Life Like A Painting | 7.18.21

The Sunday Edition

I’m prone to truth on this here Signal Fire. You know this, I know this. I spill out honest reflection, vulnerable introspection, and I do so without really knowing I’m doing it, at all. My hope, and my check-in question for you right now, is that these truth bombs I keep throwing your way, add up to something you still consider special. Another honest truth: I absolutely, positively, completely, love writing these. I love the once-a-week format, I love the space to be more in-depth, more encompassing, and I love that your inboxes aren’t bogged down and saturated. I love this community we’ve built, I love all the interaction, all the writing, the creation, the connection on for those of you who have jumped behind the paywall. I love the questions you ask during the Worry Knott Advice Column, I LOVE reading all your writing each week in the Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt. I just love this, and I so very much hope you do too.

Here’s another truth: ALL of our lives, when viewed from further back, can take on a Monet-like appearance, and this is a fact I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. We glance outward, we see the lives that others are living, be it on social media, on television, even fictional accounts in film and books, and we feel pangs of longing, often even jealousy that rises in the center of us. Fact is friends, it’s all rubbish, it’s all nonsense, it’s all impressionism masquerading as realism. Get up close enough and you see the brush strokes, you see the chunks of paint that dried slower than the rest, the smears where palm met canvas before color had a chance to set. Up close, our lives are a mess, all of us, even those who seem most put together, even those whose canvases seem pristine and perfect. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or selling you something, anyone who disputes this isn’t living a real life, at all.

Problem with this highlight prone society is the lack of transparency, the lack of honesty, the lack of vulnerability. We are a species that craves reinforcement and oddly, we forget that often the most reassuring and helpful kind of reinforcement comes not when we share our constant successes, but when we share our failures. We’re also a species that rallies around the underdog, and by openly sharing the chinks in our own armor, we open ourselves up to levels of support unparalleled when all we do is posture with the best moments, curated and carefully collected. I’m here to plea for something different, something I’ve been aiming at for a long time, hoping for even longer, and stirring the pot to try to make normal. It is simple, it is so important, and I hope you listen:

Be Honest About EVERYTHING. Show the shadows, show the lows, highlight the failures as much as the successes, show the messy side, show the up-close view that proves you’re as much cracks as you are the smooth porcelain, show up, show off all that you’ve been hiding away. The more we all do this, the more of a trend we make this, the more of a phase that sticks around, the healthier we will be, the more we will understand that we’re all the same, spread out and searching on this planet, we’re all broken and doing our best.

Let’s start now, today, and let’s push forward like revolution. Let’s overwhelm social media with honest, vulnerable representation. Sound off below, what aren’t we seeing? Who are you, really?

Life like a painting,

stunning when seen at distance,

quite the mess up close.

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

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