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A Million Shades of Grey

In a world that is so divided, I am a human contradiction. I am a million shades of grey. Constantly torn between conflicting emotions. Different views. A shame of how I have lived with a pride that I have made it out. A self doubt if I will be understood and a confidence of where I stand. Wanting to belong while yearning for the safety of seclusion. Wanting to be outdoors, feeling the wind on my face, the sun scorching my skin, while staying socially distant. Without the breath of another. Without the touch. Without the human interaction.

My only scope of the world through what I have been shown, taught. What I have experienced. The world has been cruel and also very kind. It has been rough but also gentle. I find myself wanting to hide from the frictions and fractures that have surfaced. After seeing how much pain and damage still exists. Fearful but grateful some exposed who they are. So I can see. You have shown yourself. Or a side. As much as I have.

Without ever fully exposing it all. The monsters that lurk below the surface. The embarrassment of who I am or where I've been. The life I've led, the choices I've made while acknowledging the shame, I also acknowledge a lack of regret. Knowing, realizing, all of it was with a purpose. A lesson. Maybe of just revealing the shadow of myself I was uncomfortable seeing. Maybe the shadows I was incapable of noticing. Maybe unearthing the parts of me I was too delicate to admit. When the truth is all in me. It is all real.

I am spiritual, I am dark.

I am angry, I am soft.

I have been left, but not abandoned.

I have been neglected while I am loved.

I have felt alone while being surrounded.

I have felt free while being locked away.

I have been accepted while viewed as an outcast.

I have spoken while engulfed with fear.

I have had faith while I hid.

All connected. All within me. The dark. The light. The shame, the pride. The laughter, the grief. The messy, the cleansed.

There is so much I want to see within me, there is so much not within my grasp.

Yet I still want to search while being aware of the parts that are lost. I want to know those monsters. These monsters hold the gold. The gift of acceptance, understanding, insight, connecting to others who can relate even when I can't to myself.

I am seldom ever white or black. Yet that is how I seek to view others. Placing them on one side or the other in my mind. When I, myself, am constant variations of grey. Confused, murky, unclear, contradictory. But within that grey is a clarity and recognition. I hope to reach as long as I keep admitting. As long as I continue allowing. All equal parts, with equal importance. Equal power and validity. To deny any would be denying a piece of me. Who I am. A truth. No matter how complex or deep it may sink. However confusing it may seem.

I want to run, at the same time I want to feel settled. I want to scream at the same time I want to cry. I want to embrace while I feel the need to repel. I want to accept you as I judge.

Your thoughts, your choices, your lack of compassion. At the same time, I see my own intolerance. Of your belief while despising that you can't see mine.

I want things different, but then would they be real? Is the contradiction what makes us authentic? The shades where our perceptions can mutate, and see another way. Another shade. I want my son to grown in a world without so much chaos, but also honoring without it I might not notice the calm. Through the noise, I chase the silence. Only after the battle, I know the relief. The beauty of peace after the agony of war. Finding what I want by first seeing what I don't. The gift of it all. The lessons. The ying and the yang.

As we watch the world unfold, the blatant opinions being flung, as I hear my own voice speak out, I must remember to embrace the grey. The aspects of what I have seen, how I have lived, my experiences being different than others. Leading to a different view. A different variation. Teach myself along with him the importance of the contradiction. The contradiction that exists in us all. All of us both sides. The power of each. One only existing because of the other, feeding the other. The truth of one causing the reality of the other.

Can I be defined by my beliefs? Can I label others by a single view? An interpretation? Or is that just a portion of who we are? Can we see the other side knowing there is a part of that in each of us. A different variation. Based on what we have seen. What we have witnessed. What we have been shown or taught. When there may be a conflicting emotion brewing under the surface. One that others don't know or can't see. One I only know is there within me. One that makes us more human only if shared. The dichotomy, the duality, the contradiction, of the million variations that make me, me. The complex, the confusing, the necessary shades of grey.

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Josie L James
Josie L James
Nov 23, 2020

Thank you so much Lisa! ❤️


Lisa Dymond
Lisa Dymond
Nov 23, 2020

Jojo! I love the list of “I ams...” and “I haves...” because of the space between the contradictions that make the paradox...the “necessary shades of grey.” I left your piece feeling more understood within myself. Beautiful.

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