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Questions of the Day: Personal Transparency

 

Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec...

Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec-Aztec provenance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m using this poem of mine to lead into my subject of the day.

 

Window to the Soul

My presence acts as a window

To the human known as me.

Through that window you

Can see masks I wear eternally.

 

This mask reflects where I’ve been,

Still more show what I do with time.

Another suggests secrets held within;

Each mask a new persona.

 

Feathers, sequins, jewels, glitter

Before the beholder’s eyes,

Dropping hints about who I am,

Yet leaving me secured, invisible.

 
Each of us has gone through cycles within our lives. The practice is normal and human. We start as children learning all the lessons that will take us to an age where driving and dances are the norm. Some of us also take a path, somewhere along the way, that forces us to grow up all the sooner.

Once we have the ticket to responsibility called “a license,” we move on to planning the next decade of our lives; college or a job, singlehood or marriage, childless or not. They all make it into the mix of aspirations and goal lists.

Rules guard these bastions of normal living in our world. Each culture has its own signposts and traffic tickets. Once in a while, cultures crossover into each other, and create mutual signposts and tickets. It’s up to the average human to learn all of these and navigate the highways of modern living.

For all of the meandering we do in our lives, how much of ourselves do we really put out there for others to see or know?

“Plenty,” you say. But, do we really? The internet has made a public forum of many of our lives’ aspects. We blog, comment, dole out pieces of ourselves on Facebook on a daily basis and think nothing of it. It seems expected of web users to be “Transparent.”

The question remains. How much of our true selves do we reveal to the public?

Are we not merely shedding our masks, one at a time; those masks that protect us from revealing too much of the one who resides within the core of self?

I am a writer. I write about many things for many types of readers. My public image reveals those aspects of my writer’s mask. I’m female. Enough said on that score. I’m opinionated because I was taught to be so. Education will do that when it isn’t stifled by arbitrary bureaucratic controls.

Yet, within all I’ve revealed about who I am, few really know me, and I prefer it that way. Our deeds reveal more about us than anything we can say about ourselves.

My poem says a bit more in its way. It intimates that masks are all we see of each other. We all do it, and we do it because the world isn’t always the safest place to live.

One of Jack Nicholson’s best remembered lines from “A Few Good Men” was “The truth! You can’t handle the truth.”

His statement is far more honest than most. We aren’t prepared to be ourselves in front of others, any more than we’re prepared to discover our own deeper selves. We lie to ourselves all the time through rationalization, justification, and turning a blind eye. Doing so greases the wheels of our daily existence. The person who doesn’t do this is a rare model indeed.

All of this brings us to one last question. What is transparency? If it means revealing warts, halos, and all the rest of ourselves to each other, we will have created the very chaos we’ve worked so tenaciously to avoid. Imagine someone knowing what you really think of you parents, your sibs, yourself. Imagine others knowing every secret you’ve ever harbored, every lie you’ve ever told, every doubt plaguing your days. That is transparency.

Now, imagine yourself seeing everyone’s lives in the same way every time you open your eyes. Ask yourself: do you really want that kind of world?

When you have an answer, drop it in a comment here and inform the world. Until then,

A bientot,

Claudsy

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