I’ve always believed that looking at a posed photograph and seeing one’s unprepared facet in the mirror is a treat. It is a slice of intimacy and vulnerability, the complete opposite of what they wanted and, because of that, more real than they would usually be. Although their backside of their elbow and ribcage doesn’t offer much insight into their life, at least it’s genuine; you’ve snuck an unguarded peak and, in our increasingly superficial and pre-fabricated world, that is worth noting. Being able to see someone without the walls they build and masks they wear provides a simple lick of truth. It is the unexpected refreshment when, as a child, you bit into your first grape and from the dusted purple skin, sweet aqueous gel burst behind your teeth. Why is this? Is it because of the circumstances– a little taste of what we couldn’t see? Or is there something more divine about the exposed human that we’ve been taught to hide? I think that’s what it is. We conceal it as best we can: the tragedy of a mindful existence.
I implore you to reconsider then– please become this accidental glimpse (or rather please drop down the obscuring projections). For whatever reason, we’ve learned through the years that a vulnerable self is a weak self, and any disclosure will result in an embarrassing and painful death, but maybe we’re wrong? Maybe that’s the nagging tinge of evolution that caters towards those who cling to the bell curve’s median bow. Those who merely “get by and procreate” as Darwin said, a paraphrase, of course. But I want more than to live into my middle-years and have some lively spawn, I want to be great. Cockroaches don’t want to be great. I once heard that they can live for 7 days with their head cut off until they eventually die of starvation. There’s nothing great about that. I think we all want this, in some capacity or another. That means taking risks. Maybe do things that might fail. Maybe do things that probably will. But do them and dig your hands into your chest and peel apart your body’s bones and reveal the glowing celestial stuff exploding from beneath your ribs! Stand at the proverbial edge with your legs shaking and your palms damp and two homemade wings strapped to your back and jump into the ocean’s landward breeze! This is the prettiest kind of terror. It isolates your inner strengths and galvanize them with molten fear.
Our distilled essence doesn’t drip from tapped facades and lies, those gargoyles will fade away. What matters is the core of us, the things we can’t escape. We’re not the smiling faces we wish to be or mannequins on display, we’re fleshy sacks of blood and spit who endure with thought and warmth. It’s the phantom sights that show me that, how you look from the mirror behind.