12 January, 2011

Hating, Judging, Cheating

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com. Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

Hating, Judging, Cheating


I’d like to be a weatherman. What interesting soothsayers we make them to be. We only ever draw attention to them when they are completely wrong. Like umpires in baseball. The greatest ones are nameless because they don’t make mistakes. The good weathermen the same. In the bookstore today I overheard two separate conversations about the coming snow this week. The first included the figure “thirty-two inches,” and the second included, “five inches.” What an awesome job it is to have one person in your field predict three feet of snow and another, equally qualified person predict less than a half of a foot. I’d like to be a weatherman.

We should never focus on what we are not, though. I am not a weatherman, but I shouldn’t draw undue attention to the things I am not. We are not more things than we are, it seems, but the longing to be the not makes us blind to the is.

I can’t speak to why you modify. I can’t speak to why you do anything that you do. I don’t even know most of you (but if you want to go get coffee, I take mine black). I modify, in part, to be a better is. To celebrate what I am rather than focus on what I am not. I draw attention to the forgotten parts of my person with jewelry and tattoos. I do this because I am beautiful, and I want to share the beauty of the forgotten parts with everyone. So I pierce my skin, answer questions from strangers, and celebrate my insignificance as exemplary.

I will often forget that other people who pass through my reality don’t do this as freely as I do. I often forget that other people choose to hide parts of themselves that they think live in the ‘not’ and not the ‘is.’ Features hidden under makeup, scarves, shoes, behind hair and lowered eyes. I would like them to celebrate with me, but I’d never ask them to change. What I see as exceptional can be seen as a flaw to someone else, and I would never ask someone to mortgage his comfort for the sake of what I may think is true.

There is that feature of all of us that we hide. It’s like selecting a photo for a dating site. How long have we each taken in doing so? We studied each photo and saw the little ‘nots’ in each one. My nose looks big in that one. My beard is uneven in that one. My eyes look funny in that one. We pick and choose through the digital representations of ourselves for the one that is most accurate to how we see ourselves. But we’re not trying to date ourselves, are we. At least I’m not at this point in my narcissism. We want to choose a photo that shows who we think we are, or who we want to be; but ironically, we are already that if we choose to be.

Yes, we all have what we believe are unflattering attributes of ourselves. I’d much rather prefer to show someone what I think is my best that what I think is unflattering. But what is funny about beauty is that is is so very subjective that the other person could completely disagree with your sensibility of beauty toward yourself. Maybe I like that bump in your nose, or that curl in your lip, or that person behind all of it.

Beauty is only tangentially related to what our minds perceive, and because of that, can never be perfectly accurate. Beauty is a wonderful thing. Since I was little, and maybe this is a byproduct of doctor visits, I always saw myself as peering through my skull from somewhere within it. I never saw myself as my face and hands and legs. But rather as a something else that is using those things to communicate with everyone else. I am tucked away somewhere inside, guiding my body as a vehicle because I have to.

So I look on the other vehicles in my reality, and rather than think of the vehicle itself, I think of the pilot. I think of what is manipulating the vehicle, and the choices the pilot has made to share what he thinks are the important elements of that vehicle. Beauty is in how the pilot dresses his vehicle, but most importantly, it is in how he uses his vehicle. The shade of lipliner or the color of tie or the popped collar or furry boots or stretched lobes and tattoos mean very little to me if the person behind it all behaves outside of the beauty he already has. We should always behave to serve our beauty, and that behavior oughtn’t ever evaporate the beauty of another.

How do we behave outside of our beauty? We judge, we hold grudges, we cheat on our girlfriends and boyfriends. We do things that lobby against our own beauty. We use the expense of another’s beauty for the sense of our own. What we don’t realize is that the hating, the judgements, the cheating are all corroding the beauty we are trying to maintain. It’s a disgusting, circular logic that will inevitably result in an emptiness and leave you devoid of beauty.

So what is it about these behaviors that makes us feel as if we are serving our beauty when, in actuality, we are vamping the life from it? Why do we judge? Why do we sit here at our table out in wherever public place and think, “That headband is awful,” or “You need to lose weight, hunny.” Why do we wallow in the filth of that friend who once was who did that thing and now you will never forgive him. Why do we wake up next to the person to whom we are not committed and think that the person to whom we are committed should still trust and feel beautiful? These things, and other things as well, age our beauty prematurely and show us to others as those whose beauty has tumbled through our fingers like sea glass.

Why am I talking about this. I don’t know, exactly. I know that I am beautiful, but recently it has been a hard pill to swallow. I haven’t felt terribly beautiful, and I don’t know why. I have to believe that it is in how I am perceiving others that is affecting my perception toward myself. My perception has narrowed and blackened slightly. Beauty ought to be that inalienable thing. And for the most part, I think it is. I think each of you cats and kittens reading this, and each of these weirdos walking through my reality right now, is a beautiful person. We are not the byproduct of evolution, nor are we made from spare parts and broken springs.We are all sculpted pieces of art made from a solid block of carbon and blood and skin and emotion. These things are inherently beautiful, as is the sum of their parts.

We are allowed to forget, to be sure. I do. Often. I suppose the hope is that the forgetting time is less than the remembering time. And when we do spend the time to remember, we ought to be remembering the ‘is’ and not the ‘not.’ I don’t claim to serve a higher purpose in my writing. I’ll be the first one to tell you that art is an unnecessary remnant of man’s time unbudgeted. However, if someone can heed the idea that the guy next to you on the bus, the woman waiting behind you in line at the coffee shop, the weird family that all dresses alike near you in the theatre are all beautiful people, then I’m satisfied. Trust me, if you can do that, then your reflection will be a much more majestic work of art than it already is. And it is already beautiful. Stay beautiful, kids.

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1 comment:

  1. "Why do we wake up next to the person to whom we are not committed and think that the person to whom we are committed should still trust and feel beautiful?"

    The person to whom we are committed.. well, it isn't much of a commitment in this scenario.. and that itself strips the person who cares of their beauty.. it makes everything gray.