Captured by compelling visual subjects, I often instinctively reach for my camera. This particular visual delight was a bouquet of hot pink lilies surrounded by periwinkle blue delphinium stems artistically arranged in a clear glass vase, a focal point on an entry table in an office building.
As I centered my phone camera on the colorful display in awe of the intense color fusion, I recognized my error. Believing in the authenticity of this arrangement, my mind’s eye was fooled, and I found myself duped by a lifelike impression. After seeing the humor in the situation, I quickly switched to a deep reflection followed by questions.
I’m on a search for authenticity.
Is there anyone else who ever finds themselves fooled by fake impressions?
From a distance an arrangement may appear real; but upon closer examination, we may find it lacks authenticity. Our world is filled with simulated and seemingly flawless representations of natural elements with the intent to enhance our environments, and yet all they do is detract from our overall sensory experience.
As nature’s images entice me, I find hidden beauty when I move in closer, as close as my camera will allow, to clearly focus on a micro-view of life that remains unobserved by the naked eye. These unrevealed authenticities are unknowingly passed by every day as we may find ourselves distracted by “life-like” illusions displayed in counterfeit settings.
And now I go deeper, the petals unfolding…How much does my own life reflect this phenomenon? How authentic am I?
How much better would it be to reveal my natural self in my interactions rather than staying stuck sharing a generic impression, like fake flowers, a dust-collecting replica of who I only wish to be, devoid of flaws and authenticity, a life-like fantasy?
As an exercise, I opened up to a trusted confidante and shared an error in judgment, a perceived flaw in my character. I wanted to bloom, allow myself to be vulnerable with the admission, and walk away feeling whole rather than unclothed. Although it wasn’t comfortable for me, baring my truth encouraged deeper personal inspection and a revelation.
Watching my words wisely in self-protective conversations, I may be giving the impression of confidence in my self-assured aspirations; but, I may also be lacking authenticity by omitting the finer details of a messy aging process. Within the constraints of self-imposed societal expectations, I am clearly missing opportunities to expose the authentic me.
Because impressions are perceived by the eye of the beholder, I recognize that I cannot impress everyone, just as I cannot always make a good first impression or a lasting impression.
What I can do is slowly allow my petals of authenticity to curl open and welcome closer examination, as I embrace each new step forward, on the path of discovery. I invite you closer, through my work today.
-Erika K Rothwell
Please read my simultaneous post, an expose’, “The Beautiful Eccentric.”