Darling Letters: The Freedom Found in Embracing the Grey

Edited and Published by DARLING MAGAZINE

Image via Raisa Zwart Photography

Four summers ago, a friend and I sat on a dock, staring at the stars and pondering life. We talked about the differences in how we think—how she thinks in the grey whereas I think in black and white. Since then, my way of thinking has been turned on its head, and I now see the beauty of life in the grey.

This past year held more paradoxes than I could have imagined. A year of deep sadness and grief, laughter and fun, anger and examination, adventure and renewal, shame and fear, curiosity and growth. I felt more confused than ever before. Yet, somehow I came to a place of grounded confidence that I didn’t know was possible.

Areas of grey can be intimidating because there is no control there. We have to actually see people as dynamic human beings rather than separating them into neat, little categories. Some people might describe this as holding a tension of opposites. I experienced it as a freedom washing over me like a wave—sometimes so powerful I couldn’t stand and sometimes so calm that all I could do was sit and breathe everything in.

Releasing the tension of paradox and embracing the grey leads to both radical acceptance and gratitude. There is beauty in recognizing how unique experiences and even opposites can coexist.


Do you tend to see life and people in black and white? What is the value in learning to hold space for paradox?