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A Glass Perspective
I will never understand this place where I stand.
Life is a matter of perspective. It is subjective. It bends and twists and breaks, it moves in tandem with us, shifting as we do.
Glasses are often stated as half empty or half full, as either-or but never both. The glass bends the light as it catches, and the light turns and shines like a lighthouse or a firework flare, all depending on how the glass is standing. Where it is standing. Where it is moved.
We live in a hall of mirrors, each mirror distorted and misshapen but utterly reflective. And depending on where we stand we see different versions of ourselves, reflected back in wayward ways. Are we tall? Strong? Do we look curled over, sad, small, weak? Are we who we think we are? Is this mirror me? Or is it this one? Which one shows me who I am?
Do they all?
Maybe none of them are.
We are what we wish other people to see, because people see what we want them to see. And we want them to see us, and we want them to like us.
But these are not always mutual things, seeing and liking. We see the mirrors, but we do not like them. We know that other people can see us reflected in them. If only we’d step aside, look in a different mirror—one that does not make us appear a withered stick or a formless shell. But we do not move.
We choose the ugly, the scarred, the broken. We see this. We know others see this. And we do not like it. So we drive our hands across the glass and tear it down, relishing in every crack, every shard, every shatter.
We cut our hands and destroy our image and we continue until there is nothing left of us, nothing but an empty place where once a shadow of us had stood.
If only we’d moved.
If only we’d stepped aside.
Then we would be able to see what a select few have the advantage of observing, being in a more perfect perspective than ours. They stand in a different light. One that flatters us, though we cannot see its sweeping bow, nor hear its applause; we do not feel its shouts for encore, nor taste the roses it throws at us.
And it is a silly thing, this thing we forget. For this stage-light that embraces others may not fit us, not the way we want it to.
We are seated on the balcony, but we wish that we could perform.
We are ballerinas behind closed theater curtains.
Orchestras in a soft-edged room.
But I do not understand that my place is not here, where I was put, where I have fallen into. It is not here, where the mirrors all turn back on me with sharp angles and twisted jaws and haunted figures. It is not here, where the light does not hit me unless it deals a heavy-handed blow.
No, this is not my place. But it is my only place, the only place I know.
I, but not you.
Sometimes someone else must move us—they must take our hands and lead us, assure us that they will catch us if—when—we fall. And we will fall, in this new territory. We will stumble upon mirrors that do not glare at us. Lights that halo us.
Crowds that see us, and like us.
But we still have to have the courage to move our feet for ourselves. To alter our perspective. We must find ourselves a new place to stand.
And then the world will bend around us.
• • •
The picture up there is a lamp/light fixture-thing I saw in a store in Granville Island in Canada. I didn’t have a tripod with me so it’s a little shaky, but I just thought it was pretty.