Work In Progress

I have always had trouble watching videos of myself. Because I normally only view life one way – from inside of me looking out – it is too easy for me to become alarmed when my perspective is reversed. For this reason I was mildly dreading having to edit a taped, hour-long presentation I gave recently. If watching myself for five minutes could stir confusion and self-loathing, what would an hour do to me? I was somewhat aided by my own self-awareness. That is, I knew going in that the editing could be a problem, so I was prepared for the worse. Yet a strange thing happened. After twenty or thirty minutes of editing, of watching and listening to nothing but me, I became so used to the sound of my voice and the look of my face and the energy of my gestures that this person called Bill Kenower on my screen no longer seemed like me.

I knew he was me, of course, because I remembered being there and saying all those things, and yet while editing the video I felt very much as I do when I am editing something I have written. What’s on the page isn’t me, after all, it’s merely ideas I had and translated into written words. But the words aren’t me. Likewise, that person speaking wasn’t me, and not merely because the lecture existed only in the past. Rather, that person speaking was like something I had written – just an idea made real through gesture, word, and also flesh, bone, and blood. Yet it was not me, not the complete me, the me through which all those ideas spring, the me that must choose the words and gestures that the rest of the world sees and hears.

I am happy to report that I was content with what I saw. “I can work with this,” I thought – and I didn’t mean the video. A novel cannot be everything; it can only be one story, headed in one direction. So too a person cannot be everything. I don’t feel like that person on the video. I feel both tall and short, fat and skinny, old and young, man and woman, but I have chosen this form for this life, and it will do. Meanwhile, I will go back inside where I belong, back where the completeness of life can be known.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

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