I named my first hamsters Bo Bo and Cha Cha, after my favourite dessert. Cha Cha died at his 1 month old birthday party after being dropped from a height of 1.5 metres. I grieved and cried for days over the loss of a loved pet. I was fifteen then.
Bo Bo lived on to have many babies with male hamsters that I borrowed from my friends. The population in my little cage grew and I had lots of fun with that project. Eventually, I grew lazy and got distracted with other interests, neglecting my little darlings despite constant reminders from my mom.
The population dwindled, and Bo Bo was the last to go. On that day when I was forced to clean up the carcass, her cage stank badly, her drinking water had not been changed for days, and there was no food in her tray. I cried, but this grief I felt was different from that which overwhelmed me when Cha Cha died, and it haunted me for many years.
I always thought myself as kind and loving, too altruistic for my own good. But no! The conditions of Bo Bo’s death introduced me to my tragic being, a dark side that I didn’t know existed. I knew my pet would die if it wasn’t fed or cleaned, but I chose to dissociate and procrastinate, preferring to think that such an evil outcome will never happen to me because I was a good person. But truly, bad things can happen to good people by their very own deeds.
No hero can overcome demons whom he doesn’t recognise. Dr Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, taught me to read history and stories like I was the perpetrator. It did me good to know the power I have within me to do evil, create damage and cause harm. In fighting and conquering my own demons, I can now say that I am a better person because I have gained better control of myself.
Are you defending or defeating your dark side? Be mindful that THAT which you feed and nurture, can only grow stronger.