Updated: Jul 24, 2020
My old Canon desk jet's software included a one-click photo editing tool that benevolently blurred my imperfections. Suddenly, my skin was smoother, emitting a radiant glow without costly creams or surgispa procedures. The effect was subtle but powerful. How I loved that little tool! Never mind that it was just an illusion. My bathroom bulb showed every wrinkle, pimple and pore. In the end, I always had to face my imperfect self. So very true. Now everyone and everything is subject to real or figurative filters that are powerful and anything but subtle. Will we face reality or carry on the massive delusion that we’re better than we are? Better than others?
I strenuously object.
I called my vlog Unfiltered for a few reasons I hope to combat, if only in myself. I despair at the rampant use of filters by women, especially young women, so extreme the results border on grotesque. Anime eyes, razor blade noses, chamois skin and ethereal glow. Today’s photo-editing tools are surgical substitutes that betray our desire to be someone other than who we are—or at least, to appear to be. How does a gal reconcile her unfiltered self with the distorted mask she posts to her world? I suppose the same way the rest of us do. Denial. What’s the impact on her self-image? Gee, that can’t be good. I say this with heartbreaking tenderness, not judgement. I want to be beautiful, too. Just not at the expense of being real.
Having lived many years as only a fraction of myself for all sorts of lousy reasons, I now want to live authentically, unfiltered. My readers tell me the thing they like most about my writing and speaking is my openness and vulnerability. In revealing my own struggles, people feel comforted and encouraged they're not alone in their fragile humanity. I have issues. You do, too.
Honesty & Integrity
I also heave sighs at the boundless hypocrisy that has us in a perpetual finger-pointing posture that lacks frank self-appraisal. We’re quick to condemn the other folks’ vitriol, all with red-faced murderous rage, emboldened by the anonymity of social media. We becry bigotry and prejudice, even as we stereotype other admittedly less sympathetic groups, who yes, are hypocrites like everyone else. We measure smallness and character by self-serving yardsticks. Good golly, folks. We’ve really lost it.
The kind of vulnerable honesty to face this truth requires a measure of humility that sometimes has to be beaten into us by circumstances we can't fix. Kinda like the ones we have now. Still, the pretense persists.
We wear masks of tolerance and good manners, under which lies the Picture of Dorian Gray (a very fine book and movie, btw). And it must be said, given the climate, that while there’s no denying President Trump's despicable words and ways, at least he's mostly wysiwyg. Unlike, say, the people who chat smilingly and grit-toothed at me or anyone, all the while seething with toxic rancor. (Disclaimer lest I be tarred: I’m not a Trump supporter, but I advance the idea that vilification of anyone perpetuates the problem of hatred.)
Please do note that I use the first person plural pronoun “we.” I count myself in this motley crew of hypocrites, along with all of humanity. I will say, though, that I’ve been graciously allowed to see and ultimately embrace my ego-equalizing unseemliness. That hasn’t been a tidy process, but that’s no doubt due largely to my heels, dug in deep. I had to be plowed, backhoed and chiseled out of my self-protective veneer.
This disaster of self-deceived division is killing us.
In conclusion (in pompous British baritone)…
The bottom line, punchline, point is this: We cannot hope to overcome the crisis we currently face without recognizing and confessing our collective corruption. Not a single one of us is righteous. Not a single one of us can judge another. We are all lost and in desperate need of saving. Given the current woeful state of affairs on so many fronts beyond our pay grades, can we deny we’re all pretty messed up?
In Paradise, mythical or real, Adam and Eve were blissfully, unguardedly naked before God. They weren't perfect, they were perfectly unashamed. After the dastardly deception that they could be gods themselves, they traded perfection for perdition. We’re living the cost of our lostness in every headline today, whatever the origin. We need help.
There is a solution.
That one is God. May we find him now. We simply can’t pull this off without some super-powered help. But we can’t fix something if we don’t see it needs fixing and admit we need help to fix it. It starts with coming clean with ourselves, with God and with each other. It's the only way out of this mess.
I’m not talking about a fire-breathing, brimstone Bible God. No, he retired when his son took over the family business. I’m talking about a God who loves us too much to let us destroy ourselves, each other, and the planet with our self-blind, self-righteous hatred.
A God who stands ready to offer us unconditional love and help.
The antidote is love.
Love is the answer. Not the feeble, flawed and conditional love we dispense to people we like. Courageous, transcendent love that enables us to see and be seen, changes us from the inside out, and saves us from ourselves. Because we are powerless to save ourselves.
Love and hugs in a hazmat,