it’s amusing that critics used to assume the devil was playing a part in rock and rap music. that vile representation of our dislikes is, in fact, in the mirror you look at.
not you, of course, but the reflective surface tailored toward our peering in to see what’s reflected from us onto this earth. how much time have i spent in front of the bathroom counter scrutinizing and editing my appearance? to some extent, it’s reasonable, but when it’s an active compulsion, it starts to feel excessive. the urge to resist is weak enough that its vain archenemy often defeats the challenger.
this is not some analysis of how much time could be saved if i chose to put less value and emphasis on looks. i’m opening up the drawer of consequences that overflow and spill across our lives, ranging from insecurity to avoidance to ignorance. it’s a tough industry, economy, lifestyle, and addiction. i’ve actively attempted to revolt against its branches, but they knot around me regardless. while they don’t hurt, creating more of a hammock than a cage, i still reject the comfort. i wish to be on the ground running instead of lounging in midair. when asked to choose a superpower, i would choose speed over flight regularly.
but appearances have their own magnetic telekinesis. when i purposely invest care into an outfit, the persistent combination that results out of the welding is electrifying. i walk with a keen awareness of form, already having the fashion part down. fellow dwellers of this midwest city are friends, not strangers. the activities outside of my living establishment actually warm up to participation, which is a relieved departure from their usual stubborn resistance.
with all the positives listed above, why not continue to blaze a trail through discount warehouses and department store clothing sections? the archaic assumption that to be vain is to not have others in mind is ridiculously false. if i spend energy crafting a clothed display, and then receive the rewards of positive self-esteem, i’m consequently enacting the existence of a better person — a better me. that hyped-up fashionista is friendly, sociable, patient, mindful, and active. comparatively, its foil is lazy, flat, pleading, and heavy (not in an obese sense, but through an interpretation of lethargy).
regardless, worries stem from the side effects of such an experiment. with every hour i exercise on visual self-assessment comes judgement, both within that mirror check and when landing on another human. i catch myself casting judgemental opinions and losing appreciation for human expression. i like to value the choices and behaviors of others, but i betray that naive wish often.
to delve deeper, the negativity seeping out of my pores is not a reaction to encountering someone, but is an allergy to who i pine to become, rationally or irrationally. when i see an impressive mix and match of apparel, it’s, in fact, envy feeding the quick snaps of desire. after a second of review, those weeds die and the seed of a prosperous oak has room to stretch. i can’t control the borders of my thought, but i can certainly teleport sparks of neurons into a different context.
when a hipster is entering the gallery, an inclination to scoff or roll my eyes may beat nicer greetings to the front. but maybe, upon their arrival, i’ll change the setting to a runway with me as the audience, there to admire the creativity of cloth and polyester. with that granola-looking, modern hippie as the model, my analyses revert to an accepting, encouraging tint.
it’s within that mindset that i can finally begin to value the human spirit again.
– D K T