WHEN THE IMAGE IS NEW THE WORLD IS NEW-Gaston Bachelard
I love beautiful design and things, or mostly I really appreciate them. How they make you feel when you see them for the first time. The appreciation for the person who magically thought of gathering balloons in waves of color, or was skillful in arranging simple flowers to make them look majestic or clustered books in color codes; someone expressing something so completely original you sigh when you see it. I learned early from my mom how aesthetic is important and can make a difference to your soul. And it can, it can be soothing, and inspiring, and lofty. It can be the best of all of us. It can bring everything to the most blissful and happy point. It can express love and thoughtfulness. It can make dark light. It can help us dream and aspire and grow….But I worry sometimes that the message gets confused. That image is everything, that what things look like means it’s all good and is more important than anything or that not having everything perfect keeps people from being together. I worry that we spend a lot of time creating just the right “image” then putting it out there for some reaction, number of likes, views….followers and that the commandment of “not coveting the neighbor’s something” get’s all sideways and then that’s what happens. We covet, or we envy, or we want or we pretend. And that’s , well yuck
Image is not everything, it’s just not.
So I’m thinking maybe I need to say more about the process and the people that come together to make what does often feel like magic happen. That I need to say more about all my friends that continue to offer to show up and help me for free as I figure out this path. Or my husband that comes with me after work and loads up my car and his car and seems more than happy to do so. Maybe I should say more about the hours I spend looking through inspiration and coming up with nothing or talk about the walls that have fallen on me trying to do something special. The mistakes I’ve made ordering the wrong fabric. The moments where I’ve panicked thinking I’ve lost something, only to look down and it was at my feet. That sometimes there is so much stimulation of images and thoughts and creativity that it stifles creativity and feels overwhelming. That the expectations of creativity on demand can be scary. Maybe I should say more about reality and not so much about pixie dust.
Cause I like reality almost as much as pixie dust.
I like reality because it taps me on the shoulder and asks the really hard questions. It brings me back to the perfectly imperfect world. It tells me to breathe, to stay in the moment, to go to the grocery store, pick up my cleaning, wash the dishes, put gas in the car, to play with the dog, to read a book, to call a friend, to hug a loved one, to pay my bills. I like reality because it is both simple and grand. Both profound and mundane. So I never, ever want to get too far away from it. I never want to wander too far into the land of pixie dust and dreams that I miss out on the here and now.
There are images and there are reflections, they both have something to say.
I love seeing pictures of others, and what they are doing, where they go to dinner, or a party they are having, their latest travels, or a new addition to the house or family, a celebration of epic proportions, christmas morning, I love wedding photos, and house remodels, what’s available at my favorite stores, little babies with their mommas and curated family photos by my favorite photographer…..no one overposts as far as I’m concerned. They are sharing their lives. They are reflections of their lives, lives that are sometimes picture perfect and other times perfectly imperfect, all with a dash of pixie dust. It’s images that we may struggle with. It’s the contradiction between what we know and what we see or if they make us feel pushed to have more or something we don’t think we don’t already have or to think our lives are too small. But that says more about us than the picture we are viewing. And in those moments where I’m stuck in the small screen with insecurity and wanting I know it’s a moment for reflection, the kind that puts the mirror up to my heart and asks the hard questions….am I showing the world me or who I want them to think I am, is my longing my fault or theirs(never theirs), am I connecting or displaying. I like this brave new world of sharing our lives, and showing who we really are or even who we want to be, of seeing all of the little niches of beauty and creativity that we would never have seen before, I love the spontaneity of seeing others lives as they carry on their day, and following my friends on their journeys. Is it a false sense of connection, I don’t think so. Can it be a rabbit hole that we slide into and forget where we are going, sometimes. But it’s like everything we can get sideways with, it’s really more about us than it, how we use it, what we need it for, what we want from it. I never want someone else to wonder “should I post this” because what if it is something that introduces me to a new city, or new restaurant, a new life or a life that has said goodbye to their loved ones.
Although image isn’t everything it is something.
Image is powerful, that’s why we like videos, movies, tv. It’s enticing, even intoxicating but it’s not bad, it doesn’t hold value unless we say so. So much of what we think and feel and decide are based on viewing something and taking it in. We are made that way. There are images curated to be the culmination of every perfect aspect possibly conceived and there are images that reflect the hearts desire to bring together elements of beauty of love of community. It’s not really necessary to even know the difference. It’s probably just important to always remember that we are enthralled by images because they speak to us and when they are speaking to us they are saying something, not just to us but about us….and do we like what we hear them saying.