Dave McFalls. “Social Masks.” 2007. Acrylic and Marker on unstretched canvas
Our society compels us to engage in social posturing precisely because it has expectations for ‘desirable behaviour’ and culturally circumscribed ‘ideal characteristics’ of men and women. However, it makes us false and our lives hollow. It also renders our interactions with other people superficial and all but meaningless.
Social posturing is false by its very definition; it is pretending to be what we are not. It cannot be who we really are; we are prior to all posturing. There is much value in seeking out this ‘real me’ before the pretending and looking deeply into it. We must be brave enough to be that; this is the theory and practice of Socrates’ ‘know thyself.’
Part of what I learned yesterday, while sitting on the couch and talking on a very deep, honest, and open level with Zoe, Alexie, Natacha, Luke, and Britney, is the importance of being willing to be fully myself, to be authentic and real with myself and with others. It is only when we are real with one another that we can have truly meaningful connections.
I have reached a point in my life where I am through with pretending; from this day forward, I vow to be real (authentic) and mindfully present in each moment. There may be circumstances when I will have to emphasize aspects of myself and deemphasize others (as in a job interview), but I am through with pretending to be what I’m not. I want real connections and meaning, not a superficial meeting of masks.