Last week, I unexpectedly joined my family for a picnic in the woods. And, little did I know that it would not only, bring me back on my feet (I had a miserable weekend) but also surprise me in the loveliest possible way: I saw a live deer.
Growing up on my island, I spent loads of time with my nose stuck in books (mostly about animals or Egypt but honestly, just reading anything I could find lying around the house too haha) and I had never seen many animals which are pretty common in mainland France up until I went to Lille two years ago. Swans, magpies, and even ducks(I only saw a few when I was tiny but man, a long time ago..)!
I only finally saw them for real two years ago. Up until that point, it was all just book pictures in my head. Things I knew of, things I knew to be real but never actually saw with my own two eyes and so I did not have that feeling/relationship(?) with it. They had that mystery to them, some kind of magic that comes from only knowing something the way your imagination can conceive it.
And the first time I saw them, I was struck with awe. It’s almost like seeing my childhood heroes. I remember those long hours spend lying on the floor or on a couch just staring at these glossy pages in the books, examining every inch of each picture just to get a somewhat clear memory of it engraved in my mind.
I am really happy, though, to be able to say that seeing them IRL does not take away the magic but only adds on, and also more frills. Nature is scary beautiful in that fragile-though-almighty way.
When I saw the deer, my brain just went *blop* *happy* and also, many (MANY) flashbacks to the Hannibal tv series… Ha ha! I had a small though intense phase last year where I got a tad bit obsessed with deer and drew loads of them. It was at the time I had started watching Hannibal and was shamelessly embracing my love for horror and disgusting stuff. In midst all the blood and chaos, those deer that I drew brought in some light in my dark room and mind.
I got pictures of all the deer drawings that I did in that short period to display them right here, in this post, and look back with a bittersweet smile on my face.
I honestly loved the Hannibal show. And I’d have so much to say about it, but I’d rather not enlarge on the matter. What I’m going to say though is that it brought a lot of good out me, a lot of inspiration and reflections on life, and art… And deer!! At that time, I was going through a rough patch and things weren’t really good at all; I was at war with myself and also being sat on fire by other beings whom I thought were worth all the burns (spoiler alert: they weren’t). It was a dark time but weirdly enough(or not at all), I found comfort in this show and it brought loads of good things into my mind.
And as I type this, I’m reminded that my Thomas Harris books stayed at my mom’s house, several thousand kilometers away from me and I’d love to dive back in Red Dragon now. Heartbreaking thought, I must confess. That book was so good! And what a shame I didn’t even have time to read the other two before I had to abandon them in my nest in order to take my leap and fly so far away from it. I’ll probably get mom to send them back to me or something at some point anyway, I just know it.
That deer was beautiful. I’m not going to lie, there was a drop of disappointment as my eyes found their way to the live body of what used to fuel my pencil on my sketchbook months ago. I was delighted to see a deer and really happy. And there was magic. But, the truth is that there is always that drop of disappointment.
Whenever you finally come to face with something you’ve only been dreaming about, reading about, looking at pictures of, it is here, in the back of your mouth or tickling the inside of your eyelids. That tiny drop of disappointment, tightly seated next to the tears of joy and surprise, keeping the back of your throat moist as you scream “Oh God, I’m alive!”. I think it is nearly impossible not to have expectations, as humans, as creatures that dream and hope. And, the longer the road you have to walk between the moment it first captures your attention and monopolizes parts of your mind and heart, the bigger the expectations (no matter how small), and the bitter the drop of disappointment.
You will be excited, you will be delighted; happiness, tears, smiles and fire inside. But it’ll be here, whether you feel it or not. Sometimes, even through the happy storm, there will be more than one drop. You might not be able to feel it, but it’ll be here. It might not ruin your happy time, but it’ll be here. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that.
It’s a reminder in a way, isn’t it? That there is never just one emotion, one feeling, one sensation; never just one thing happening at once. Life is plural. There’s always lots happening at once. We’re always feeling so much at once. Different intensities, different temperatures, different shapes, different causes and different spots hit. But at once. And you get to decide where the focus is.
You can focus on the pebble in your shoe. And then, you can shift the focus and go on think about that headache you have now. And you can move that focus as much as you want, as much as your mind is able to before it runs out of energy. Or you can keep the focus on one point tiny as it may be and make it seem bigger than that big bright sun shining out your window. You get to choose. Or, at least you have the possibility to do so. The power is in your hands but I guess the battery can’t always be full enough to enjoy its wide range of possibilities.
I saw that deer and the second I did, as I had a miserable weekend and I still had my negative glasses on, I felt the drop of disappointment. And I swallowed it, and the taste lingered on but I didn’t mind it; I enjoyed it. I let it do its job and I minded my own business, took pictures of the deer and tried to get over the fact that “Wow, there is a real deer in front of me!”.
Trying hard not to make this a generalization but I’ve met quite a few people with a positive outtake on life, those striving for a happy existence, and I always feel like they are missing out on something. I’m not a pessimistic. I’m not an optimistic either. I might actually strongly be both and usually all at the same time because I’m a walking disaster. But I just don’t think that being positive and happy is about rejecting nor ignoring the dark bits, the negative points, the heavy stuff. I think it’s all about accepting light and darkness no matter the amount or diversity of what’s within you. It’s about accepting them as a part of life, as a part of you and dealing with them, and maybe just learning to co-exist again.
In my opinion, those people that I’ve met wrongly believe that negative = bad. Sure, negative vibes are definitely bad news and can dismantle the strongest of ships and you don’t want them around. But, think about balance, think about Nature and how everything serves a purpose. Blocking out all sadness, negative thoughts, anything that’s not rainbows and butterflies is going to ruin you on the long run. These things are part of being a human and you can’t just wipe them out of the board because you want things to look neat.
Life is not neat. Humans are not tidy inside. And you have to let it in, let it happen, let it out, let it roll over you…
Some things you have to face and break, some things you just have to throw straightaway and others you just have to sit down and swallow and maybe get some ice cream to let it make its way down your throat. And it’s something you learn to do, like recycling!
You learn where to put the tin cans and the glass bottles and the papers; you learn what can be reused, what just goes to waste and what things don’t go together even though they will serve a similar purpose. And sometimes you don’t want to throw something away although it belongs in the bin but you figure out some clever way to turn it into something useful, something you can still keep in your home and you transform it with your own two hands.
learning on and on
There’s a required balance in all of that rickety machinery inside. And it doesn’t always make sense. It’s not a simple list of do’s and don’t’s. It’s complex but at the same time, so easy. The darkness is part of life, part of light. There are dark spots in light, and light spots in darkness. And you can’t just try to wipe one side out cos that’ll mess you up. Gotta find the right middle. Equilibrium.
I’ve learned and am still learning that it’s okay not to be okay. And it’s okay to feel down, to feel sad, to feel horrible, even when you’re in a happy place, with happy people and you are happy. Because life is not a monochrome painting. It’s as complex and simple and intense as a five-year-old’s painting. And it’s beautiful.
My darkness keeps getting brighter and my fire finally feels like it’s actually burning. I love sharing and I hope that through my words, music and art(and rare smiles?) I reach some hearts, minds or just the eyes, really and shed some darkness; the good kind. No matter how very few that might be, I hope that some people read me and that it makes them questions things, think, feel or just smile cos I’m so dramatic about everything it’s funny. I hope that whenever my darkness shines and people get a peek inside, I hope that it makes a difference to them, even the tiniest and that somewhere along the way, some way, somehow, it helps them.
Until next post, let yourself learn, and let your darkness shine. ❤