Social Creatures

They say we are “social creatures”.

Some would agree wholeheartedly.

Those who enjoy nothing more than being with other people. Those who crave “social life”.

Let us call these people “extroverts”.

Some would not call themselves “social creatures”.

Those people who find interaction with others to be draining or awkward. Those who would much rather be by themselves with a book or a piano. Those who have no desire for a “social life”.

Let us call these people “introverts”.

You can take your pick.

But everyone comes to a place where they are alone in the dark with nothing but their own doubts to keep them company.

And, whether they are introverted or extroverted, they feel something.

Something we call loneliness.

And in that place we would all welcome the touch of a hand on our shoulder.

The presence of a fellow human.

Someone who cares.

When it really comes down to it, we are “social creatures”.

Because there is darkness here.

And no one wants to be alone in the dark.

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Child of the Night

The night turns over into a new day,  and all things hold their breath in silent awe.

It’s a wonder, isn’t it?

Witnessing such a remarkable thing.

Yet there’s always a sort of doubt. Is this really a new day? Night still seems to hang over the world.

But, of course it does. Does a mother leave her child the moment it is born? Night stays until day has grown ripe.

Not all is silent, when day is born.

There are those who wait in anxious doubt. They must see the day ripen, for they are not at all sure it will.

There are those who chase the night until it is gone.

Those who simply don’t want the day to end, and so follow it into night and beyond.

Those who cherish those waiting moments before day is born.

Those who neither know nor care whether it is day or night.

And in the midst of all this, day begins to grow.

And night slips away, whispering a soft goodbye to her child.

Questions Under My Bed

When you get older the monsters under your bed realize you no longer believe in them, so they go away.

But the spot isn’t vacated.

New fears take its place.

Fears about the future. Regrets about the past.

Or questions.

The kind of questions that pull at your mind. That keep you awake at night.

I’ve had one of those questions under my bed for some time.

Who am I?

And really, I don’t know.

I don’t know why I say the things I say. I don’t understand the way I feel.

I’ve tried to figure it out.

I think about things I’ve done and said, and I come to a conclusion. I give myself a diagnosis. I am: fill in the blank.

Then I go about my life, holding on to that diagnosis.

I tell people what I’m like. Who I am.

Then one day I realize, it’s not true.

The diagnosis was all wrong.

So I give myself another.

Again, after some time I find myself fighting to stay true to it.

It’s not me.

It’s not who I am.

Over and over this happens.

That question under my bed is thriving.

It keeps my awake, putting thoughts in my head and watching them take off.

When I cry the tears soak through the bed to where the question, living underneath, feeds on them.

I finally figured out what I was doing.

I’m slapping labels on myself. I’m putting myself in a box. Each diagnosis is just a set of standards for the person I think I am or should be.

Then the box begins to fall apart and the labels start peeling off.

If I don’t stop I’ll soon be buried in mountains of misshapen cardboard.

I told myself I would stop.

But then, all this is just another diagnosis.