Images. A composition of sights. Collection of pixels. Combination of colours. Something we see and process, with the help of any prior knowledge or with present information.
But images are far more than that. Images determine your identity. They determine where you come from and where you are headed. Images have the power to alter your life. Images.
We meet at a party. Should I drink? No, they'll think I'm an alcoholic. Should I go sober? No, they'll think I'm no fun. Should I go dance on the floor? No, they'll think I'm 'wild'. Should I stand in the corner? No, they'll think I'm boring and wonder what's wrong with me.
Everything we do, think, say or believe projects a certain image -- not necessarily one WE choose, but one that the viewer interprets, much like how art is interpreted at a gallery. Of course, with art, you can't change what's done, once it's on display. And the painting itself has no feelings or sensory abilities. So no matter what the judgement, the painting will remain exactly the same. And no one will question it, only marvel at or criticize it and then walk away to the next painting to give judgement. Why the judgement, you ask? That's because while only a handful of people who go to galleries to observe paintings are actually art enthusiasts and are studying the subject, the other chunk want to feel important. They feel like saying something to the painting, which it most certainly cannot refute, and feel like they have the last word in the matter, satisfied that their opinion held some weight at the time. They haven't given a shot at understanding where the thought-process of the artist was coming from, or why he made it that way. They judge what they see and nothing more.
"It's too menacing."
"The strokes seem half-hearted."
"I'm not feeling it."
"What's with all the black? It's a painting, isn't it? Where's all the colour?"
Let's say the artist is Nature and we are Her paintings. Nature created us and put us out in the world on display. We are what we are. But Nature's way of passing boredom was giving us a brain and with it the ability to feel. Feel good when we are flattered. Feel bad when we are insulted. Feel exhilarated when someone smiles. Feel inadequate when someone is disappointed.
How is it that by portraying one 'image' of ourselves for approval from someone else, that we are being what we were created to be?
If I go to a party, when all I want to do is dance like no one is watching (much like all those 'famous' quotes going around, motivating you to 'believe in yourself'), why must I tone down the wilderness within to gain the approval of someone who might not like it? And by getting that approval - perhaps of a prospect I'm interested in - am I guaranteed happiness? No. I've actually lied about who I am, tried to fit into a shoe that's two sizes small by crumpling my feet in, tried to walk elegantly when all I feel is excruciating pain -- all for an image that somebody else likes.
But so many of us do this, and are eventually (or sometimes from the beginning) oblivious to what we are actually doing. Are we being ourselves or who they want us to be? If it's the former and we are disapproved of, are we inadequate? And if it's the latter and we are approved of, are we really whole?
I don't deny that change is good. Change is the only certainty we can hold on to, apart from death. But it's change that benefits ourselves, our personal growth and evolution that really matters. Change to improve -- change away, I say. But change to be accepted?
I suppose when we are looking for approval to get ahead in life, such as a job interview or an arranged marriage, we would like to portray the best version of ourselves. For a job, a certain degree of responsibility is required and the image you portray may determine whether you get the golden ticket or not. But is it so necessary for getting a life partner, too? If we are going to spend the rest of our lives together, wouldn't it be best to be ourselves? And of course, ideally the partner would like us for that? And should he or she not, would it be better to change our true nature or be alone?
There are too many questions my rebellious mind is churning up all at once. And black and white is easier on a canvas, when compared to a person's mind. I would like to believe that everybody has their place in the world where they fit in; where they are who they are and are content with being so. And in their contentedness, they are loved. I do believe it.