Whether it’s intentional or subconscious, humans are at the mercy of defining everything and everyone. More often than not, or dare I say all of the time, we designate so many details of a person to certain characteristics that when combined, encase them in this inescapable material that we then slap a label on top of. The worst part is, they really don’t have much of a say in the matter.
Now, we do have relative control over how we are perceived. For example, if I decide to wear a full on “I’m ready to kick ass” pant suit to work every day, it would hopefully give people the initial impression that I take my job seriously because I chose to put effort into looking as professional as possible. How I present myself through actions as well as appearance gives some guidance as to how I would like to be perceived. But let’s say there was someone at work that thought wearing pant suits was trying too hard and that they didn’t like other tendencies I had such as how I answer the phone. Let’s call this person Beth. In my mind, I do these things because I think they would be perceived positively but I have absolutely no control over the fact that Beth thinks it makes me “a try hard.” So to say the least, I see these little things very differently from Beth.
These little pieces of ourselves can be put together like a puzzle. Each are different, smaller aspects that when combined, create one overall image. The social construct we as humans have created, in combination with our personal preferences, uses that picture to determine our success. To define if we are above or below each other. To define if we are winners, losers, lovers, haters, ugly, pretty, rich, poor, skinny, fat, smart, stupid, terrific, terrible. We don’t always paint those pieces for ourselves. Their meaning is determined by what society thinks they should mean, and society is always at a divide. Someone will see your puzzle picture as beautiful while another will see it as disgusting. It’s funny because no one really cares how we see it. On the rare occasion that someone asks us “Well, what do you think your best qualities are?” we’re caught like a deer in headlights. Over time, it’s been so ingrained in us that people don’t really seem to care how we see ourselves. It wasn’t until recently that we have slowly come around to promoting being unapologetically confident. Something we often forget is that we are able to see more of these pieces than the world gets to see. We have pieces we don’t have to share, the things we can keep to ourselves, the pieces no one gets to define. The light at the end of the tunnel is that the puzzle has two sides. One side is ours, one is the world’s and when the world turns on you, fuck it, you’ve got your own work of art.