When I was four years old, I vividly remember waking up in the middle of the night and crying. I was terrified of the dark. I didn’t know why, but the idea of not seeing where I was or knowing what was happening always seemed to scare me. This led to me running off to my parents’ room several times to make sure nothing was coming out to get me. My parents got tired of this routine and found a solution. The next day, my dad brought a huge pack of glow-in-the-dark stars, planets, and sea creatures. We spent all day with my brother throwing them all over the walls and ceiling, getting covered in double-sided tape in the process. So that night, instead of trembling in fear before I went to bed, I eagerly turned the lights off and stared in wonder. My dad also gave me a flashlight and told me, “Always bring light with you wherever you go.”
While I did not turn out to be the next Mae Jameson like my dad wanted, (for some reason, he was convinced one of me or my siblings would be an astronaut), I promised him to always bring light with me. This led to my obsessive glow-in-the-dark collection and the numerous flashlights in my childhood home. It seems like such a silly thing to do, but when it’s hurricane season on the East Coast, rest assured that the Duprey household is never dark. At the time, I took his words literally I like to think I use them metaphorically as well. As I grew up, I slowly started to realize that, just like my bedroom, the world can be very dark and scary. I grew up watching buildings fall, and people mourn loved ones. I learned, though, that it is the people who bring light during these dark times and that remind you that there is nothing to be scared of. Whatever life throws at you, they will be there to help you see that it will be OK. I’ve always been the kind of person that looks on the bright side, and if you ask any of my friends, they will tell you of the several ways in which I embarrassingly love and support them, no matter what time and place.
Although I do try to be this light the world so desperately needs right now, sometimes I find myself with low batteries, waiting for a change that would make me as bright as before. It’s at times like this I find myself staring at the ceiling of my apartment, wondering where all the glow-in-the-dark stars went and how I got so much older. It feels like only yesterday I was throwing double-sided tape at my brother. Whenever I have that fear of the unknown and uncertainty of what’s going to happen next, I find myself outside staring at the real stars that light up the night. It’s what I did after my first heartbreak, when I lost a loved one, and when I found myself unsure of how to finish college. Something about their celestial beauty brings back the calming childlike wonder that I had on that scary night. It’s a simple but reassuring constant in my life that reminds me of a simpler time.
While I am no longer afraid of the dark, I am scared of the dark, unknown abyss that is my future. I never know what’s going to happen next, but I find myself surrounded by those who love me and playing with a flashlight in my pocket. Life is dark and scary but always remember to bring light.