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In the Shadows

light black and white man person

Photo by Siobhan Dolezal on Pexels.com


As a child standing in my mom’s shadow, I drew strength from her presence.  Clinging to my mom is one of my first memories.  Being I was uncertain of the world and my place in it, she provided me strength and protection.  Who knew I would still feel uncertain in the world today.  I’m no longer a child, but I still stand in the shadows of others.  I’ve never felt comfortable in the spotlight.

In my younger years, I would have considered this a great weakness and perhaps it was.  I melded into the woodwork, and honestly, I would imagine most of my classmates don’t even remember me.  In fact, I know this is true.  It wasn’t too long ago I reached out to a classmate on Facebook who I had considered a friend in middle school, and she didn’t remember me.  At first I was hurt.  The shadows can be a lonely place at times.  But honestly, I have no one to blame but myself being I sought anonymity.  It wasn’t until adulthood where I found the strength that dwells in the shadows.

Thanks to standing in the shadows, I now find I listen more and talk less. This had been a great strength which has not only allowed me to be an attentive mother and friend, but listening has provided me with wonderful plot lines for my books.  I have such a long list of ideas that I doubt I’ll ever run out, thanks to the talent of listening.  I’m fascinated with stories from others more so than telling my own.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love to talk, but it is with a select few that I allow myself to convey the stories of my life and those are usually kept to family or my writings.

Another quality that staying in the shadow has provided me is I can observe others without being noticed.  This has mostly benefited me in creating characters for my books, but it also goes hand and hand with listening since putting the two together helps shape the characteristics of a person.

It is no surprise that my main characters tend to meld into the shadows themselves and are uncomfortable with the spotlight.  An example is Tarlab Brefew from Purgatory One.  He has never fit in anywhere in his life including with his family.  Once he finds out he is being watched more than he had expected, he is uncomfortable with the notoriety and states it often that he is nothing special in hopes to throw the attention away from him.  He is very similar to me in many ways, but has several traits I have observed in others during my lifetime as well.  He too finds comfort in the shadows and it is not surprising that he needs to find a dark corner away from the limelight to find peace.  The shadow of others is nothing if not a comforting place to hide.

So I thank all those who stood in front of me and took the attention away, for unbeknownst to them, they gave me a gift.  I use that gift over and over every day and it shines bright for all to see in my writing…the one place where I leave the shadow to shine my spotlight bright.

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