“Manifest everything you desire!”
“Look years younger!”
“Live your best life!”
We have all been trained, from a very early age, to conceal and manipulate aspects of our humanity in order to please others and win love and approval and protect ourselves from failure and ridicule and psychological death.
We are all, to a lesser or greater degree, well-trained actors.
Until we wake up. This is no judgement. This is the human condition.
See, the heroes and heroines of our age! Those flawlessly made-up and air-brushed visages. Those perfectly toned and sculpted bodies, not a trace of fat, cellulite, anything that would remind us of mortality, illness, confusion, loneliness, physical decay. The perfect display of health, excellent control of the faculties, bright smiles and a positive outlook. The contoured hairs of the head and face, grey and white obliterated, everything bleached, dyed, shaved, cropped and chopped, effortlessly on trend, sexy without ever trying to be sexy, all broadcast real-time, image as “reality”.
You must understand: External beauty is no beauty at all – it is ugliness and fear - when it is used to mask our authentic pain, smother our authentic internal devastation, airbrush away our wildness. Only in our devastation can our true beauty and identity be found, only in our darkness and our striving for the light can our deepest humanity be known. A broken heart, displayed without shame - hell, even displayed with shame, what do I care - is the most exquisitely beautiful thing of all. Our flaws and deformities, our rage and our despair, our rolls of flab, our spots and dry mouths, our trembling hands and fluttering bellies, our nausea and our burning guilt, our moles and birthmarks and our yearning for connection - no airbrush, no “sexy” pose, no new suit or dress or fragrance or hairstyle can improve upon this fucking divinity, heal our unhealed trauma, or make us whole again.
I sit not in judgement of the image and the external world - it is all God’s play, after all, it is all her artwork and her joy. Even the image is holy, and don’t get me wrong, I love to play with appearances too, I love pretending to shift around the forms of this world and make things that are pleasing to the eye and ear. But, I tell you, friend, even if you craft the most beautiful external form, and even if you are loved and admired for your perfect presentation of “self”, and you build your success and happiness upon your presentation, and you win a million followers and lovers and sponsors and awards for your presentation, you will continue to feel abandoned inside, and lost, and godless, and fraudulent.
If your self-worth gets tied up with your carefully-crafted self-image, and if you forget who you truly are, and if you lose yourself in your own presentation and in the approval of the “others”, your success will not feel like success at all, and your work will exhaust you eventually, and your beauty will turn to ugliness, and you will want to die before long, you will want to blow up all you have built, set fire to the beauty, you will want to numb it all away with substances, and more work, and forgetting, which would be such a shame, because you are capable of such integrity, you are destined for something so noble and dignified, and you are so beautiful inside, really you are.
The shiniest, plumpest lips, the tightest muscles, the most flexibly oiled limbs in all the yogic and tantric positions. Effortless-looking poses effortfully designed to make us look effortlessly attractive. The latest diet and fashion trends. Perfectly worded inspirational quotes about happiness, health and higher levels of consciousness. Teachings of positivity and enlightenment and eternal joy and bliss and love. All ugly and empty and repulsive to the soul, when they are not shot through with authentic human pain, infused with the rage and the billion unwept tears of the orphaned child, forged in the sweat and the stink and the suffering of years and years of a feverish internal campaigning for truth, fed by a fierce, near-erotic nostalgia for God.
Take off your costume, now, friend.
Rub off your make-up. Burn the script.
Gain weight. Wear rags. Forget your own philosophy.
Doubt everything you know.
I don’t care about your image.
Just show me your fucking heart.
~ Jeff Foster