I believe there are two systems that determine our individual identity. Who we believe we are and what we choose to believe about who other people think we are.

There is an emerging trend of “life crafting” that is gaining widespread acceptance as a norm in society today. We see it often on social media platforms.  I’m not saying that these platforms are bad. They have been beneficial in many ways, sharing uplifting content, helping people build meaningful relationships, and providing a means to more effectively, market a skill set or business. The caution I am addressing is the discrepancies that can arise when others form opinions on who you are and the life you are living, based on an intentionally, edited for the public, version of that life.

Even when someone knows you personally and interacts with you if, you have a very visible social media presence, they have in part based their prepackaged formed opinion of who they think you are, and the life you are living on what you have already publicly allowed them to see and know about you.

I remember the days when a person’s identity and character were determined by the fruits of their actions. How they lived their life and the good that came of it. Life was lived, audience free with authentic integrity and purpose. Memories and precious fleeting moments were meant for you alone to be cherished and treasured, present in the moment., without the need to publicly, photograph, document, and publish them. 

I remember when, people we called friends, were people, with whom, we had invested enough quality time and trust in that we knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and still loved each other anyway.  People we would never give up on and they would never give up on us. True friends were those select few that you knew you could call in a crisis of any kind and they would have your back. These were the people you could reach out to in a private conversation and share, laugh and cry with, without judgment and without thousands of other people eavesdropping in, eager to comment on the matter. And somehow that was all we needed……. and it was enough.

So how is it, that we quantify our friends and followers by the thousands, And still see the suicide rates rising due, in  part, to the associated despair that stems from loneliness? Could it be, that we have put too much weight on our own self-worth and the worth of others through an aminated hand gesture, of a thumbs up or down?

In the race to be it all and have it all and to make sure everyone thinks we do, can we look in the mirror and see and love ourselves for who we really are, or do we even know how to find our true selves behind the obscured version we have crafted for a world of strangers.

Would we still seek out meaningful experiences and make lasting memories, if we just let our hearts take a picture and saved it there? Would we accept accountability and responsibility for our weaknesses and flaws and strive daily to be the best version of ourselves, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, If  God and the few people directly involved in that process were the only ones who were ever going to know about it? 

What would happen if we asked ourselves these three questions before we shared anything?

Will what I share, glorify me or God?

Will someone’s burdens be lighter today, because I shared?

Will what I choose to share add light or darkness to the world?

Will what I share, be the truth about who I am?

The danger in distorting and obscuring our authentic selves, behind that gauzy shroud that hides the “real” us, is that now we are looking back through the other side of that same shroud, distorting and, obscuring our view of everyone else.

” Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.”

” This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night, the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Act 1 Scene 3 ” Hamlet”

William Shakespeare

 OBSCURED  Is composed of a rigid foam face form, draped with natural fiber gauze and covered with a concrete, gypsum coating.  The solid rigid form represents our true, undeniable self as we really are. The light and airy quality of the gauze covering the face represents the inauthentic identity we create that obscures the perception of who we are, and how we see others.