I scroll and scroll and get caught up in a world of phonies, and when I say phonies I don't equate myself to the judgemental voice of Holden Caulfield - rather, I’ve more or less internalized the nature of Holly Golightly and have immersed myself in this world of everything that is fast and fake.
“She is a phony. But on the other hand, you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.” -Truman Capote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
And this is a feeling I carry around every single day in my chest. It hurts some days to acknowledge it and it’s comforting on other days when my sense of self is floundering. It crawls up and down my arms and legs and it manifests in my writing and painting. I’m trying to capture those precious moments that are fleeting and make me feel human, or at least the most authentic version of my human self that doesn’t adhere to all expectations - if such a person can exist.
Our lives are but a series of moments and I’m torn between whether or not they are worth sharing. We share too much in this generation and it gets to the point where I either want to do it excessively or bow out entirely. It’s a struggle to find that balance.
Full days and weeks and months pass and it’s the tiny seconds that stand out or stray away from the ordinary, making them memorable to us, but what are these moments exactly? Are they instances or experiences that society has designed for us? Are you at an Instagramable hot spot? Did you get a big promotion? Are you engaged to be married? Did the sun set and the sky was a myriad of cotton candy colours, a view so mesmeric that you’d think you could soak it all in, and yet you couldn't actually be fully present because you needed to whip out your phone to photograph it as proof that it existed and you experienced it, and promptly post it so everyone knows that you like nature and appreciate beauty.
There is no harm in doing this - we all do it - but I just wonder if our brains are capable of actually absorbing the current moment without feeling this dire need to save it forever on our phones. Can this moment not simply exist in our memory? Can we not save this image in our mind and revisit it when we’re feeling a little lost? Obsessive visual documentation - this is our downfall.
This is, however, what I try to capture every time I paint. I don’t work from any picture - I work from banked up experience. I know that I can’t capture a whole summer in Ottawa on a single canvas - too much has happened! But I have this bag of feelings and moments I’ve collected since summer began and the result is bright, soft, happy, and tranquil. It’s love. It’s experience. It’s family. It’s change. It’s the essence of summer. It’s what I hoped I would feel and what I actually observed. On the other hand, I question all of these experiences and emotions and tear it all down with each brush stroke. I think of how fake I feel and how I’m caught up in this world whose priorities do not match up with mine and I wonder how it seized me and convinced me to chase after frivolous things that add up to nothing and can I prevent this sham of a society from swallowing me up entirely. And then I flip back to how much I want to fit in and go along with what is expected because it’s, dare I say it, the comfortable choice and also the one that deep down I truly want - or at least I think I do. I don’t know anymore!
There is a very fast teeter-totter that is planted in my mind. Everything is a distraction preventing us from seeing our reflection clearly, and yet I want to see me so desperately. The unclouded, unmanipulated version of me - and I’m hopeful that with each brush stroke and each word typed I can achieve this. I only hope that we can all find this part of ourselves, the part that doesn’t feel an insatiable need to fit in or be on trend or show off wealth. The part that embraces flaws as less of a weakness or more as a strength and the part that accepts our individuality as the highest form of currency.