On self-portraiture

I grew up editing my body, carefully removing myself from it, from this damn cage of skin. I grew up split. My mind in other realities, narrating a life I was merely observing; and my body, just there, stuck in a looped obsession with its appearance. I am the body that I own, the one that I carry, the same one that owns my mind. How wide is the distance between the me that I created for the world and the me that I am? How many pins will I keep pinning to this imaginary jacket, how many new layers of plastic to cover this itchy skin?

Sometimes if I look at the same point for too long I forget I can control this skin that envelops me; it may be a chair, or a house, or a leaf falling from one of the house plants I can call home. Just for a few seconds I vanish, lost in a universe I do not yet understand. I tell myself that maybe there is where machines go when we turn them off. A limbo of our own making, a place that not even Dante would have been able to get to —considering his poor programming experience. Sometimes I read entire chapters before remembering I forgot that I am meant to understand, Instead just reciting letters in my head. I am two; one here sitting on this floor next to a fake fire, desperately needing to pee; the other in this note, vomiting emotions hoping they will land on the page as sentences.

We were constructing a digital identity before the internet was born, endlessly creating images of us for others to comprehend. We are split because it is in our nature, we exist alone and we do along with others; like sophisticated peacocks, we paint our feathers, according to seasonal trends. We always did. The only difference is that now we can gloss our virtual plumage, inventing versions of us so far from the skin we got assigned. There have always been two of us in each one of us, one stuck in a body, the other dreaming of a freedom we exchanged for status. We always did; giving each other labels, slapping stickers on our hats, claiming titles and dream to reach to finally be worthy.

I believe in self-portraiture as a tool to go back into our skins, to see ourselves from a different angle. Maybe, to just move a bit. Trust me, it helps. 

Using Format