I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people’s eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth. -Sylvia Plath
I was reading this some time ago, and it fascinated me. I began to ponder about shadows, and their beauty.
Shadows, for me… are the real story behind smiles in photographs. The hidden, imperfect world behind pretty facades. We are always attracted to the bright things, and automatically shield away from the darker sides.
And though looking at the bright lights can be seen as a source of inspiration, sometimes the darker side tells a story that reaches far deeper into our hearts.
The shadows are the ugly reality but also the beautiful truths. The fragile humanity, along with the struggles and the tears. And the untold stories too precious to be put into words and too deep to be simplified into colorful photographs.
And I wonder… that maybe the world would have more compassion, and a little less comparison… If people were to also look for the shadows behind the blinding lights.
It’s foolish to ever assume that there are wars won without a haunting battle. That there are victories, without sacrifices.
Sometimes, I wish to listen about stories of how you dealt with the skeletons in the closet, how you slept with the monster under the bed, and how you faced the boggart inside the wardrobe. Because for me, those are the real stories about courage.
Slowly, I want to learn how to appreciate the shadows behind the vibrant lights. I don’t want to just know about your colors. I don’t want to just hear about your dreams and accomplishments, as great as they may be.
Tell me about your shadows. The struggles that made you who you are. The hardships that you’ve overcame and are battling against.
All of us are fragments of an imperfect story about a broken down world. But it can be a beautiful tale, if we bother to look beyond the facades of the blinding lights.