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There Is No Light Without Dark

When I hear someone else say something that is totally compelling, the words resonate in the back of my head until they settle like superglue behind my eyes. My thoughts simply won't allow me to proceed with the rest of my day without the scribbling of a pen or a brush of keystrokes to preserve it before it fades from memory. My mind, as most of you know if you've read Walls and/or plan to read The Reaper Trials, is strangely twisted. If I hear it, see it, or feel it, I must write it. It's not a choice. It's a necessity.

Thousands of quotes, story ideas, character charts, world-building maps, first drafts, revised drafts, and countless other writings litter my desk at the office, in my home, and by my bed...so when I heard Doctor Christopher Ryan from the Joe Rogan Experience podcast say the quote that changed my day on March 11th, 2015, you bet I had to come home and write it down before I had the chance to forget it.

So what was the quote, you ask?

There is no light without dark.

Simple, right? But for some reason, those six words bounced between my frontal cortex, brainstem, and somehow synced up with my beating heart simultaneously in the span of fifteen weird, impenetrable minutes.

Think about it. You can't truly enjoy good food without the ability to feel hunger. That steak always tastes so much better when you're so starving that you could literally feed on your own left hand.

You can't enjoy peace without the occasional chaos. Those moments of silence really mean something after you've just endured a classroom of 30 high schoolers all with their own questions, concerns, and stories.

You can't enjoy relaxation without stress. When Friday hits and you've just completed a hard five days of time-crunching work, that REM sleep feels like none other.

(Yup, that's a Supernatural drop if you didn't notice.)

The truth is, there is a yin to every yang in our weird little existence we call life. It's what allows us to fully experience the extent of pleasure, joy, and satisfaction.

I am completely convinced: There is truly no light without dark.

I'm always fascinated with the idea of our species' condition. There are so many stories about humans getting caught in horrible, tragic, or unfair situations, yet rising from the ashes like a phoenix to accomplish something great. Humans are burdened with immeasurable fear so that we are burdened with the ability to overcome it. It's like we understand our own destiny a little too well. I think that's why we endure so many painful experiences over the course of our lives, so that we can always strive to attain those ever-elusive moments of inspiration and ecstasy.

I think life is what it's like for a reason. We are meant for something great. We always have been. It's just a matter of enduring the dark so that we can bask in the light.

 

 

The Part That Beauty Plays

Beauty. What the hell does that word mean anyway? We hear it all the time. We study it in school, watch it on television, listen to it in music...we even shove it into our mouths at restaurants! But if you think of the word in its entirety, you will see nothing but a hollow two-syllable semantic people are willing to drop everything for.

Our culture is full of steamy, steamy propaganda--a boiling pot of water just waiting to overflow, spilling through a kitchen like a tsunami of everything we have ever wanted to hear. Especially now, in the twenty-first century, where you can sit behind a computer, find literally anything you have ever wanted or needed and have it shipped to your doorstep in 3-5 business days. There is no doubt that companies, organizations, or any sort of institution wants you to understand that you are human and, because of that, you have the distinct possibility of succumbing to "beautiful" things.

Beautiful Things

Sounds like a book title, right? Well, in this case, I don't think you'd really want to read it if it was.

The human brain is a fickle thing. It relies on the constructs put in place by its evolution for millennia, like the two s words: survival and sex. This is not entirely a bad thing. After all, where would the human race be without its need to preserve legacy?

I'll tell you where. Nowhere. We wouldn't exist. It's simple science.

Instead, we would have given way to another species somewhere hundreds of thousands of years ago. Or, well, at least I presume that would have been the case.

Yet here we are...mainly because of our biological principles, but just like everything in life, however, those same biological principles sometimes get us into serious trouble. Watch beer commercials, Showtime or HBO shows, rated R movies, or a reality show on ABC, it's everywhere. It's unfair, but it's everywhere. Media uses survival and sex (mostly sex) to gauge the interest of its people, particularly men. Why connect with the hearts of men when it's easier to grab them by the balls? Kind of like this:

If you are American (which I assume my readership is as of right now), you have struggled with your biological desires in the form of making societal decisions without even knowing it. It's been engrained in you from the moment you were born to whatever age you are now. It's propaganda.

Now here's the point:

I'm not interested in a one-man front against the ways society pushes us to make decisions. I'm not even interested in changing anything that these companies do. I'm only interested in how it affects me, how you choose to let it affect you, and how to move on in achievement.

I am in a constant search for true beauty, not what is shoved in my face, but the little things that have the power to change a mentality from dead to awe in a matter of seconds. I look for a single ray of sunlight breaking through the jilted branches of an old oak tree in the winter. I listen for the high note in the climax of a favorite anthem. I look for the taste of a favorite meal, steaming on a warmed plate. I look for the conversations between two or more people--accents, emotion. I am constantly reaching for inspiration.

If you allow your environment to dictate your actions, you are only as good as what you can offer to that environment. If you break away from those same confines, you no longer need reassurance. You only need to trust in yourself to find a way to rise above it all. As a writer, I take the "beauty" I see around me and twist it into something different--an alternate universe of sorts where I control what happens, where I control the fate of everything involved. To me, the images, ideas, and power that come from my mind is a way to keep me from going insane.

It's not enough to live one life. I must live infinitely. I must live in everything.

True beauty isn't a concept. It's not in a Victoria Secret model's walk or body shape. It's not colors hidden in the deepest sunset.

True beauty is a choice to be better than who you are right now. It's the decision to undergo a project that might physically, emotionally or spiritually hurt, but will rise you like a phoenix from the ashes of culture. It is an action to pry the roots of human fundamentalism and believe that humanity is no longer grounded, but limitless in the ideas we choose to pursue. Welcome to the twenty-first century, where life is what you make of it, where limits are only held in place if you allow them to hold you there.

Choices.

Decisions.

Actions.

I believe I sense a pattern here.

Go forth and do something great with your lives. I know I will.

R.T.