where my demons hide

 When you feel my heat /Look into my eyes

It’s where my demons hide / It’s where my demons hide

 Don’t get too close / It’s dark inside

It’s where my demons hide / It’s where my demons hide

                                               –From “Demons” by Imagine Dragons


It has been a pivotal theme in centuries of great literature. It is Joseph Conrad’s “heart of darkness.” It is the “dark night of the soul” penned by 16th century mystic Saint John of the Cross. It is the tragic flaw the drives MacBeth to his doom. It is the crime in Crime and Punishment. It’s what drives those awful kids in Mean Girls.

Carl Jung called it the shadow.  It’s that dark place we all carry within us. That place we strive to keep hidden from the world. That thing about our past, or our present, or our expectations of the future that we are most unwilling to show or share. That piece of myself I find hardest to love.

We all have it. The irony is that sometimes the harder we work to keep it under wraps, the more we inadvertently trumpet it to the world.

I’ve been thinking about my demons lately. My misplaced negativity. My petty grudges and resentments. All the signals I send that say, “don’t get too close, it’s dark inside.”

I’ve been thinking about my demons because something happened lately that brought them to the forefront. It started with a conversation— a conversation in which I just may have offered up a fleeting glimpse of the dark place where my demons hide.

A conversation that stayed with me long after the tea cups were washed and put away. A conversation that rattled around in the back of my brain for a couple of weeks while I went about my daily busy-ness. A conversation that validated my anger and gave me permission to feel hurt.

A conversation that made no attempt whatsoever to contradict or debate or change anything about me.

Paradoxically, a conversation that changed me. Shone a light into a dark place. Someone dared to look into my eyes, and in the process stared down a couple of particularly tenacious demons. I can’t even really put into words what changed. All I know is that there is a particular anger that I have been carrying around for a long time that suddenly just isn’t there.

I think that’s called grace.



10 thoughts on “where my demons hide

  1. I really liked this, It has an ambiguity to it, but still remains in tact with regards to the subject – I like how you were able to do that. (also, I like Imagine Dragons =) ) We all have that place. Some are just more willing to acknowledge it and deal it with, some take longer to do so, and others may simply ignore it forever or pretend it doesn’t exist.

  2. Boy, I read this a few times…its really quite nice. I especially like the last few lines. Not just that they resolve things but rather sum it up… does that make sense? Hope so.

  3. It is amazing what a single conversation can do, when you aren’t expecting it to touch a nerve and it does. It can be so therapeutic, and maybe that’s how it’s suppose to work. It’s when we are most comfortable and we are able to let our guards down just enough that we can experience things like this. I am so glad you commented on my blog and told me about this post! I truly enjoyed reading it! Kudos!

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