Perceptions and Crafts
Dear Lawrence Kohlberg,
Today I read an article , written on Backstage several months ago, about the Velvet/Lavender/Gay Mafia that struck a nerve in me. It is the same nerve that is struck whenever I think about relationships. This stricken nerve is that I’m judged by my exterior and not my interior. Feel free to call it whatever -ism suits your fancy, but to me they’re all judgments based on perceptions. For some reason, love -isms trumps career -isms, but I digress.
While lying in bed with Dear, I expressed my hesitancy about being with him when we first met each other. To be fair to both parties, our initial meeting was a wham/bam/thank you ma’am affair. After that encounter, he would entreat me to visit again, while I was hesitant. There is nothing wrong with being like a cat on a hot tin roof. We all have needs, especially Scorpios. My hesitancy wasn’t because of a mutual attraction but instead I feared he objectified me while I would want something more if this were to be a continuing affair. Instead of being seen in two dimensions, I wanted depth and perspective. And I didn’t take him seriously until he admitted that he failed to see me as more than, for a lack of better words, a ‘hot piece of ass.’ While I can play the ditz, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. And I like to think I’m well aware how men work, even if I have little insight into myself.
Outside of love, and when it comes to a career, I also want depth. I’m well aware that appearances will definitely open doors more often than abilities. These appearances aren’t limited to the physical but any appearance that a person can present, including the appearance of this alter ego I’ve created. What makes me uncomfortable and insecure at times is when I begin to question if the door I walked into was opened because of my physical appearances or abilities. Appearances are two dimensional, and can be quite deceiving., and at times they can be based on desires, as the article points out. There is something different to be said about doors opened on the basis of abilities. These ability-opened doors presumes an ouvreture, a portfolio, a history. These doors makes an assumption that a comparison was made between the present range of which a person is capable and also how far a person has come from beginning until now.
It is also one of the reasons I prefer a life in the arts, whatever that may be, because along the way to becoming a master, from hopefully humble beginnings as an apprentice sharpening his craft to then a journeyman and finally master, one acquires and continues to acquire pieces to add to that portfolio. And then at some point an artist creates his magnum opus and no longer needs the portfolio. Still, one can use the portfolio to trace the steps that master took to reach his goal.
I also remember a conversation I had with Maclean, back during the Summer of Love and Modern Romanticism, about competition. At some point, we were discussing Kohlberg’s moral development. He was working on his master’s, while I was “on a sabbatical” from my bachelors. At any rate, the conversation blended our views towards competition and where we thought we were on Kohlberg’s scale of moral development. I used to abhor competition in any form because I found it to be unconstructive. I think I’ve modified my opinion to view competition, among peers, as a way to better oneself. And if one is going to compete, then one needs to compete at one’s level until reaching the level where he/she is competing with the best. It’s taken a long time for me to reach this stage, and I’m quite proud I’ve gotten to this point in my life. Just as I’ve come a long way in my view towards competition, I also hope that my moral development has progressed as well.
What began as a diatribe against the casting couch and appearances has turned into a longwinded way of saying I refuse to settle. And I think that by refusing to settle speaks volumes not only about my moral development but also about how far my self-worth has come. Never underestimate the importance of self-worth. This was also a long winded way of saying that I am back. For now at least. I took time off of documenting my personal growth in order to take care of myself (find a job to pay the bills while also completing the requirements to complete my undergraduate degree). And now that I have taken care of myself, and finished what I had started a long, long time ago, I am ready to continue documenting my personal and artisitic growth. And honestly, between driving the 2+ hours to and from Athens just to complete a degree while working simultaneously part-time, I had little time for anything else.
I am confident in my writing. I have become confident in my photography, especially portraiture. And especially given the present circumstances of working for a retail photography chain which doesn’t allow one to add photos to a portfolio. I would like to become more confident in my acting abilities. And have taken steps to do that by enrolling in acting classes at the Alliance Theatre. The only other artistic endeavors in which I would like to become more confident are cinema/directing, dancing, and painting. Perhaps even designing clothing while I still have the vibrancy of youth to pull off what I’d like to design. But for me, just a craft or three at at a time.