Braving dark corners

When was the last time you peered into the dark corners of your life?

Taken one step further, when is the last time you peered and did something about what you saw instead of quickly looking away?

Despite having put the task off for ages, that is how I spent my afternoon.

You can erase the image of me on a therapist’s couch, replaying childhood memories.

I spent my afternoon with a shop vac.

In a lot of dark corners.

In case you are not familiar with my lack of Bob Villa-esque prowess, let me assure you I am no handywoman.

I’m also a bit of the stereotypical gal—not crazy about spiders, tools, beef jerky.

So the shop vac and dark corner bit was not my idea of a fun-filled afternoon.

I have decided, however, that dark corners are only scary when they are not peered into and dealt with by yours truly.

After my divorce several years ago, I cleaned out the basement. It’s been a multi-layered process, as I was not ready to do it all at once. When you have experienced emotional loss, physical loss—even of items you no longer need—can feel like more of the same. Sometimes, it takes a bit of time to be ready to purge the trappings of a life you are no longer living. And that’s ok—as long as you do move on in due time.

A lot of things found a new home and I felt lighter after the first round. I’m sure my feng shui score went up astronomically. But the messy bit—the truly digging into the dark corners (literally) still had to happen.

I’m not sure what your basement looks like, if you have one, but mine is generally clean. In the dark corners, however (think furnace room, concrete floor, utility shelving), you might find cobwebs. Drywall dust. Dead spiders. All the things the girly side of me likes to avoid.

Spider Web
All the things the girly side of me likes to avoid . . .

The thing is, it was time for them to go. Because fresh starts and new beginnings, for me, need to encompass all layers.

As I vacuumed and sneezed, ran a host of old wood moldings to the curb, reorganized my staple items on the utility shelves, I was focused. Intent on getting the job done and getting the heck out of there.

But when I finished, I found myself smiling. Lingering to admire my handiwork.

Why? Because we all know people (sometimes we are those people) who avoid their own dark corners. Over time, they fail to notice a crumbling foundation—be it their house or their relationship. The cobwebs can take over in unused/unlived areas of a home or a life.

Technically and metaphorically, that person is no longer me.

I have the spotless corners and full shop vac to prove it.

And don’t forget the smile. The smile is really what gives me away.

I dare say, at least for today, it lights up dark corners.

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26 Comments Add yours

  1. shunpwrites says:

    Your metaphorical musings are my favorite Kay, thanks for the kick in the tush!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! It was A gentle but effective kick, I hope :-).

  2. I’m a chronic purger. It’s all good until my husband asks “where’s my stuff?” Oops.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ah, yes. I can relate:). I seem to remember an argument over a missing empanada press many moons ago . . . and here I thought I was just being efficient!

  3. It doesn’t surprise me that you’re brave enough to face your dark corners 🙂 I don’t have a basement, but at some point I must clear out my loft!

    1. candidkay says:

      Same concept but so much lighter, you lucky thing:). I feel lighter with each passing day, as I clear out more of the unnecessary. I know you do this well . . .at least in your writing!

  4. cindy says:

    After years of realizing we couldn’t have baby#2 – I was able to clean out and purge 8 years of baby & kids stuff. Ahh… But, like you, it had to be the right time for me. It was my way of dealing with the loss and gain and being able to move forward! Didn’t realize what I had done until reading your blog and reflecting back. Your blogs are always so enlightening! Thanks, friend!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I’m sure that could not have been easy at the time. But I am so glad you were able to because I think acceptance is freeing when it finally comes. Thanks for always reading and your support!

  5. darlasue22 says:

    Greatness! Tough and courageous to do.

    1. candidkay says:

      I didn’t realize how courageous until I found a dead mouse:). Luckily, not so long dead and just a stray–no buddies, it seems. Who would have thought peering into basement corners scarier than life’s corners? 🙂

  6. darlasue22 says:

    Reblogged this on The Love We Crave and commented:
    Greatness! It takes tremendous courage to identify and deal with those dark corners.

  7. I love cleaning corners or anywhere for that matter. Alas, I live with three messy men and its not always easy.

    1. candidkay says:

      Don’t you wish they issued gold stars for that? 🙂 I think they should. Whoever “they” are.

  8. srbottch says:

    ‘ Cleaning out’ is a good process. I could hear the sigh of relief when you finished. And I picture a confident woman standing with her hands on hips, love king rejuvenated. When we moved, we had so much ‘crap’ that we scrapped, gave away or sold. It made the move into our latest house that much easier. We trying hard not to be ‘accumulators’ in the new place. As my wife says. “Less is more!” And I’m starting to believe her after 46 yrs.

    1. candidkay says:

      I am betting a “lightness of being” came through when you got rid of things, right? I like knowing I’ve not overcomplicated my own life:). And I bet you and your wife are enjoying the fruits of that in your own lives!

      1. srbottch says:

        Well, it certainly may have for her because that was her mantra for awhile. I still have a hard time ridding myself of old stuff that reminds me of old stuff. I think some of it is reflected in what I try to write.

  9. cristi says:

    Yep. Right there with you! You are so-o inside my head…the same, but different. “…Purge the trappings of a life you are no longer living.” Amen, sister! Keep doing the work through all the layers and above all keep on smiling 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Toasting you over the din of the shop vac:).

  10. trillie says:

    “Over time, they fail to notice a crumbling foundation—be it their house or their relationship.”
    That is so true. Sigh. I still wish I could cling to looking away from those, but the curtain has dropped. 😦

    1. candidkay says:

      On to the next act. . .

  11. You can’t buy that type of healing on a counselors couch in a fit Kay 🙂
    Standing in your truth is a heartfelt journey, and requires courage and a love of self…well done soldier 🙂

  12. Cleaning out these dark places, can be challenging but you are so right, it liberate’s our spirit and our energy and always brings a smile on my face too! Great post Kay, I wish everyone would get downstairs and face those scary corners!!

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m all in the on the everyone bit! If they could focus on my dark corners. But I guess it doesn’t work that way, does it? 🙂

      1. No it definitely doesn’t, most people don’t want to face their dark corners and if they can avoid it, they will!

  13. Amy says:

    Oh, what vicarious pleasure it is for me to stand beside you in spirit and beam over work well done! You inspire me, dear friend, in ways both technical and metaphorical. xoxo

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! Better there in spirit. It was pretty dusty and dirty in person:). xoxo

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