Wednesday, September 16, 2015

There Are No Bowls Without Cracks

    I was re-watching the Merchant-Ivory production of the Golden Bowl, by Henry James, and a single thought leapt to me.  There are no bowls without cracks.  In the story, a gold clad crystal bowl is presented as a gift, but it has a hidden crack, symbolic of cracks in other things in the story line.  In our world we hunger after a life of perfection, without cracks.  Women want perfect boobs that defy gravity, and trim waists that allow the most revealing fashions, because we have been told to want these things as being beautiful, and desirable.  Men, increasingly, want 8 pack abs, and pecs to chip your teeth on, again, because someone, not themselves, said it was a good idea.
    There are no bowls without cracks.  We all have our quirks and crotchets.  No matter how much we torment ourselves.  No matter how much we starve, shop, exercise, or internally fume, we will never be that thing, that ultimate thing.  I am not suggesting that we should not strive to better ourselves.  We do not evolve without it.  Indeed that striving is an innate part of our being.  But altering ourselves because someone other than us decided that it was laudable, is dangerous, and potentially damaging. Too many of us have suffered internally because we either cannot, or will not adhere to whatever the  cultural ideal might be.  We feel envy for those who can do so.  But its important for us to remember that they also are not perfected, regardless of the exterior they present.
    Choosing a life that is extraordinary in some way, and I do include an Attire singularity in this, bears costs.  It both draws people to us, and excludes, sometimes those we care for, from us.  So its important to be careful how we use this vast, varied, and endlessly potent language we all wear every day.  If you don't believe me, imagine a person who chooses to live their lives cross-dressed.  How many friends and relations would they shed, in pursuance of their own truth?  How many new people would come into their lives?  And I suppose this goes a long way to explain why some eschew taking much interest in their apparel at all.  Its a perilous place, sometimes.  It takes a strong will to face social ridicule, and derision.
    Though most of us sally forth into our day with nary a notion of what we wear meaning anything of substance to someone else, it does.  How you show yourself to the world tells people volumes about how you feel about yourself.  And, though you might not wish it, most people see beyond the surface you present, to the deeper, often darker, and more complex meanings beneath.
    So, when you step outside, remember, you aren't in your living room, or laying on the bed drinking coffee, or gaming.  You are out in the larger world, and what you say visually, is getting transmitted, whether you think it should be, or not.  So take a care to make sure that the visible sentence you utter, is one you want everyone to see.

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