Choosing Darkness - Maniscalco Gallery

Choosing Darkness – Maniscalco Gallery

the Choice

The Choice

edge of the world

Edge of the World

I finally figured out why I do insanely stupid things like marrying for the wrong reasons, spending too much time in toxic relationships, getting back surgery to prevent more back pain, or even getting myself sexually assaulted when I was 14, at an age which someone recently told me, I was or should have been “old enough to know better.” I wasn’t. No one under 18 should be held responsible for their actions. The decision to sexually assault me was completely on the man who perpetrated that horrific act. But in each case, like the Creek God Phaéthōn, who was admonished not to fly too close to the sun, nor stray too far from it, on some level, I knew what might happen if I continued in a certain direction.

What is going on is a deep and morbid curiosity into the depths of human suffering. That shit fascinates me. Always has. Can’t get enough of it. I put myself in the wilderness, consciously or not, just to see if I can find my way out. In each case, and in numerous other cases I won’t get into, I went in, like a sheep or a commando, testing the boundaries laid out by society, challenging the Gods in some way, going against my own nature, my own best instincts and my own best interests, with the sole purpose of finding out what misery I could learn to live with. The answer is zero.

In each case, whenever I challenged the bounds of society, tested the gods, and ultimately went against my own best instincts, catastrophe surely followed. Some of which has taken decades to recover from. In each case, I had a choice. Sometimes I didn’t realize I had a choice whether to put myself in harms way. And there are circumstances where we absolutely do not have a choice.

danny maniscalco cave

Expecting the Miracle

There’s a place for suffering that leads to victory and a deepening of spirit. There is a link between vulnerability and being. No story, no being. I realize that being requires risks and that without some limitation to overcome we will not become our best selves. We must test our limits to know freedom.

Not all risks are bad, but there is always a line not to be crossed. And is suffering a requirement for less than stellar choices? How risk averse am I now, after getting burned so much? How much risk am I now willing to take on? There comes a point where even though most of the messes I have created do finally resolve. Yet the physical pain, the wear and toll these follies have taken on the body, continues on, living inside me as pain — chronic, searing, nonstop pain. Pain has made me far less willing to take risks, even healthy ones. Perhaps this is wisdom. Perhaps it is something else.

My advice to anyone wanting to test the limits of their mortality. Look (and think) before you leap.

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