An Intro to Shadow Work by Nancy Azcona

I.

A few months ago I wrote the first article of a series I wanted to continue for the rest of the year called Reclaimed. The first one was about my body then shortly after, I relapsed on all of my EDs, felt like a fraud, and abandoned the series. And that is the reason I tend to stop writing altogether. Spewing out what feels like sweet nothings, but the truth is, this is all me. Every failure, every hiccup, every lesson learned after. No one would know I fuck up if I wasn’t so keen about writing, in detail, how I fuck up. And sometimes I get so lodged in my own head thinking I am the only person on this entire planet that is actively fucking up. Then, I have moments of clarity. I give in to the tarot card readings and full moon rituals because to be frank, the unseen makes me feel sane. During one of these moments of clarity I realized – well shit – there’s something rotten within me. Harsh.

II.

Chisme (Spanish for gossip) feels innate. A little gossip don’t hurt nobody until the gossip turns sour and all of sudden all you feel is actual anger. Like “you cheated on me in my dreams” anger. I technically can’t be mad because you didn’t do anything, but nonetheless, I’m still pissed off. People say a little jealousy is healthy, but is it only healthy when you have a partner to be jealous of? Asking for a friend.

III.

I don’t even realize I am jealous until I start the comparisons. White? Check. Man? Check. Family from America? Check. Well off? Check. Both parents? Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. It can get ugly – unnecessarily so. I keep going. Skinny? Check. In love? Check. Invested in crypto at the right time? Check. Believes in themselves? Check. Not emotional? Check. Mild mommy issues instead of full blown “most of my therapy sessions are consumed by” mommy issues? Check. I keep going. Can keep their depression in check? Check. Can ignore their depression better than I? Check. Can healthily cope with their depression? Check. Doesn’t feel like a burden? Check. Doesn’t feel ashamed? Check. Doesn’t feel like they’re doing too little? Check. Doesn’t feel like too much of a person to handle? Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.

IV.

Rotten – a freshly bloomed bouquet droops quickly in such circumstances. Rotten – then I don’t leave my room. Netflix. Who knew that an episode of fucking Big Mouth was going to make me realize things and not only be comic relief? I am not going to say I am reclaiming the meaning of jealousy, just claiming that it is within me. That it can destroy if I let it. Rotten.

V.

So how does one stop? How does one slow and even revert the festering sensation making you so nauseous? I’m not sure – yet. I think noticing it is step one. Noticing that this isn’t you. Noticing where it stems from. Sometimes I get annoyed that I’m no longer 18, able to blame my terrible traits to teen-turning-adult angst. There is no one to blame. Only lessons to learn – if you want to. Only shedding – if you let it. Only growing into a new you.

VI.

The jealousy within you does not make you bad. Doesn’t make you spoiled even though that’s what it feels like at times. Does not make you unloveable. Does not mean you have to live with that resentment. The jealousy within you does not make you bad, but you must control it. The jealousy within you does not make you bad, but does admitting it give it life or put it 6ft under? The jealousy within you does not make you bad.

VII.

Do you think when people read this they will look at you differently? Tread around you lightly so as to not wake the sleeping beast? Do you think people will stop seeing the light within you?
Do you think there will no longer be a light to notice? Are you scared of the judgment? Are you scared people will hate you? Are you scared of the silence? Will anyone understand? Will anyone be patient? Will you be alone again?

VIII.

It is easy to imagine. To play out in my head what will be the reasons for everyone I love to ultimately leave me. I work on it in therapy. Not the abundance of scenarios, but minimizing the fantasy. I find comfort in it – I think. The acceptance of defeat. It is easier to imagine a life where I’m alone because I can not love someone if I’m alone. And if there is no one to love, then there’s no way one day they’ll wake up and realize they no longer love me. And if there is no one to realize the lack of love, then there will be no one to break the news to me. And if there is no news to break then I will not crumble beneath the weight of love lost. It is easy to imagine. But I am reminded daily that my imagination is not reality. That as much as I fear it – there is love. And just because there are ugly parts of me, it doesn’t mean everyone will no longer love me when they see it. Correlation does not imply causation.

IX.

The daily affirmations came back. There were over 40 post it notes on my bathroom mirror before I stopped. I read them. “Breath” one says. I unexpectedly inhale deep, belly expanding and – I hold it. Close my eyes. I can keep thinking of what ifs, but there is no use. I hope that in another life, I lived a less painful existence in my head. In this one, I will continue to treat the wounds of traumas past. The cliché “this too shall pass” crosses my mind. Exhale.

X.

At times, feeling so intensely human can feel inhumane. No one likes to talk about the ugly, so we never know that ugly exists. Just perfection. Just happy. No jealousy. No hyperbolization of your fears manifesting in your head. So it is easier to never mention it – the taboo of human emotions. No range. Just happy. To feel this intensely is a cursed privilege. To feel unashamed to show that you feel is a gift. No matter the perception from others. To feel sometimes sucks, but it also is an odd honor to feel silly sensations like jealousy. No, you are not your jealousy. Not your anger. Not your sadness. Not your fears. But happiness and gratitude are not the only acceptable emotions here… No one would know I fuck up if I wasn’t so keen about writing, in detail, how I fuck up. And if the details allows you to not get lodged in your own head thinking you are the only person on this entire planet that is actively fucking up, then I will continue to do my shadow work through the loudest megaphone I can find.

Nancy Azcona is a 26-year-old Salvadoran/Dominican New Yorker living out in Los Angeles since 2017. Queer and first-gen American, the intersections are truly endless. She has been working in the entertainment industry since 2016 and is currently a Production Coordinator at Sawhorse Productions. Outside of her 9-5, Nancy is a published poet (Corazón De Seda, Undercurrents Anthology Preposition: In Between), a ceramist, plant lover, and admirer of all art & music. In her spare time, you can find her falling on her roller skates, taking way too long to finish a 200 pg book, or crying at the 5th season, 24th episode of Love Island UK.

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