Dancing with the Darkness of My Soul by Susan Moore

Featured Artwork: “Tears” by Danielle Hark

I never knew rage before. Anger, disappointment, frustration, but never rage. It starts from the abdomen and builds with fury as it travels through your torso and into your arms. Your biceps and chest pulsate with flashes of energy like lightning waiting to strike.  

I panted as my eyes scanned my apartment: furniture flipped, mail covering the floor, my mattress thrown from the bed. I wanted to destroy something, anything. The mirror caught my eye.  

“Not the mirror. I could never explain that.”  

No amount of destruction satisfied the pain that ached within me. My blinding rage was a vivid red and a harsh black. It gave birth to my darkest urges—images, momentary fantasies of ending my betrayer’s life. I danced with the darkness of my soul. I wasn’t a person anymore. I feared what I might do.  

I acted on impulse. I acted in desperation. Seething agony instantly emerged from my body like a loose smoke. Overcome with calmness, I went limp.  

This is why people do it. This is why they cut. 

Agony and suicidal ideation were my master for months. But, in that moment, neither was a match for the sleek, sharp edge of a knife. 

Exacerbated, I glanced at a small cut on my forearm, and recalled my rational thoughts as I took the smooth, deliberate action, “You can’t leave a scar. When you get through this, you won’t want people to know this happened.”  


Research engineer by day, creative writer by night, Susan Marie Moore holds degrees in mechanical and bioengineering with over 60 publications spread across scientific journals,  Congressional reports, book chapters, and trade magazines.

Danielle Hark is a writer and artist who lives with PTSD and bipolar disorder. Her photography and mixed-media work come from her lived experience with mental illness and trauma, including sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, and the loss of her father to ALS. She is the founder of the non-profit Broken Light Collective that empowers people with mental health challenges using photography. Danielle lives and creates in New Jersey with her husband, two sassy young daughters, two and a half ukuleles, a Samoyed pup, a Scottish Fold cat, and a typewriter named Cori Blue. Her website is: www.daniellehark.com

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