Exploring the “dark side”

The duality of light and dark that is purported to exist within all of us, is hardly as cut and dry as we might like it to be.

I have spent a fair amount of time these past few months, challenging my view of the world; what I thought that it was, where I thought that I stood within it. I have spent a good deal of time and energy reading the postings, musings, and articles of a dizzying array of different personalities. For the better part of 2014, I have taken in advice from sources both close to the heart, and some very foreign to me.

What am I driving at, exactly? There is a certain “darkness” which is said to dwell within the hearts of humans. Something that we keep locked away, nice and tidy, protected under a mask of civility and manners. It said to be an essential element of seduction, both sexual and psychological; the temptation of the “forbidden fruit,” the taboo, the “dirty.”

But is our “dark side” really so divorced from our “light side?” The more that time goes on, the more I am convinced that it is not so simple. We are not coins floating in the cosmos that simply flip over when we need access to the other side. What society calls our darkness… whether it be our animal instincts, our fears, our sexuality, or a desire for challenge and conflict… these things ARE us, more than just a reflection in the mirror, but innate pieces of the human puzzle. The “civilized” world likes to pretend that such things do only exist in some mystical mirror, upon which a cloak, a drapery of lies and dishonesty, can be placed.

This musing of mine ties back into my view of stark and open honesty. It ties back into my view on sexuality, especially as it is represented in the United States. What I am learning is that being in touch with one’s “dark side” is an important part of being human. It’s an important part of being honest, not only with others, but with one’s own self. How much pain and anguish do we cause ourselves, as a species, by being dishonest with ourselves, and with each other? Think of all the shame and agony caused because people try to pretend that their human qualities do not exist? They try to stuff it into a neat little box, until it explodes and harms everyone around them. In the realm of sex alone, how many atrocities have been committed by men and women (though mostly men) because of sexual repression? I spent virtually all of my teenage years being ashamed of having a strong sex drive, and can only imagine how maddening it must be to spend an adult life living with the idea that you are a walking cesspool of sin, just for being human.

Though it does have its own share of dangers, I like the darkness. I enjoy the brutality of nature, and the universe, hand in hand with its beauty. Things that are dark and repressed do not have to be synonymous with “evil” or “bad.” Sex and violence, as examples, these are things that can be channeled and expressed without necessarily being destructive. These are just aspects of being humans, as crucial a part of our existence as eating, drinking, and breathing. The key lies in the honesty of it. The sooner we accept what we are, the better off we’ll be. Sweeping our own natures under the rug and pretending that they aren’t there is just a recipe for disaster, one that can wreck lives.

There is no need to be afraid of the dark.


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