I've had my moments (ha! try weeks, months, years!) of darkness, but they've usually been situationally generated: unrequited love, inability to find work, etc. Sometimes, of course, an extended "situation" has led to deeper malaise -- such as my ongoing coming to terms with the fact that, at 50, at least two-thirds of my life is over and that I'm going to die -- but for the most part, I don't psychically live in a deep, dark pit of hopelessness and sorrow. One reason, I think, is that I have a pretty active and curious mind. I can often find SOMETHING to be interested in looking at or learning about; I can often get excited or inspired by SOMETHING, whether a song or a book or a political candidate or a really great pair of shoes or a raccoon peering in my window, what-have-you. Because I have this capacity, I am, however, often incapable of understanding that not everyone else does have it. I have been "shocked" time and time again over the years when confronted straight on by people who are TRULY dark and enamored of hopelessness. Part of me is constantly thinking, "Oh, they don't REALLY mean it" or "Oh, I can help 'snap them out of it' with my pure-of-heart Leo-ness." Ha!
Darkness is often celebrated in the arts, and I'm attracted to darkness in the arts because it seems "profound," deep. Plath's poems, Van Gogh's art, movies like "The Wall" or "Blue Velvet" or "Brazil." But by the time the depth of suffering has been translated to something palatable for mass consumption, it's been much watered down. It's relatively easy to relate to when compared to the initial impetus for the artistic shaping. I have not been thinking of the impetus, of the state of mind or very BEING of the creator, just of the result that they're able to wrest into a shape for their audience.
I have been thinking about this for the past several days in particular because of the recent gossip news about Lamar Odom, estranged husband of Khloe Kardashian, being found comatose after days of partying at a brothel. Their union and, later, troubles had been well-documented via "Keeping Up With the Kardashians": Most seemed to agree that it was a love match, even if Odom didn't act like it; although Odom eventually left KK to pursue drugs and whores, and Khloe was the one who filed divorce papers, she still expressed publicly that if it were up to her, she would still be with him. Then came the overdose, and she immediately flew to his side... "How Romantic," a part of me thought. "True love." I thought Odom's behavior over the past couple of years has been reprehensible, and yet I also semi-hoped that he would "snap out of it" and go back to the woman who loved him.
Well, as it turns out, Odom has the same birthday as someone I've been in love with for almost exactly 7 years now (Scorpios). Someone whose darkness I have been enmeshed in for 7 years, and whom I've been making mental excuses for. There is a connection between us, but she will not acknowledge it. She will be incommunicado for months, then suddenly "turn up." She's in AA and doesn't drink or do street drugs, but she's on quite the cocktail of psychiatric prescribed drugs, and has childhood and sexual addiction problems and a cloud of darkness that are similar to Odom's. And, like Khloe, I range in reaction to this person from "fuck you" to true worry about her well-being. Also like Khloe, I have made sincere efforts to help this person function in the day-to-day world: in my case, helping her with her resume, job leads, etc., and making it known that she would never be homeless as long as I myself have a place to live. Sometimes she has listened (a bit), sometimes she has cruelly said things like, "Get a life."
Sans any dramatic overdose or turning-up-on-my-doorstep on her part, there ain't gonna be a reunion, although my Romantic soul might have secretly wished for one. My words/thoughts/feelings don't reach her. What the whole Odom situation reminded me of was that there are people who simply don't want to be helped. There is a true darkness that they carry with them, and silly little things like "love" or "heartfelt wishes" don't mean anything. It's rays of light being sucked into a black hole. And for the person constantly sending out said "rays of light" and receiving not only no energy in return, but also a mega-dose of profound Nothingness, which is, I think, close to Evil... It's disheartening personally at first, but then the realization:
The sheep has stopped crying.
All morning in her wire-mesh compound
On the lawn, she has been crying
For her vanished lamb...
...It was not
That he could not thrive, he was born
With everything but the will --
That can be deformed, just like a limb.
Death was more interesting to him.
Life could not get his attention.
(Ted Hughes, 1974, from "Sheep")
And then today, I found this, by accident, on an acquaintance's Facebook page, from the poet Mary Oliver. Her words, too, are a gift. I have not wasted 7 years of my life. I have, instead, learned something true (however disturbing) about the soul of a person. I learned something profound.