My favorite book in the Little House series was Farmer Boy. I was so drawn to the simple lives they led, filled with hard but honest work, good food and strong families. I have often longed for a similar simplicity. Sometimes I wonder if the Amish aren't onto something.
There's something to be said for embracing a distilled kind of lifestyle that chooses to take the time to craft things by hand, and one that rejects vanity. I honestly think I could learn to live quite nicely without electricity and even technology (the hand cramps from writing longhand notwithstanding).
What I wish I could live without is a mirror.
They say that the best way to spot a counterfeit is not to study examples of counterfeits, but rather to get to know the real thing. Really get to know it. Know every inch and every mark.
It is by knowing what's real that you will recognize the fake.
My weakness is my mirror – my metaphorical mirror, that is. Well, my literal mirror too, but that's another story. Another weakness entirely. It is not the outer flaws I have trouble dealing with. It's the fact that I've spent too much time staring at what's inside. And it sidetracks me every time.
I think that's why this part of the journey to “write myself alive” is so difficult at this point. I've spent days on end now bleeding onto the page.
Bleeding inside myself.
Unfortunately, every time I focus on the reality of the ugliness inside, I start to sink, and it's really hard to surface again. I know I'm not alone in this. I've heard similar stories from others recently.
But maybe we've gone about it all wrong. Maybe if we got more comfortable with our flaws, stared at them more often, allowed them to assimilate into the fabric of who we are, we wouldn't feel the need to self-medicate with technology. With vanity. Maybe it is precisely this sinking feeling, this supreme discomfort with looking at what's real in ourselves, that has caused the disconnect in the first place.
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression… And then acceptance.
Sometimes I wonder if the healthiest, bravest people among us on this planet are those who have lost their vanity and allowed it to evaporate, leaving behind such a simplified, pure, flawed and beautiful acceptance of self that is so real, we can't help but stare at it.
And then, eventually, everything else starts to look fake…