Oxford


Image Source: JPGFOTOS

Between black and white lies subtlety and nuance. Shades of gray and pale, balance and symmetry. Comfort in the margins. I try to straddle the line, to keep my balance in the middle. I have been too low before.

I have known the depths of black. I’ve lived the terror of merely showing up: at school, never knowing when and where the next attack would come from; at social situations, not trusting that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself. I’ve felt the agony that kept me barely functional, sometimes kept me unable to even get out of bed, always left me wondering WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME that I can’t just get past the depression.

I have lived with loss and felt like I was losing it all. I’ve done things I never would have thought I would do just to see if I still felt. I’ve lived hard and wondered if I would make it to advanced age. I’ve lived with the ferocity of the gods and left myself a shell of an existence.

I have seen myself get ahead of myself, spiraling away like eddies on the water. I’ve caught up with myself, and gotten away from myself again. I’ve repeated patterns that should never be repeated.

I have watched my life spin completely out of control and crash into a wall.

And I’ve recovered and found balance. I’ve conquered demons and found peace. I’ve struggled and regained control. I’ve worked to reclaim and rewrite myself. I’ve pulled myself out of the black, and into the gray.

I am in a gray area. Gray suits me well.

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37 comments
  1. This is steeped in emotion that comes from way down – with experience. How eloquently put. No one who hasn’t gone through this can fully understand that the world is truly black for people who are in this experience. It’s the way William Styron described it in his book, “Darkness Visible.” It really is a darkness visible.

    • Oooh, I’m going to have to read that! Thanks for the tip! And for stopping by.

  2. writerwendyreid said:

    Great post Brian. Grey is neither happy or sad, rich or poor, full or empty. Grey suits me just fine as well.

    • Good thing my inlaws are in Seattle, eh?

  3. I don’t know what to say Brian. It is my new favorite though.

    • You’re too awesome, Hobbler, thanks.

  4. goddam! Opening lines sucked me right in.
    A fantastic character piece. Held me the whole way throug. Looking forwrd to re-reading it in a bit.

    • RE-read?!? Holy awesome!!!

      • Yep, even better a day later.

  5. This is wonderful. I can share it with my clients who suffer from depression, low self esteem and anxiety. Having somebody put words to those feelings in such an artistic and accurate way is validating.

    Living in the gray, recognizing and embracing it, is a good thing.

    • Glad to share. Anything, if it will help someone else.

  6. Well-worded coloured analogy. Well done!

    • Well, Bob’s your uncle!

      • Not familiar w/”Bob’s your uncle”….is that a good thing?

  7. Hah! Jots, Bob’s your uncle is a catch-all British phrase used to express excitement or surprise. Use it in place of Damn! or Wow! or Holy Shit!

  8. Brian this is awesome! I can’t think of the words to describe how perfect this is. Such an accurate, scary, and beautiful description of the black and the grey. I read once that Dick Cavett called depression a “black dog” that follows you around. That has stuck with me for many years. Like this, it is such an apt description.

    • Anne! Thank you so much! I’m so glad this piece has resonated with you and so many, although I hate that the black dog (love Cavett!) has followed you around. Hope you’re enjoying your own bit of Oxford…

  9. free penny press said:

    I have traveled the thin gray line for years now.. it’s a comfort zone as iI too have been in both color spectrums before..
    nicely penned (or typed, or penciled)
    lynne

    • Solidarity, sistah. You’re not alone.

  10. settleandchase said:

    brave and true..

    • Write what you know, right? *grin*

  11. WordsFallFromMyEyes said:

    Excellently spoken. Gray … you gave me a whole new perspective on it. Aint such a dull colour at all – it’s chameleon; takes on your perspective.

    • Thank you so much! Yeah, gray is good, at least after a lot of black. Getting lighter all the time.

      I’m so glad you’re here, Words… Thanks!

  12. I like the color theme :)

    • Hey, thanks! It’s been a blast experimenting with these themes the past few weeks. One more tomorrow!

      BTW, my dear doppelganger gave me the nouns “delta” last week and “color” this week, so major thanks to her. I suggest you check her out. http://bluebirdblvd.wordpress.com/

      Thank you so much for dropping by! Please come back…

  13. Most of life takes place in the various hues between dark and light. Love this.

    • So true, right? Thanks, Stacie. Happy straddling.

  14. hello, brian,

    you said it so well… comfort in the margins, living in gray and going ahead of oneself, spiralling…^^

    in a world ruled by people who take comfort in black and white, it is soothing to hear one such voice, one eloquent narrative of anguish and yet spoken with such conviction. glad you’ve recovered and found your balance. ^^

    thanks for telling it this way and for sharing. best regards! :)

    • 35…, thank you so much. Your comment made my morning. Thank you so much for stopping in and sharing! Our little community grows…

  15. I really love the pacing of this piece and the ideas (ohmaigah!), but what I really love is this line right here:

    “I have watched my life spin completely out of control and crash into a wall.”

    Nicely done, sir. Very nicely done!

    • Oh, I know crashing. Kind of a specialty of mine. ;)

      • Actually, do you know what came to mind? Bowie’s extra-dark, Berlin-infused “Always Crashing In The Same Car.”

  16. Love me some Bowie, I do…

  17. Rebecca Booth said:

    Beautiful writing, you are a natural. You’ve managed to describe your feelings eloquently. I’m glad you’ve recovered and found balance, I think that’s the hardest part.

    • Good to be here with you all. *grin*

    • Damn, 35. I am so touched. I’m not participating in peer awards anymore, NOTHing personal, but seriously, I’m blown away by your kindness. Thank you so much.

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