that things can grow. The evergreen cone whose seeds only spread because of fire. The plant whose seeds only scatter because they are eaten. Although not the most pleasant experience, in the end, fruit is borne. Is it not the same for darkness? Seeds are planted under the soil. To the seed, its all darkness, and yet, it pushes through to the light and grows. Even the fern in the forest gets some light, although not quite so much as the tree standing above it. But the darkness only last for a while. When the trees above the fern begin to die, Rays of light will shine through, and new life will spring forth. Even a child is born in darkness, but then emerges in the light. 

Life hasn’t dealt its kindest to me. My closest most important relationships are compromised, my dream and ambitions seemingly stifled. Life appears quite dark. But seeds were indeed planted in the dark soil of my life. Were it not for my dysfunctional family, I may never have learned to pay attention to nonverbal cues and to see things from another person’s perspective. I may never have learned the importance of being collected even in stressful circumstances, or to plan ahead and think things through. I have learned through various interactions that what I have experienced is valuable. It gives me a different perspective on life and of others. I’m not well understood, so I try to understand others. I can help others with similar experiences as myself. 

There is still a reason to life, and to fight. It may still be a little dark, but I can say that I have started to poke through the soil into the light. One day, I’ll spread my own seed and when I die, new life can grow.

March 30, 2022 14:06

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1 comment

Jay McKenzie
23:27 Apr 06, 2022

Hi Christian. You've nailed the sombre narrative voice here. This is very melancholy and left me asking questions. Who is this narrator? What has he/she done? I would have liked a few more answers in order to connect with the character, such as what were the 'actions that did not always help'? I liked this imagery: "The evergreen cone whose seeds only spread because of fire. The plant whose seeds only scatter because they are eaten."


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