When I see a photo I always wonder if it’s real? Has it been doctored? Did they use a filter?
When I watch a video, I wonder if it’s staged. I try to find out if someone else was there filming. I want to see it from several different angles. I want louder, clearer audio. I want to know what happened just before the filming began, and just after. I want more concrete information.
I don’t watch the news anymore. Instead, I search the internet, sifting through for the stories I want to follow. I read 3 or 4 articles about 1 topic to try to get a balanced idea of what’s going on. And I hardly ever feel satisfied. I want more facts. I don’t want someone else’s interpretation of facts.
If I watch CNN, every single one of their stories is projected through their specific lens, leaning a certain way. Let us interpret this for you, our liberal viewer, through this familiar, comfortable lens. If I turn on FOX news, I know that every story is projected through another very specific lens, each with the same bias, the same bend. Let us interpret for you, conservative viewer, through this familiar, comfortable lens.
But the lens is dirty. All of the lenses are dirty. They are all clouded by interpretation and opinion. Nothing is believable any more. There is no truth, there is only opinion.
I am not at all concerned with other people’s opinions. I never really was, but my recent decision to remain flat-chested after the double mastectomy has solidified my almost complete disregard for other’s opinions.
Additionally, I have also realized that I don’t even care about my own opinions. My own opinions have been discolored-, by all of my experiences up until now, by the society that I live in, by the media, by the opinions of every other person I know, by everything I have ever ingested through all of my five senses.
My lens is not really my own. My past doctors every image. My bias photoshops every thought. I project them all through the same comfortable, familiar lens. And I realize now that sometimes the projection goes completely against my own way of thinking. My lens is faulty. It has been tampered with, by life, and it is not to be trusted!
I could ask someone else for their opinion, someone whose judgment I value, but they can only offer me their interpretation through their clouded, faulty lens. Their opinion doesn’t really matter. Neither does mine.
My practice is guiding me towards a factual existence. It is intense. I find myself questioning every thought I have. Is this an actual fact? Or is it a clouded opinion? Is there another angle? What happened just before the thought process began, and just after? Has it been doctored? Is it real?
If I stand here and look at a photo of myself; my graying hair, my wrinkling skin, my breast-less chest, what is my opinion of my own self? What lens do I use to interpret my own existence?
I take a deep breath in. I exhale. And I wipe the lens clean.