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  • Marya Kazmi

Welcome to the Dark Side

Humans are complex, we cannot be defined in black and white as good or evil. The gray is where our truths lie and we all carry both. How often and to what degree they show up speaks to our character and self awareness of both. I have been on this journey of self awareness for over a year. It began with someone who was at first my spiritual advisor and now much more as a dear friend. She ignited this acute awareness of myself that once I began the exploration I was compelled to continue for life.

Then this January I was sharing a story about a current challenge I was experiencing with my children with a girlfriend and she asked me the most blunt question that opened up this mental Pandora's’ box I have now been uncovering about the darker sides of myself I didn’t honestly acknowledge. She asked, “What made you think everything was going to just be easy and fall into place when you separated?” I stood there stunned and speechless. Rare things for a woman who has words for everything. The truth is, that pointed and true critical friend question rearranged my entire thought process that night. I couldn’t honestly see myself as a victim of circumstances any longer.

I have been healing from the consequences of this marriage for over four years, but the unpredictable journey of healing, is that you uncover thought patterns you didn't know existed. These are often buried deep beneath the surface so the only way to see their presence is when life or someone pushes you to see them. When life shows you, it often results in extreme pain and challenges you then have to heal your way through, which has been the universe's MO with me for months now. I was grateful that in this case, it was someone who pushed me and not my life going up in flames. This realization helped me heal more because it has allowed me to take an honest look at the exposed and damaged parts of myself that have led me to hurt others or myself with. So to really know who I am, I had to walk into the dark side honestly while leaving the judgment behind.

That’s not easy. When someone tells us our flaws, our tendency is to become defensive and find reasons those flaws exist beyond our control. It might be our upbringing, the trauma we endured, the challenges we have always had to overcome or the way we were marginalized. There’s a litany of things we can lean into to stay comfortable and give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. But the truth is comfort leads to complacency and allows us to acquiesce to the status quo. Discomfort is where we stretch ourselves and grow. So I had some growing to do and fell headfirst into opening my eyes to this other (not so pretty) side of Marya.

It’s my ego. All roads seem to lead me back to this mindset that frames decisions I have made thinking I was doing it magnanimously for the good of others. Nope, it was my ego convincing me that I was capable of controlling so much more that I ever could. It wasn’t a boastful ego, but an ego that believed I had enough power to bring the things I wanted into my life because I believed I had more influence over myself, others and circumstances then I truly did.

My ego is the foundation of all the bad choices I have made, but it manifests in a variety of forms in the way I think and act in life. I believed that because I could foresee how things would play out in my life and the lives of others around me, I could maneuver things to move in a direction that was better for everyone.

The flaw with that mentality is that individual decisions about major life choices never just impact you. There is a ripple effect that creates waves all around affecting anyone in the path of the turbulence. When I left my marriage of seventeen years with my four children in tow, I jumped knowing that there was a soft place to land for me and the people I love. I expected that they could also see the goal and believed they knew it to be real. When in reality, I saw something others would need years and the direction of their own life to take them to.

Specifically, as a mother who was aware of the unhealthy dynamics and life we all existed in together, my instinct was to protect my children from further harm and create a healthy life for us all in this new happy family dynamic of five instead of six people. It was me and my kids forging a new path to a beautiful home filled with love, laughter and peace. Something none of us could trust in before when the unpredictability of one person’s mood would shift the emotional thermostat of the house on a whim leading us all to cower and walk on eggshells.

As most things are, when you make plans for your kids, they rarely follow. In fact, they fight against your vision to design their own. While I thought I was cultivating this oasis of a home, my children were resenting me from the change I placed in their lives. Rightfully so. Because as I now know, it was my ego that didn’t fully consider that I was the only person who could see the dysfunctional writing on the wall of an unhealthy home. The truth is, of all six of us, I was the only one who grew up and knew what healthy love looked and felt like. I knew what it was to have parents who loved you even if you made mistakes in life and didn’t hold back affection like a mechanism to control and maintain your loyalty. Therefore, I was the only one who saw it was possible to have more and was willing to make drastic changes to find it for us all. To believe that, I had to have a mindset that I could control the circumstances including the reactions of my ex, my children and my own life trajectory.

Healing lesson #1 Let go of control and certainty in life.

My knowing led me to see there was a possibility of happiness for us all, but my ego drove me to push forward at times when I should have stood still and listened and paid better attention to others. Ego made me think I could control the outcomes by just positioning myself, others and our life circumstances in certain directions and things would fall into place. I trusted that eventually everyone would see the big picture and why I did the things I did. They would know I drove the bus our family was on with purpose and direction because it required a leader to take charge financially, emotionally and in mental stability. But as I was intentionally driving the bus, behind me the passengers were getting frustrated and finding their own routes. I now know that’s what was meant to happen, but for a while my ego didn’t see it. Why would they not move into formation with me? Why were they resisting? My ego blinded me. I was missing the forest for the trees.

Healing lesson #2 Trust in the process.

In accepting my ego as a part of myself I am moving closer to healing and have been mending the dynamics I impacted. I had to know that the dark side won’t disappear, it is a part of who I am and how I see things in the world. However, just because my ego exists doesn’t mean it should be driving my decisions and actions. Recognizing it’s presence allows me to have power over its influence on my beliefs and actions. Now I know what my thoughts become when my ego is at the helm and I have the awareness to reframe my thinking. I have shifted from the need to control people and circumstances to letting go of certainty and trusting that things will happen as they are meant to when they are supposed to.

This led to a liberation of my soul and mind and brought me closer to my place of peace. Which in life is my ultimate goal. I strive to find ways to cultivate my peace and live as my authentic self, gifts and flaws included. So welcome to the dark side, know it exists but don't allow it to dictate who you are.


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