6. Of Shadows and Substance

How many shadows can one person have?

A shadow is proof that one is made of matter and substance. A shadow is proof that one exists and that one creates a space in this world that would otherwise be a void, an empty place of air and nothingness. Shadows prove existence.

The problem with existence is that no one has just one single existence. We exist in various capacities and forms, with different dreams, and on different paths, all at once in a simultaneousness that combines to form our single essence of existence. Right at this very moment, I can think of at least three completely alternate futures for myself. The shadows each of these futures cast are weakened or strengthened form day to day, simply depending on how heavily that specific path weights on you on any given day.

Existence can be a funny thing. Sometimes, existence consists of boldly striving after your dreams – at least on a path or direction of dreams – while at other times existence is simply the mundane drudgery of spending your day at work. At the same time, who you are and what kind of shadow you cast can depend so much on something as simple and basic as your surrounding environment.

I know I have multiple shadows. Some of these shadows are short enough that they really barely seem to exist at all, while others are long enough to cause quite a swatch of space to be covered.  These shadows correspond directly with how much my being and presence in any given place matters or gives weight to both the place and to how important and how much bearing that environment has to me personally.

Shadows are strange. Sometimes they look exactly the way you would expect them to appear. Other times, you wouldn’t even recognize it as your own shadow. Outlines blur and become more distinct, depending on the time of day. Appearances waver as you seamlessly slide into another personality for another experience. Your shadow even changes depending on the people you’re around and what shadow they’re used to seeing. That is sometimes the most challenging: when you have to adapt yourself to casting a specific shadow for the benefit of people around you.

Honestly I think that was the most refreshing thing about moving to D.C. and starting all over again. I was able to see with fresh eyes what people actually saw of my shadow. I was no longer bound by my former shadows’ appearances. Instead, I was free to make my shadows with complete freedom and see the truth of who I have become over the years. I really like the person I’ve become. I like the shadows I cast. And I think that’s as much as anyone can strive for.

One thought on “6. Of Shadows and Substance”

  1. I like the shadow with the tutu. But I think I like the environmentalist shadow, too. (Sorry about the U.S. and the Paris Accords.) And all the best on the paired shadow with the guy.


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