So, last night I went to see the new Christopher Nolan film, Inception. It's not really what I'm here to talk about, but while I'm on the subject let me just tell you that right now I am thinking it may be the best movie I've ever seen. Anyway, the point of me bringing it up is that the main theme in the movie is one's concept of reality. In the movie, it's the question of reality versus dreams, but what I want to bring up here is reality versus projection.
Are you a person whose reality is defined by how you feel inside, or is your reality defined by how others see you? Do you take photos to cherish a special time in your life or do you take them to share them with friends or family and project a certain image of yourself and the life you are living? John Mayer put out this really good song called 3x5 and he basically talked about taking his eyes out from behind the camera and just living life. The idea of the song sounds so free, to stop viewing everything through a 3x5 frame and see the entire landscape and just really live every moment. Is a moment valuable to you if you can't show others that it happened or prove that it was there?
I think I've been in both of these places in my life. I've been so focused on my own internal satisfaction that I didn't care what anyone in the world thought of me. In those moments I'd often find my foot in my mouth or feel isolated because I'd shut the idea of anyone's perception of me being important at all. I've also been so obsessed with appearance of my family or relationship that I've lived as a prisoner to keeping up a certain idea. In those moments, I was miserable unless I was around people. I could only be happy when I was basking in the others who were around to tell me what a beautiful life or family I had.
At this point in my life I just try to walk the line. To understand that on a certain level some "keeping up appearances" is expected. If my spouse and I are in the middle of a fight and his family walks in, it's possible that instead of screaming "YOU'RE FAMILY'S HERE MOTHERFUCKER" and storming away, I'll sit down and socialize while holding his hand and being close. Sometimes that interruption in our tension and that physical togetherness will create a genuine feeling of togetherness within us and the tension ceases to exist. Now the togetherness isn't even about keeping up an appearance even if it started that way. There are probably more moments in life than I admit that I want to throw my kids out the window and get a moment of peace. But it doesn't mean I don't adore them, which is also what I project more. I may not always say that I'm scratching at the walls to get away from my family on some particular days, but it's a truth. A truth that within reason I'm honest about, and find other parents/spouses can relate. It crosses my mind that I could sneak out like a theif in the night and live naked and free among the pine trees for the rest of eternity. Does it mean that's even remotely close to reality? No. So we don't necessarily have to be SO open and genuine with our thoughts that we give a wrong impression or isolate ourselves, either.
That was a long and rambling post. But I think it's a good thing to ask yourself. Who are you really living for, and what defines your reality?