“You look how I feel.” – Pricks who don’t realise how terrible they look.
I don’t think you can ever truly know what people think of you, unless you were to fake your own death, and go to the funeral, and only reveal yourself after listening to the eulogies. Not because people would speak about you honestly, but because that would be such an obviously awful thing to do, you would at least know afterwards that everyone definitely hates you. There would probably be a freedom in that, knowing for sure that you’re hated, instead of worrying that someone might dislike you a little – I can definitely see the appeal of it. Okay, the rest of this blog will be peppered with awful false truths about me to turn anyone against me, so I can live in the purity of unquestioning hatred. Like the hatred I felt for that fly I killed that one time (God I’m awful).
A lot of value is placed on how we present ourselves physically. The phrase ‘look good, feel good’ only works to the extent that someone who shows no sign of physical illness is probably healthier than someone who does. But suggesting that putting a bit of slap on will drag you out of your depression makes no sense. You may as well put a bumper sticker on your recently crashed car in the hopes that the mechanic won’t write it off once he sees that ‘this vehicle makes frequent stops at your mum’s house’. Which is only half true. Sometimes I host.
In some ways I actually think the opposite can be true. I feel like people focus on their appearance as a way of covering up insecurities, which is not a condemnation, I do the same thing. Like wearing long sleeves because I’m self-conscious of my huge arms. Or wearing no shoes because I’m self conscious of my huge shoes. And now there’s the additional layer of a self-projection on social media to maintain as well, weighing in with a hot take on Twitter, or assuring people on Instagram that you’ve witnessed food. And the more you advance that dishonest portrayal, the thicker the boundary becomes between your real and online selves, making it harder and harder to penetrate the boundary if ever you need to genuinely reach out to people. Think of it like a window you can choose to leave open or one that you can keep adding glass to. Have you ever tried to break a double-glazed window? I have because I’m awful, and let me tell you, it takes a few tries, and if you try for too long, people come along and tell you to stop, even if you explain you’re just working out the realism of a future metaphor.
I do wonder if we’re on a constant quest to try to match the outside with the inside, or to trick the outside into the changing the inside? An outside in approach, hoping the make-up and clothes and moisturiser will soak in so deep that it pretties up our soul. Or certainly hoping that other people can be tricked into thinking that’s what we’ve done. But then what’s the alternative (aside from mandatory mood rings obviously)? Walking around wearing a t-shirt that says ‘I’m unhappy’? Because actually it kind of works to project confidence, precisely because our self-worth is often so tied up in how we perceive others to be judging us, whether that’s healthy or not (it’s not). But then it becomes an issue of from where we derive self-worth and happiness. And if it’s from others, for example in how people respond to attempts at insightful writing, then maybe it should be more about what we feel about what we’re doing ourselves. I shouldn’t care if people like this blog, I should just write it to the best of my ability so I’m happy with it. And to be honest, if you have a positive opinion of me after I’ve admitted to killing a fly, owning an awful bumper sticker and breaking a metaphorical window, well then that’s fair enough. Turns out I care so much about what people think that I couldn’t even bring myself to make up more heinous obviously nonsense examples in a blog that no-one reads. Christ, look at me. Whatever version this is.
Next time on the bandwagon, I submit myself to a series of double blind tests to determine the difference between Venetian and slat.