- Posted by leon
- On 31/12/2018
Prelude: The Ins and the Outs
I have something to hide – something unsightly – and I’ve come to understand that part of my healing process involves a willingness to roll up my sleeves and expose what I’d rather keep private. You see, a skin malady has plagued me on and off for the past year-and-a-half, masking – perhaps better: exposing, or manifesting – something much deeper. Its stronghold is at the base of my hands and, to a lesser extent, at the base of my neck, so winter is kind to me: long sleeves and collars allow me to control my exposure to some degree, though this can come to an abrupt halt with the unbridled forthrightness of a child who asks me, in front of a table of adults (did they hide what they saw, or did they not notice?), why my hands are so red.
Not coincidentally, during this same time I’ve been mired in a deep despondency. Perhaps I should call it a high-functioning depression. Whatever term I may use, it involves a host of issues – many of them, of course, deeply personal – which is not to say private, a distinction whose importance will be clear shortly. Varied as these issues are, in one way or another, most of them fall under one, overarching rubric: the degree to which the human world tolerates – or perhaps, better still: fosters – untruth, leaves me in the deepest existential sadness.
This world is what the kabbalah calls עלמא דשקרא, the world of falsehood. People either don’t see things as they are or, alternatively, they are content to participate knowingly in the veneer of false pretense. I’m not sure which of the two leaves me more morose.
Also, not coincidentally, during this period I’ve barely posted anything personal on Facebook. In fact, I think that my last substantive post was in March, when I posted a clip of one of my children making – and working through – a mistake during a piano recital. I was trying to resist from within the very essence of Facebook, which is, in ways more than most of us would like to concede, so much of what we spend our time and energies doing in non-virtual reality: to stage snippets of ourselves and our lives in as if they are revealing, when in fact they reveal nothing other than how we want to imagine ourselves as seen by others.
This, The Skin Blog, is, in part, reflection on the divide – so often fulfilled by our skin – between what’s going on inside – and which we often keep unexposed – and the outer edge of that inner existence, the one that interfaces between it and the world. It is also part healing process, as I try to open up some of my blocked pores and let out some of what’s cooped up inside. Equally importantly, and more unorthodoxly, it is also part invitation to you to participate in an experiment of open and forthright communication. I’ll elaborate on this last point.
I want to encourage you – for your own sake and for mine – to step out from behind the one-way mirror through which we so often leer in security as we read something, be it someone’s facebook post or blog, a more formal and polished piece of writing, or an interview or documentary. Expose yourself, too. Be porous. If you do that, we might well explore what it is like to live in the mythic world that the midrash imagined of the first human beings who had translucent skin.