The look we live through
24 November 19
Posted at 2:27
I don’t think anymore about what I should be or what I should do more of, nor make efforts to be something I’m not or try to do more of what I should do. I observe, accept and give my best, without punishment, while I enjoy all that I love to be, to do and want to do more.
When I accept myself I can introduce myself as I am, without fear of being judged, because the fear of being judged by others reflects our own judgement of ourselves and others. Having said this, I allow myself to say without guilt or unworthiness that the amount of books I have read or left half-read can be easily counted. And I feel released, because when I first confessed this to a friend who is a writer she didn’t judge me but instead explained that I’m a visual person who understands the world through images. This is why the amount of times I’ve appreciated the sunshine gleaming through the leaves of a tree, the golden light of the sunset bathing the facade of a building, the movement of a train crossing the horizon, the magenta hues in the clouds and reflections on a drop of water are in contrast, countless.
Despite not being a big reader, I was lucky enough to come across a book that to me is more like a window, named The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera. One of the treasures contained in this book is the author’s ideas about being seen. Kundera tells us how we all need someone to look at us, and to explain this he divides looks into four categories. Each category is based on the type of look we want to live under: the public look of unknown eyes, the look of familiar eyes, the look of the person we love, and the imaginary look of absent people.
Whichever category one feels identified with, it seems inevitable to accept that it’s like this; that the engine that moves us is a look that encourages us to do wonderful things but also limits and traps us. And Kundera says that in the dangerous case that those eyes that look at us close, the light goes out... And, in that case, I wonder what remains. I believe that freedom remains, because the less we care about the look of others the more authentic we are.
Personally, I feel that I have always lived under the look of the four categories; of the first three I constantly hope to be told that I’m doing well and seek approval to feel valid. On the other hand, of the fourth, the most precious according to Kundera, I receive inspiration. I dream of the look of people I admire, of my most perfect self and even of creation itself. And this look makes us do incredible things that only dreamers can do, because this last look doesn’t judge, but instead brings out the best in each of us in our yearning to be part of the eternal and inexplicable and to make living worth it.
When we live through the fourth category we realize that we can dance naked on the seashore, because nobody is watching us. We realize that we can show what we create, because we don't do it for a prize. We realize that we can show ourselves as we are, because nobody is judging us. We can laugh with an open mouth, dress weird, express what we feel, cry with an ugly face, hug a stranger, love fully, because we only care about something bigger than ourselves. And we let ourselves flow, and be and do what we love.
And that's when we stop losing our lives. And it is only then that we can say to ourselves: "I am going to make of this life, which before was a sketch of what could have been, an authentic masterpiece."