Self-Expression, Part 1

I have a hard time expressing myself. It’s true. Far too often I find myself in a pickle because I found myself dumbfounded or, more often, excessively revealing. Both extremes stem from the same source: my inability to properly measure the value of the message that I’m trying to deliver.

But, what is self-expression? It seems simple enough. Basically, it’s how someone communicates his/her personality, or something like that. We’re always doing it, whether through the clothes that we wear or by talking to yourself while waiting for the bus.

I think that there are instances when people are unable to properly express themselves and the reasons why vary widely. The problem stems from peoples’ self-expression being measured against the values set by the observers, too. 

Recently, a 9-year-old boy committed suicide after coming out to his classmates. Or, how’s about a principal installing a laundromat for students to use because they can’t afford to wash their clothes regularly? These are just two extremes of how self-expression is hindered. In the former case, a young boy is dead because he was bold enough to communicate who he truly is and it wasn’t received well by his classmates. In the latter, students were bullying other students who couldn’t afford to keep their clothes as clean as they might like. I understand that the students are expected to wear uniforms at the school, but I’m sure that the clothes they wear outside of school are treated similarly.

The young boy just wanted to express his sexuality. The high school students weren’t able to wear the clothes that they wanted to. In each case, self-expression was inhibited by outside forces. These outside forces were made poignant by observers.

When I look at myself in the mirror, it becomes easier to see the different ways in which I express myself. Here’s a quick list of what I see:

  • hairstyle
  • facial hair
  • glasses
  • iPhone
  • jewelry
  • tattoos
  • collared shirt and a t-shirt
  • jeans
  • forlorn look

What about the things that we can’t see in the picture? What about the text messages sent and received on the phone or the conversations had on it? What about the words spoken or the thoughts left, as yet, untold? What about the art created or the structures built? What about the beauty seen? What of all the intangible things that make up so much more of our story than the places we’ve been?

What are your thoughts on self-expression? Leave a comment below.


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