We have a perverse devotion to our outward facing selves; the look we don to signal to the world that the person we aim to be is actually who we are. That our appearance matches our striving and ideal self. An image curated from popular culture and recirculated as our own – the same as the model but wholly ours at the same time. Trickery borne of repetition. A persona crafted to defines us. To be a specific thing in the world, not just a singular somebody. An association of images and objects and conceits forming the shadow we cast on the world stage.
We see it in social media. Instead of turning our cameras on what we see we’ve turned them on ourselves. We don’t want people to see the world through our eyes. Experience life as we live it. We don’t allow people to develop a deeper understanding of our point of view and inner voice. Where sharing in all forms of media, social included, can be a more concrete approximation of the person we are, if we use words and images in less self-referential ways. To add something to the public discourse that isn’t specifically about our outward facing selves. Somewhere along the line, maybe the generational divide, we’ve morphed into believing our faces need to be anywhere and everywhere, even when they have nothing to say. We want people to see us only, performing a role, surrounded by props. The face and outward self as commodity on the open social market. Always seen, always just the surface. Stars waiting to be discovered. Blank slates waiting for other’s to project their wants and desires. So we place ourselves in the spotlight of every moment.
You may look at yourself in the mirror or have a moment of introspection and refute what I’m saying. You don’t belong to this cabal. You may even believe it doesn’t exist. We aren’t that self-centered, right? We don’t always want to be seen? Sometimes we want people to see how we see. We are more than what we seem. I would only ask that you look around and see the many industries catering to our need for the spotlight. Industries we treat as essential to our well being. This is the age of cosmetic superstores in every middle class shopping district selling every kind of fake elixir. The land of abundance in all things made to curate our lives into the outward self we want others to see. Solutions to problems of our own making. A money pit of striving for an idyll outward self.