self portraiture

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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after tumble, realignment

lately I've been zooming– exhilaration and also no slow quiet time to meander among the various threads of vox posts and comments, to catch up with the 'hood (which has been feeling a little too big actually lately–not that I really want to cut anyone, just feeling that difficulty keeping up), to read and ponder and perhaps a little bit vegetate.

last night I had an evening at home by myself– went grocery shopping, took a bath, threw on slouchy cotton clothes, and did nothing in particular other than refilling the well of quiet and stillness. took george for a walk and savored one especially crystalline moment in the mild night air, gazing up through the pattern of tree branches at the sky. munched on baby carrots and good tortilla chips. watched dumb tv on the web. gloried in the nothing-particular of it.

often there's been too much of this in my life, the alone, nothing-particular time– but fill it up, even with most delicious delights, and I begin to feel like a piece of flimsy fabric, whipping in the wind– and must retreat and recharge. the most literal definition of an introvert, I suppose. also just preternaturally dependent on pockets of clear air for reflecting and mulling– brings me back to a sense of center.

as I stood beneath that tree, I stretched my neck and back and felt a number of soft pops and shifts– literally my spine realigning– and was reminded of the last visit to a chiropractor and the x-rays that showed developing scoliosis in two places– there is a literal emblem in this moment of realignment.

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scratching the itchy spot

so I have this place right above my belly button that seems to itch for no particular reason on a frequent basis– there’s nothing there, just a set of nerves, I suspect, that get to feeling lonely.

lately george and I have discovered the supreme pleasure of my scratching him under the jaw– he’ll just stand there with this dreamy, droolly, utterly ecstatic look on his face while I scratch his chin. it’s very adorable.

I really love my pets. when people come over to my apartment, the critters get all excited– they’re like, ooh, look! fresh people to love us! and they can tend to mob the visitor– charlie walking all over the person’s lap, determined to sit right in the middle of things, digging in his claws for sheer cat pleasure, george doing away with personal space, getting right up close and panting his fetid george breath in absolute dog happiness right into the visitor’s face.

and there’s a difficult balance, a bit– I want to, you know, be responsible for managing my pets so that my guests don’t feel too terribly hounded (oh lord, so to speak)– at the same time people who are going to be in my life need to be given space to find their own ways of dealing with my animals.

sometimes it’s hard to resist scratching.

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awesomeness

more personal ad gong show response winners:

Is that a real picture of you. If so, have you ever considered a brown bag.

and:

you would make a good circus clown.  is that your real everyday photo?

and, ooh, be still my beating heart:

not bad, your kinda cute, may look better with some bangs, but i like your large breasts. if you want to get laid sometime give me a holla

gee, thanks for the self-grooming advice. wouldn't want my high forehead to make you lose your, er, manhood. at least I've got the breasts. phew!

gotta love craigslist. can't really beat these with a stick. :-D

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