I have definitely changed since having my baby. I am the same, yet, a totally different person. It, indeed, HAS all been about Gabriel. It HAS to be. This new little person needs someone to teach him the ropes about this strange, sometimes dangerous world he found himself thrown into.

I remember when we started locking our eyes on each other. He is the only person, aside from the Drake, I could do that with for such a long time. There is total trust between us. This little tyke has total trust in his eyes and in me. He gazes deeply into my eyes, and I blissfully do not break contact. When I look into his eyes, there is such depth, such trust. When I’d feed him bottles, sometimes, as we were looking at each other, I could see him break out into an open smile and some formula leaked out from behind the bottle’s nipple. Laughter would be in his eyes when it happened and it cracked me up! I am in heaven when we have these special moments.

In the past, I could not look anyone in the eye; and though it’s gotten easier, I notice that I try to avoid eye contact like the plague. I dislike this in me because I actually value eye contact in others… but cannot maintain it myself; and I struggle to be more comfortable with it. Upon examination, I recognize that there is something inside me that I do not want others to see. Years ago, I had worked through this and sought eye contact; but somewhere along the way, I reverted to my old, fearful self. I notice that if I am working to be the good person that I want to be, it’s easier; if I slip back to the Dark Side, I have something to hide. What? Myself.

The “Dark Side”? My term for that not-so-nice side that everyone has; that mean streak, that pessimistic, non-trusting attitude. I also use that term for those experiences we do not like to bring to the forefront. The ones we seek to hide so deep, we forget about them…almost. This is sad because it’s those very experiences that shape our character. Why should we keep them hidden? Yes, I am strange. Not everyone wants the world to know how they messed up; how ashamed they are of themselves. I am not saying to go out and advertise. Very few people know the deepest part of me, with all the strange, dark stuff that goes with it; but I am saying do not be afraid to let them resurface, should you need to draw from that part of you; or to share that part of you with someone who is in need, maybe dire need.

I’ve had a life-long struggle with my Light and Dark sides. I’ve come to realize you cannot completely purge yourself of either of these, they must coexist; you cannot hide them either. You must acknowledge, accept and love all parts of yourself in order to be at peace. Knowing and accepting my darkside has been a battle; but I am managing it every day. I got it to the point that I was not afraid to let people know about it and some of the specifics about it. I would do that if it could somehow help another person by presenting another perspective, or one that is very close to their home.

I’ve discovered THAT is the blessing of having a dark side. I believe that God lets us have these experiences, to live these experiences to build our own character; but to also carry them with us to share, and therefore, help someone who really needs it. I have seen this in action. People ask themselves, “Why does God let this or that happen?” They believe they are being punished somehow, or that God abandoned them. I do not believe this. I cannot believe that God is up there sending good luck to some and bad luck to others- for what purpose? God is a loving God and He is working in our lives every day. He wants us to love and help one another. He facilitates that by giving us experiences that allow us to empathize with someone else. Very specifically, to empathize. If you notice, a person who is going through a crisis will only truly value and consider words coming from someone who has experienced their own kind of pain. The only way to turn a negative experience into a positive is to first work through our pain. Once we can look back upon it objectively and verbalize our feelings, we can then extend ourselves to our brothers and sisters who are buried in pain- our pain. We become instruments of Peace…. and I LIKE how that sounds!