On the evening of this winter solstice, the longest and darkest night of the year, I swam out far from the coastline. To a point where I could see nothing but the deep blue below me, to a point where the fear of that unknown began to lodge and nag within my throat. I watched as the ocean gathered her energy and pulled into herself, rolling, pulsing, yearning for release. I let the white water crash on top of me, sinking me deep deep down until I could not tell which way was up. My ears rang, my eyes burned, my lungs ached. I did not breath. I let that sweet darkness swallow me. I stayed there, scared into stillness until I felt a light ignite within me. I knew where I had to go then. There is a darkness that has lived inside of me for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried everything to purge it, tried to burn it, starve it, carve it from my soul. I realize now that I am not meant to be rid of this shadow, that it belongs in me, with me, as much as the light. And it is my role on this earth and in this life to learn to understand it, to develop a relationship with it, to trust it. And that is what will set me free.