Beauty in the Breakdown

Fear is a powerful thing. It can color your every thought, darkening every corner of the mind, extinguishing hope. Around this time last year, I encountered such fear in myself, recognizing it for what it was, acknowledging it, and letting it sink into my bones.

You see, just weeks before, the person I love most in this world was lying in a coma following a cardiac arrest and we didn’t know if he would return to us or how different he would be if we were blessed enough to get him back. Throughout the 10-day ordeal, I took each day as it came, refusing to believe that the supreme being who’d taken my father in such a similar manner would take this incredible man, too. So, I stood strong–breathed in, breathed out–and kept going.

But, once he did make it back, and I brought him home, and I lay awake all night listening for his steady breathing, and I knew he was safe–that he was truly going to be okay–the fear that had been masquerading as calm all along finally showed itself for what it was: Dark. Menacing. Enormous. Stifling.

Without conscious thought, I was drawn to my perfumer’s organ, which I hadn’t touched in weeks. Like in my youth, when I’d play anything and everything on the piano until I was physically exhausted and whatever was worrying me had been exorcised, that night I reached for notes of a different composition. Rather than covering up the deepest, darkest ingredients I had instinctively placed at the core of this new scent, I layered and molded, doing my best to bring forth beauty from the ugly, and light from the darkness.

Today, my worries are for not just one, but for so many people that I love, and extends to strangers no less deserving of their rights, their dignity, and their peace of mind. Once again, I find myself recognizing the fear, acknowledging it for what it is, and letting it sink into my bones. As I sniff “Dark Beauty” this afternoon, I welcome and encourage the efforts of all of us to craft what beauty we can, and to find the light in the darkness, today and every day.

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