I read something interesting the other day. It was a conversation about how many different versions exist of the same person.
We form opinions about people we encounter based on our interactions with them—sometimes good, sometimes bad—but likely different from someone else’s opinion of that same person. Today as a result of social media there’s an additional dynamic of having a friend that you may have never met in person, yet you’re comfortable engaging with the screen version of them.
How do you decide which version of them is the true one?
It’s pretty simple. If you’re searching for the real person their actions and patterns need to match their words. What’s the history look like?
Pay close attention to red flags. Victim patterns like theplucky little thing tryin’ to get by but somehow always ending up as the victim. Does the world owe them everything just for existing? Are you their servant? Do they isolate you from your friends and family? Do their stories stay consistent or do they change when they’re caught in a lie? Are they capable of empathy?
So what do you do if you see this kind of history? Run. Run as if your life depends on it. Because it might.
Predators are chameleons skilled at finding and exploiting weaknesses. At first they will be whatever they think you want or need them to be. Don’t be fooled into thinking someone is the version they’ve presented you with unless their actions and patterns match.
I’m presenting the version of the above photograph to you as a coneflower.
Visual clues can be found all around us if we take time to observe what’s different, not only in our environment, but in the people who can impact us.
It would be a grave mistake to assume that everything stays as it was—that time and events don’t alter our perceptions and guide our future responses.
I was reminded this morning of a boxer we had when I was a child. Neighborhood dogs seemed to target her, even though her breed was more than capable of dominating. One day she was beat-up, one too many times, by another dog. After that, she became the aggressor—a surprising change in a dog who’d been a gentle soul. She changed because events forced her to.
Glitter paths are a visual clue that, if read properly, provide information on how rough a patch of water is. For a sailor out on the water, it’s a valuable tool to use when plotting a course.
Adaptation is more important today than it ever was. Be observant to changes in your environment and never assume the person you knew then, is the same one you’ll meet today.
I must confess to spending a large amount of time watching and photographing these birds. Last year I was fortunate enough to observe the parents of a deceased magpie as they held a funeral for the chick they’d lost. A large crowd of these corvids gathered under a pine tree where the nest had been, and on the third day, I buried the body once the funeral appeared to have concluded.
Often the first thing said is that they kill other birds and steal the eggs. Sometimes. But they also clean up large amounts of roadkill and last year, played a roll in controlling the grasshopper epidemic that plagued us throughout summer.
Magpies are capable of understanding that a mirror image belongs to their own body—a cognitive behavior in animals so far only demonstrated by apes, dolphins, and elephants. Then again, they have an extremely large brain size to relative weight, even larger than the African Grey parrot.
I find them to be quite human excepting for their lack of artifice. And maybe that’s what I like about them. Unlike humans, they do what they do and theydon’t pretend to be somethingelse. I can accept that, even the cruel bits that I don’t like to observe.
It reminds me of a Mark Manson quote. It’s better to be hated for who you are than be loved for who you aren’t.
It’s that end-of-the-year-introspection time again! I’m coming down off the high of finishing (what they term winning) my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My latest novel is well on its way, and yes, I wrote the ending—I like to know where I’m going.
The image above is representative of how I live my life. I like to remember where I’ve been, but I don’t need to see the past in vivid detail. Human nature isn’t kind—it’s cruel and selfish—the sooner one loses the idea that it’s anything other than that, the safer you become.
I stood looking back on our tracks in a landscape softened and muffled by falling snow and thought, silence truly can be deafening. It’s the perfect landscape for me. It’s calm, uncluttered, and contains what’s essential for me to be happy.
What isn’t seen in the image is the support that stands behind me. This year has brought immense clarity and I’m grateful for the people that are in my life.
I’m happy. We’re happy. Find beauty in nature. It will never disappoint you.
While exploring, we came across a church that had been in existence for well over a century. I couldn’t help but think how the words spoken here might have nourished the souls of these early pioneers settling in an unforgiving landscape.
I photograph and I write—two different yet connected mediums. Images take me on a visual journey of my world, while written words resonate deeply on the inside.
Both can be lies.
From the scale, perspective, and editing of a photograph, to the idea that words can be a crafted illusion of what we want to be true—that writing them doesn’t make them so.
We need to be better stewards of the truth and guard against swallowing the bitterness of others.
It’s a crazy world out there, one where isolation and fear has created a few monsters, and neither photographs nor words tell the whole story. A little extra kindness never hurts while the truth unfolds.