On the Beauty of Shadows


(SINGAPORE, Sentosa) We forget that shadows are things of beauty too. (Photo taken by the author.)

(SINGAPORE, Sentosa) We forget that shadows are things of beauty too. (Photo taken by the author.)

Peripateia celebrated its fourth year anniversary exactly four days ago. I didn’t mark the occasion because there were other occasions that needed to be marked. But now, I have a bit of space to think about the various roles this blog plays in my life.

Strangely enough, this is what I concluded: Peripateia is where I nurture my secret selfthe one place whose sanctity I refuse to surrender to the agendas of all my other selves. Many people who know what I do for a living often suggest I use this blog as a means to further my livelihood.

But I can’t imagine doing that.

Ever.

Because there are things I do for a living. And then there are things I do simply because I’m alive.

Writing in this blog is one of those things I do simply because I’m alive.

Like breathing.

And blinking.

And thinking.

Of course, it seems counter-intuitive to nurture a secret self in such a public domain. But that’s the blessing (and the curse) of social media, it seems. We’re all so busy sharing our secret (or not-at-all) secret selves that there’s no one left to do the viewing and the listening.

At least that’s what I think. Which could be wrong. And if it’s wrong, it’s a misconception I have no intention of correcting, because it’s this fiction of actual-anonymity-under-full-exposure that allows me to write from my secret self.

Occasionally, voices will sound back from the abyss. They say a number of things, but most are variations of a single refrain:

Why do you always sound so…dark when you write?

Does anyone ask a raindrop why it makes a splish-splash sound when it lands?

But yes, I get it. Often, there seems to be a disconnect between what I do for a living and what I do simply because I’m alive. But these dark and secret regions of almost chronic…melancholy nurture the roots of the things I do in life. The writing, the teaching, the mentoring, the reaching outall these things that branch out into the sunlight have their source in a black and sunless earth.

(This is the part where I skip as many clichés as I can about positives and negatives, yin and yang, day and night, and so on and so forth.)

In all truth, there’s no disconnect between my shadow and my light.

So let its inky darkness dance where it can.

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