What does lights out mean? If last year was about getting honest with other people, this year is about getting honest with myself.
2020 has caught many people by surprise, and for the vast majority of us, it hasn’t been a good one. At first I thought that although opportunities to be successful would be scarce during this time, I would make the absolute most of each one that came my way. And in turn, I figured that since much more time would be spent at home, I would buckle down, open my notebook, and create like never before. After all, this time was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, so what better time? Well, in theory, I suppose. In actuality, been more complicated than that; the ideal hasn’t been the reality. This year has weighed heavy in every way, and the darkness I shielded myself in during Lights Out was just the reprieve I’ve needed. It’s been quiet, but it’s been space to exhale. In these past seven months or so, just getting through has been enough. It was like so often, literally and figuratively, I was holding my breath and trying to simply step into the next moment. Without the lights, I had a few chances to breathe out, and I was able to feign balance long enough to get by.
Originally, the inspiration for the title of this project was one of those nights when I just couldn’t fall asleep. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness surrounding me but the sleep still wouldn’t come and my mind was reeling. I thought about my creative projects, the day ahead of me, and my long-term goals in life. All good thoughts, and although I desperately wanted to get some rest, I felt so connected to my own mind, spirit, and creativity.
The past few months have felt like a dazed half-sleep of sorts, kind of like that in-between of nights when sleep won’t completely take over. We always hear “lights out” right before we’re supposed to go to bed, and though I’ve been painstakingly awake, the fog that’s covered me has acted as a buffer between myself and the world around me. There was a lot of darkness and barely any color seeping through, but there was a peace in that that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I used the darkness as a coping mechanism and a survival skill, but I’ve questioned when it would be time for an awakening. A piece of me always yearned to let a little bit of light back in, and to lift the fog. But it’s a funny thing, trying to decide if you’re ready. Are we ever really ready for a big change?
In the dark and the quiet, that’s when I could be completely honest with myself. The internal spotlight was switched off. I didn’t have to be anything. No more masks. No more fronts. Reputation out the window. Oddly enough, I loved that feeling.
However, the dawn always comes. It often shows up when we’re the least prepared and the most vulnerable, but I cannot allow myself to fear it. I’m in a dawning, and while it is new and unfamiliar, by nature it is beautiful. Light doesn’t always have to be a harsh spotlight; it can come in the form of a hazy glow of the sun rising on the horizon. There’s a cover that comes with the darkness in a time of lights out, and the breathing comes easy. But there comes a point when that can’t be all that I’m looking for, and it can’t be all that I accept. I’ve reached a point where I think, ready or not, I’m going to seek out the light. Dawning and awakening are happening in unison. I feel as though I am rising up in this moment just the same, but I’ve also learned that it can be the biggest blessing to draw back into a time of lights out when you need one.
But, for now, I’m ready for lights on.
Much Love, Quinn
Crazy cat lady. Exploratory writer. Much love.