I read other’s emotions the way some people read signs on a highway, I can’t always understand them, but I see them (and feel them) nonetheless. So what does this have to do with being awkward? I care entirely too much what others think of me. But while this makes some people superficial, it just makes me super-awkward. I haven’t stopped being me at any point in my life, if anything my blunt responses to the negative emotions of other’s have only made me more unique.
I used to switch schools alot when I was younger, and no matter where I went, I always struggled to connect with my classmates. In eighth grade, I made my first friends at a new school by making my awkwardness work for me. The kids in public school found my neon pink shoes appalling, so I made friends by asking them for whiteout. How? I told them it was the only thing that could cover up my obnoxiously bright shoes.
I have and, likely always will, value my connections with others, above my own pride. Sometimes this is a good thing, other times not so much. But over the years I have learned to use natural awkwardness to my benefit. I know I’m different. I know my fashions are rarely in trend, and my smile is a bit too big, but I keep smiling and styling to my heart’s delight anyway.
When you’ve lived one sort of life for so long, it’s hard to start anew.
I got my wish two years ago, for a better life with less pain and struggle. But instead of making myself better for it, I lost all the strength that I’d been grasping tightly for so many years. I didn’t know what to do with myself any longer. I had been holding on, and for the first time I let go, and I found myself spiraling.
It was like nothing bad had ever happened. I felt that if I was lucky enough to escape the cause of my pain, I should just be grateful and happy. But it had happened, and I wasn’t the same now that I was on the other side of it.
I am speaking in vague terms, so as not to upset those that caused my pain, as all I ever wanted was for them to make it through their own personal struggles. However, as they overcome their addictions, I developed one of my own. An addiction to sadness.
I like the physical scars on my body. They remind me of what i’ve been through, what I never want to go through again, and my will to overcome. Many things can be forgiven, but not all should be forgotten.
Visual art is a mysterious gift. This morning I was looking around the “man-cave” (otherwise known as the room my mother avoids at all costs), and one of the pictures on the wall caught my attention. It is a photograph of my older brother when he was maybe two years old, sitting in a highchair with two pieces of cinnamon raison toast, rather daintily held in his hands. What makes this photo genius is the expression on his face as he looks at someone or something entertaining him in the room. The photo is just of him, so there is no way of knowing what sparked the childish joy on his face. However, his lips are pulled together in an amused smirk, and his eyelids are scrunched in the natural way they react to his smile. He is clearly trying to suppress full on laughter, which he is most definitely on the verge of releasing. His face is turned to the right of the cameraman (my father), giving the viewer a feeling of uninhibited reality. He was not posing for a picture; he was enjoying the moment without knowledge or care of who was watching him.
When I look at this photograph of my brother I feel as though I could walk right into that very moment. Though I was not around when this photo was taken, I find myself able to react to it as if I had been a part of the experience myself. There is little to distract me from my brother’s perspective of the moment, because his highchair is made out of plain brown wood, and the wall behind him is white. The intimacy of the moment is inviting to me as I feel it would be to anyone, because there is a warmth and simplistic nature easily understood as the happiness of youth. My eyes linger on this photo each time I view it because along with the simple warmth of my brother’s expression, is an aspect of mystery. I will always wonder at what I cannot see in this photo. The mystery of the unknown gives the photo a depth that is invisible to the careless observer, but striking to anyone who ventures even a moment’s consideration of the aberration it elicits.
While I love to look at photographs from my past, none have struck me in the way that this image of my brother does every time. To be able to connect with a moment in someone else’s life from just one image of them is incredible, and seldom possible. So many truths are expressed in this one photo, that I feel no written description could do it justice. I realize now that I am extremely lucky to understand the value of this singular photograph, when so many unimportant images flash before my eyes each day. Writing is my tool for understanding the feelings I get from simple everyday experiences. I find now that it has the power to give luster and meaning to what would otherwise remain blurred by the myriad of unimportant images begging to steal my attention.
If you have ever encountered a photograph or painting that has made a powerful impression on you, please tell me about it in the comments section below. (=