Everyone has a self image problem. I usually say I’m against absolute, broad generalizations like this, but this just might be the only case where it’s appropriate. I think I’ve always subconsciously known this, I’ve just never really stopped to think about it because I’ve been too busy working on my own self image.
The problem is so deep. It’s the reason diets exist, the reason gyms stay in business, the very reason plastic surgery is an actual thing. It’s the reason for the fashion industry’s existence. Clothing, jewelry, makeup, body spray, facial cleanser, and the whole beauty supply and hair care industry relies on the poor self images of the masses.
Functionality has crossed over into improving self image. Cars are barely a source of transportation as much as they are a statement of style and status. We have forsaken functionality for self image props to make us feel better about ourselves. Watches are no longer used for the function of timekeeping, they are fashion statements.
I look around and when I remove the veil, I can see it everywhere. Why does my neighbor work so hard on his lawn? Shit, why do I? Why do I iron my shirts? Why do I brush my hair? Why do I care if I get along with others?
A part of me realizes that some of these things are necessary to function within the construct of this self-image obsessed society. But it sucks you in and then you become a lemming, where everyone cares about the same shit. There is an illusion there, too, because there are so many products that help with self image, it feels like I don’t care about the same shit other people care about. I like this brand of <whatever> over this other brand, therefore it’s obvious that we care about different things. Broaden the perspective, though, and you’ll see. The same thing everyone cares about is self image. It’s not the products we choose, it’s not the car we drive, or the new belt we just got from Nordstrom’s that differentiate us. Nothing differentiates us. Those individual items are a microcosim. We’re looking through a microscope when we should be seeing things through a telescope. The macro zoom makes us look different, but we’re not, we’re clones, jockeying for position in a pointless race.
We can’t change though, because we’ve been indoctrinated into this over generations. People are depressed because they feel like they can’t keep up. If the Joneses have it, maybe I need it too because look how happy they are. But what we don’t see is that the Joneses are fucking miserable too, and we don’t see it because we watch their lives through an Instagram filter that they chose us to see them through. None of this bullshit is real. And everyone’s depressed and in catch-up mode against a fake vision of a utopian destination to which they’ll never arrive.
Those are nice shoes. That’s a nice suit. They make you look successful. They make me feel that I should listen to what you have to say because maybe you’ll tell me something that will resonate, and then I can maybe buy some nice shoes and a nice suit and people might want to listen to what I have to say. God, it all seems so shallow. There’s a reason it seems shallow: it is. We get confused about the motives and what drives this type of thing. Make no mistake, at the root of it all is self image. We are always, consciously or not, trying to improve how we feel about ourselves, and none of us ever get the feeling that we are good enough. And this quietly depresses us.
So, I’m saying that maybe this year, we recognize that. I’m not even trying to say we should try to change it. I think by simply recognizing that we all feel inadequate due to society’s drive to improve self image, we can shed at least a little of that feeling of inadequacy, because, shit, we actually are the same. No one is better than us, no one feels better. We all, everyone of us, feels like we’re in catch up mode despite the impression these other people try to give us. It’s a selfie with a filter. All we see is the one picture they let us see and we are oblivious that they took the picture 80 times in a row to show us the perfect one, and then they try to make us believe it was a one-and-done. Nope. Don’t fall for it. Let’s make 2017 the year of recognizing society for what it is. I think, maybe, if we can all do that, we’ll realize there’s no reason to be depressed over the idea that someone looks like they have their shit together, because they don’t. Everyone’s a mess.
Also, and by the way, Muse told me sex sells, so don’t be mad at the misleading blog photo. Simply enjoy it as a separate entity. Thank you for allowing me a little misdirection. 😜