People From Behind

Sensky_People From BehindThere’s something about seeing people from behind. A picture where people’s backs are facing you is somehow more interesting than when their faces are visible. When you don’t have the whole picture, there is intrigue. There is a feeling of mystery and an alluring veil of the unknown. You are left to wonder about their stories.

How long have they known each other? Look at how they hold hands so sweet, what is their relationship like?

You grasp at clues from their appearance.

That’s a bold leopard coat, she seems like she’d be cool to talk to…

Or maybe you simply admire their backpack and imagine what lies inside, what weighs them down.

These thoughts and questions keep your mind turning and curiosity alive. But if you can look into that person’s eyes, see the lines on their face and the expression in their wrinkles, the smoke lifts. Your expectations from what you saw behind face the reality before you. When you have the whole picture, you still may not know who these strangers are but that won’t stop you from thinking you do. You “figure” them out, and put them in a category. Suddenly, your stories and wonderings morph into ideas, which steadily crumble into facts.

For better or worse, we live by our facts.

Humans make guesses, draw conclusions and will always attempt to understand even though the answers forever lie just outside our reach. When it is about people, this desire to understand translates into the need to peg someone down. The way they present themselves, what they say or how they react all factors into our judgments. We crave the security that comes with this classification, even if it only serves to alienate us more.

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Because how truly can one represent themselves? How many times have you wished you didn’t say something or kicked yourself for not behaving the right way. Impressions are always distorted because, whether we admit it or not, we all have the same worries.

We all worry that we don’t know what we are doing and about what others think of us. We worry about saying the wrong thing and having meaningful friendships. Our differences are beautiful but our sameness is what connects us and what makes our facts merely assumptions by which we operate.

When we realize this, it becomes easier to believe in what lies on the other side of the picture and to revel in the small thrill of simply wondering about someone. This practice reminds us that we never can truly grasp a person and that’s exactly why we should open ourselves more, rather than hiding in false assurance behind our perceptions. Because as we zoom in, our perceptions change as more questions arise.

The same can be said even when we stare out our own reflection. The more we see, the more we realize we don’t know.

So that’s why maybe sometimes it is better to leave more to the imagination, to pay attention to that which makes us wonder, as trite as that may sound.

Today, I hope to inspire a bit of that magic through a new post series. From time to time, I will post photos of strangers from behind, just as a reminder to live in the space between what we think we know and what we wonder about. This murky area may feel strange but my hope is that it takes you outside of yourself and sparks your imagination.

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