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The Moving Self

August 1, 2011

Voyeurs of the world, converge on yourselves.

Because there is a movie that you need to watch. That everyone should watch.  But, note that I in no way stated that everyone should not watch the same movie. To mystify you further, it probably isn’t a ‘movie’ in the conventional sense.

You would need twenty-four hours to watch, and probably many more to absorb and understand. But if you did, you just might finally be able to get over yourself. To phrase it nicely, you could potentially cast aside the niggling questions and self-anxiety that prevents you from actually understanding your place in the world.

I am talking about watching a day in the life. In your life. From morning to morning, seeing yourself as if you were a disembodied person in the room, cloaked in invisibility or mediocrity. Viewing yourself at the distance required for proper focus.

It would be the most ordinary of your ordinary days. And obviously, for this to work you would not know filming was taking place.

And it sounds narcissistic, but it really isn’t. Watching an hour of yourself is an ego party, but committing to a full twenty-four means you are ready to love, then hate, then accept, then let go of yourself. To settle your concerns about how you appear to others and match up the horribly amplified picture you have of yourself to the one being presented. Imagine being able to understand whether what you think you are is how you end up coming across. Imagine the power that would give you to understand your life, your relationships; the information you could use to ensure that you convey yourself more clearly. You could sell self-help books to yourself without the slightest hint of sleaze. Moving past all the introspective hand-wringing which can lead nowhere due to lack of data, you could finally move onto more important things. Instead of ‘how do I sound to others’, ‘how can I best get this idea to them, knowing that I sound like an aging auctioneer?’. Instead of ‘I am pretty sure I walk like a duck’, ‘damn, I do walk like a duck, but that’s okay’. (My preoccupation with duck-walking is, sadly, necessitated by the reality of my childhood).

And of course, you would watch yourself sleep for six to eight hours, realizing again and again that you are inefficient, at times hilariously and hideously unattractive, strangely captivating and unapologetically alive.

This film almost sells itself, at least to an audience of one. Why wouldn’t you want to bring your weaknesses and your strengths into focus, then forgive and let it all go? Let the anxiety fall away. Leave the theatre exhausted, but able to start matching up how you think you are to how to actually are. Be grounded in a sense of your identity but not obsessed by it.

We spend a lot of our lives asking unanswerable questions of ourselves, questions that take up space we could be using for other things. All you need is a day to put one of the most troublesome to rest. Who am I to others?

So twenty-four hours to celebrate yourself, burn with embarrassment, then become very silent, watching and accepting and forgiving yourself for being a human creature and chewing too loudly, or, yes, even walking like a duck. The movie everyone should watch would be one that let you see yourself as a moving picture – from all angles, in all lights.

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