Hidden Mr. Hyde
In the layers of our souls,
secrets hide never told.
Hidden from all prying eyes
covered here and there with lies.
Secrets we have never shared,
our soul’s dark corners, never bared.
Private places all our own
where seeds of small deceits are sown.
Secluded deep within our hearts,
deceptions we cannot impart.
Masked behind our public faces,
disguised to erase any traces.
Undisclosed these places stay
the dregs and dross of our dismay.
They represent our darker side
Our alter ego.... Mr. Hyde.
Rose S. Williams~1999
Hmm, what to start off with as a first blog? Does it matter, will anyone even see this, and if they do, will they care? Will this first blog turn off some, or perhaps intrigue others? Do I care, should I care? As the title of the blog states my quandary is this: Whatever shall I write?
I picture Scarlett O'Hara, the quinesential Southern Bell standing there in her billowing, tiered skirts surveying the ruins of what has become her world, fretting over what to do. Then, I see her smile, and that steely glint comes into her emerald eyes as she gets an idea. She won't go down without a fight. Others might not like what she is, but to hell with that.
To hell with writing what I think I should, why not write what I want! And so, this first blog is born :)
Afer pondering for a bit, I decide to lead into this with the poem above because when it came to me so many years ago, as I was struggling with who I really was. Actually to be truthful, I was struggling more with the newly found concept of who I wasn't. And it was in this realization that the poem was born.
So, inspired by my recent viewing of the 1st season of Dexter (via Netflix on Wii) I decided this poem would suffice to lead into my collection of thoughts here on the darker side of human nature which most of us so desperately try to hide from ourselves and others.
You know what I mean...that person you are at times that makes you feel guilty, ashamed, and unable to look at yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning. We all know the little gremlin that lives inside of us, but through years of societal shaping of our psyche, we deny it for the better parts of our lives.
Just for fun, let's give him a name. I think Id is appropriate, don't you? Whenever Id pops up his knotty little head, we shudder as we do or say things that are wrong, and then, for a minute think: Oh, what the hell! I'm tired of being GOOD! We become that darker part of ourselves, ignoring what's expected of us and delving into the seductive instinctual darkness of doing or being what we feel at that moment. We knock the hell out of the cartoon angel on our right shoulder and let Id reign.
Of course, I'm not saying that I'm hiding some deep, dark secret as nefarious as Dexter---a serial killer I'm not. Hell, I'm an anomaly of sorts as I, for although I live in the Deep South and grew up around guns and the culture of hunting, I cannot bring myself to kill anything. Most especially, not Bambi.
So, the hidden dark side I have is nothing like that, but it's there. It's there for all of us. We are all dark creatures that struggle with our "sins", our obsessions, our inability to be good all the time. As a matter of fact, there's quite the fascination with the dark side in our culture. Americans thrive on the spectacle of oddity and the inability to control oneself. Just look at some of the popular shows people watch: Biggest Loser, Hoarders, Intervention, to name a few. Even The Apprentice is a slice of dark pie, showing the lengths to which those of us with ample ambition and questionable morals will go to in an attempt to be the top dog.
Or, look at the popularity of the CSI and Law and Order series- we have a macabre need to see the killer that exists at one time or another in us all. We sit fascinated by the morbid obsessions of the serial killer, both awed and terrified by his lack of compassion and his inability to see his victims as individuals. We secretly question if that same darkness could be inside of us.
And even though, thankfully, the majority of us never have the compulsive and destructive nature of such people, we still shy from whatever form the darkness within us takes. Taught to be "good" children, and shaped from infancy by our parents, our teachers, and our peers, we struggle with the alter ego that lives within us all.
We are taught, both intentionally and sublimally, that Id is not our friend, he's not even the little red devil sitting on our left shoulder. He is the skulking, instinct-driven Gollum that we refuse to acknowledge into existence. And when he does surface, we are as horrified as we are confused. Where in the hell did this creature come from? And yet, there is a bit of morbid fascination with him, so we gawk as we scrub away our sins with prayers, or meditation. We force him back into that the dark corner of our soul where he belongs.
But still, we know he's there. And it's even alright that he exists, as long as we only see him in others.
Using Dexter as an example again--look at how we find ourselves rooting for his character. Yes, he is serial killer, BUT, he kills the bad guys (and girls, he doesn't discriminate) he gives them what they deserve. He gives them death, that final judgment that even society can't seem to hand out to them anymore what with all the controversy that surrounds the death penalty.
We're on his side, we don't want him to be caught, and even if we can watch when he makes a kill (well I can't, at least, except from behind my hands covering my face), we celebrate the darkness that allows him to do the deed. His own internal struggles with who he is, and why he is the way he is, is a bit of insight into our own darkness.
Therapy works for some, as it did for Dexter, in an episode from the first season. During the sessions he got a glimpse of why he was the way he was. It was a tiny piece of a complex puzzle that left us wanting more than the two second glimpes into his childhood and some horrific tragedy that warped his psyche, but we felt a glimmer of hope for him...and maybe for ourselves. Perhaps our innate goodness is there, but unless we safely maneuver the treacherous waters of childhood without drowning, or at least being occasionally held under against our will, we too will become warped, defective, or at the very worst saturated with the darkness that lurks beneath our surface.
For many, there's no money or inclination for therapy. And in truth, therapy doesn't work for everyone. So for many people, their obsessions, compulsions, and addictions take hold and thwart any attempt to become or remain normal. Whatever their vices are, be it alcohol, drugs, sex, tendencies to hoard possessions or animals, any number of problems all become part of who the person is. Struggling with an addiction while trying to maintain a job, relationship or simply surviving the various landmines that daily Life throws our way is near impossible. Hell, even without the cinder block of addictions tied around our necks, Life can be incredibly difficult and tiring.
So how do we traverse the delicate path that is Life? How do we not succumb, how do we maintain a modicum of normalcy amidst the darkness that lurks there amongst our thoughts and deeds? Will it blind us to look into the dark light long enough to realize its value, it's intrinsic worth to our own humanity? Can we live with the dual nature of our souls, the good and bad parts that are both necessary? The term necessary evil comes to mind at this point. If there was no darkness to human nature, how would we truly value to goodness to be found?
As humans, we probably wouldn't.
Dexter is told by the therapist to embrace his dark side, for then he will no longer fear it and will be freed from his fear of being discovered. Perhaps that's the answer we should ponder and embrace: Acknowledging and accepting that we are infallible, we may yet survive with our wits and dignity intact. Yes, we will struggle from the day we are born until the day we die to keep the dark at bay and let our good qualities prevail.
For some, the struggle will be epic and insurmountable. For others, still a struggle, but obtainable . For all it will be balance between the light and dark, between positive choices and negative influences, between knowing in our heart what is right and having the will and decency to act upon it. But, we will prevail precisely because we acknowledge the darkness that exists, and refuse to succumb to it. Acknowledging is not succumbing.
In my humble opinion, knowing that difference is how we keep our Id contained.