Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dark Matter

Dark matter is a hypothetical substance that is believed by most astronomers to account for around five-sixths of the matter in the universe. Although it has not been directly observed, its existence and properties are inferred from its various gravitational effects: on the motions of visible matter; via gravitational lensing; its influence on the universe's large-scale structure, and its effects in the cosmic microwave background. Dark matter is transparent to electromagnetic radiation and/or is so dense and small that it fails to absorb or emit enough radiation to be detectable with current imaging technology. (Source: Wikipedia).
I've never struggled with addiction, fortunately, but I sympathize with addicts. I know addiction overtakes a person's sense of physical and emotional autonomy by exerting its dark force in life's negative spaces.

That's pretty much what my mind does to me, so I get it. Dark matter is an apt analogy, since the brain is gray matter, and everything else in between is mysterious and ... well ... dark.

The force of my own mental dark matter pulls in counterweight against the things I want to will myself to feel and be. It pulls and stretches the fabric of my little mental universe in invisible but noticeable ways that ultimately diminish my quality of life.

It's a sunny weekend day in Alaska, one of the most beautiful places on earth. My family and friends are having fun all around me. There's music and a ton of activities going on. Gravity tells me to enjoy it, to have fun, to be "present."

But the countervailing force of dark matter works against that gravity.

Dark matter pulls me back to bed. It tells me not to talk to anyone, though there's little I love more than people (and talking). Retreat, it says. Hide out coloring and blogging and listening to podcasts in your little cocoon. The one Geoff jokingly calls "The Valley of the Dolls," after that old film about depressed women reliant on pills.

Dark matter pulls my thoughts into its vortex, its black hole, where I can never be smart, attractive, or happy enough. It pulls me out of the present and backwards into the past where I made mistakes and wrong choices. To snapshots in time where if I had only said the right words at the right time, or worked harder at everything, I would be magically "happier" and dark matter would cease to exist.

But that's the paradox of dark matter: even when you can't see it, it's there. Even if you make changes, or should objectively be happy, it's there. 

And all you can do, every day, is keep pushing back against it.

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