it's a somewhat perplexing preoccupation– and, I would imagine, easy to misconstrue. someone who simply glimpsed my compulsive webcam workday diary could hardly be blamed for at least a mild suspicion of narcissism or self-obsession– and, in all honesty, these things are true of me, though not exactly in the way they sound– it's not that I'm so in love with the way I look, it's more like a cipher to me– something I have to keep revisiting over and over again because I can't quite come to terms with it.
I live so very much of my life on the inside of my head– my capacities for interiority are seriously galactic– so the self-portraiture I've engaged in throughout my life very much seems to be an ongoing effort to reconcile the shock of having, of being primarily in the world and to others' perceptions, an external persona: a person who looks like x, y, and z, and that looking-like having far more impact on my relations with other people than any interior selfscape I might experience.
I am a girl– ergo, sometimes, probably far more frequently than is optimal, I seriously dislike my own appearance– never satisfied, really, with the way clothing fits, etcetera– all too typical, I expect. I have my self-conscious points about my own physical features, and snapshots I see of me inevitably make me cringe– as if, ogod, is that what I look like to people?? maybe this is vanity, but it seems more to me to be a form of cognitive dissonance.
please please please don't respond to this post with comments about my looks– that is so not what this thing is about. what I wanted to explore here a bit was that phenomenon of self-portraiture– which has been around for ages– we are, if not our own first subjects, close to it. just who the hell is that person in the mirror? there is a disconnect between the physical self and the self who is and speaks and feels and acts. or at least to me there is.
some parts of life bring these two pieces a bit closer together, for instance intimacy– when you are intensively engaged in exploring and experiencing another's interior and exterior selves and vice versa, the two seem to move closer to one another. this is a real gift to experience.
but generally, I don't know exactly, we're more like mental beings, mare's nests of our own histories and preoccupations and predilections, wandering around the world, and making some effort to interact with it through our physical manifestations– which sometimes get wildly misjudged or misinterpreted.
I've represented my "self" in all sorts of media: pastels, oil paints, photographic film, photographic pixels– these are the imagistic counterparts to the words, stories, poems. why must the self become such a compulsive subject? well, I've learned a lot about the cycle of narcissism in recent years– and without going too much into who's done what in my personal history, let me say that I've learned that narcissistic relations are powerfully effecting and play out down the road in all sorts of ways– one might, in response, become themselves a full-blown narcissist, unable to see others really at all– or one might become someone who gravitates toward such people, who tends to render themselves relationally invisible, claiming a persistent supporting role, a kind of hiding-out in the greater glare of another. I've tended to follow the latter pattern, drawn to big personalities and so-called sublimating myself. whatever, it's all a little warped and bent– and much of the effort I make in my ongoing life is to reclaim my own self from these dysfunctional scenarios and to reinvest it more equitably and consciously and responsibly.
okay. I'm not quite sure how to close such a post. lettin' it all hang out, as it were. que sera. who I am is to some extent made day-to-day– this is one of the main ways I track it.
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