‘True’ Appreciation: Self and Identity

My legs scurry down the cold streets, now late, having read Ari’s texts back in the apartment. It is Winter in Germany and the bakeries are packed with their holiday art – pastries. Reaching the corner, six ovens line the bakery’s windows with their glow. I watch as the baker moves about, shifting breads here and there. The early morning is pressing on the outside of the window, emphasising the gooie warmth of perfection. Frozen with the weather, an elderly woman’s red mittens catch my eye. Framed in front of the bakeries windows, she stairs as the oncoming traffic, tucked in her long creamy coat and matching cap.

Ari would be just as engulfed by this as I am, I thought. I fantasised about taking a photo and framing its perfection for Ari. Oh the cozziness they would respond with, recognising too its perfection as they did so many times prior. My thoughts bloomed with things of praise (ego?), a praise for acknowledging such a scene, a scene we would communicate, connect through. Lined with the essence of coziness, this scene, I wondered what part of me, my(self) enjoyed that moment in time, or did I possibly embrace it solely based on another’s liking, or assumption of liking it? Devastatingly, was it only with the presence of the other, reinforcing, acknowledging, that it then had any worth to me? Is it not just a fantasied performance for the other, for my(self)? Why was this disappointing – “just” a performance for ourselves? What about the magical ‘passion’ from within that is suppose to drive our doings?! Is there no internal force? Is there a space without performance? What is the opposition to this – dead?

By actively ‘liking’ something we can assume it is the agency of ‘self’ agreeing with something depending on, and even shaped by, the social/cultural structures in which we are and grew up in. By consuming, the self, that of which it is liking, is either reinforcing, or constructing the self or identity. (This is probably just explaining advertisement and consumerism as it too depends on the concept of liking and consuming as part of self construction, self identity formation – in fact it requires it.)  This is explored in Art as Therapy with reflections what one is attracted to, likes, dislikes, and what that tells us about ourselves, and even our social deficiencies. If ‘liking’ as an action of consumption is the answer than what is the question?

By desiring to send the described scene to Ari, and in knowing it would be a space of approval as we connected through ‘bakery yumminess’ was it not feeding into my sense of identity (or self) – a dance between performance and realities, illusionary and inflated individuality? Is it possible that we feel there is never enough identity? Is identity always at risk of fleeting? Does this drive us to areas of individualism, me, myself, I, in reaction to a fleeting self?

To think we act alone is an illusioned self. WP_20150104_074

…and what if we play with our sense of self – expand it.

I suppose all these questions would become irrelevant then.




Photo Project: Exploring the Fragmentation of Self 

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