Monday, 8 June 2015

Turning Point

A couple of years ago, Dove came out with an ad to encourage women and girls to accept themselves as beautiful.  The ad, dubbed Camera Shy, made me smile. It also made me think. Good on Dove, for I imagine that that's part of what they were after. It becomes rather revealing when we stop and think about whether as adults we are now camera shy, and what led us to that point.

If we are, there may be several reasons for it. The least of them might not be a matter of privacy. There may be a legitimate concern about how an innocent and candid photo may end up being used on the Internet. Apart from that, however, may be the more grueling issue of our perception of our natural beauty, whether it is...enough at any given time. And, if it isn't, when did we start thinking so? And, can we go back?

But, this post is not about that - per se.

Something came to mind other day. Remember that line in Mr. Monk and the Very, Very Old Man, when Stottlemeyer was asked why he hadn't done something or other? His response was stteo, "I'd hurt his feelings... That's my new full-time job - not hurting people's feelings."  It's one of those lines that stuck with me because it's indicative of that shift between worlds. There is a turning point between the childlike (and often entertaining) innocence that produces frank, unfiltered responses, and the caution we employ as we get more emotionally aware and considerate of people's feelings. It happens. We learn it from family, or the other social structures to which we become exposed as we grow. Yeah, it happens. And, little by little, we begin to apply filters and cushions and, in no time, we become very adept at not saying what we really mean.

I believe most adults do not enjoy that luxury I love to refer to in a favourite C.S. Lewis quote: "Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."

It does sound oh-so-good on its own, doesn't it? The larger piece from which I grabbed it not only provides context, but answers, on point, the reason we often remain in our new-found comfort zone, having made the transition between worlds; the reason it's hard to go back.

“Lightly men talk of saying what they mean. Often when he was teaching me to write in Greek the Fox would say, “Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.” A glib saying. When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the centre of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about joy of words.” 
- C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces


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