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Each day we wake and drape our skin with water and cleansers, clothes and adornments. We prepare the physical for the visual day ahead, choose layers through which we can blend in and stand out, project and manage perceptions. We cover and compliment the curves and construct of our body with acceptable limits. Colours and textures mark our affiliations to groups and greater beliefs in beauty and belonging, and out we step into the world.

Even if we think we don’t care, don’t subscribe to cultural norms of what is and isn’t acceptable to wear, still we know that our fashion sense sends signals far and wide. They communicate who we are and even potentially, how we think. And we pin our colours with care.

Our words too project. They adorn each connection we create that day, they drip the energy with meaning and significance, nuances that imply so much more than a string of letters pulled together for a word. With our words, we aim to consolidate the physical projection, back up the visual beauty with a more meaningful foundation. We speak and therefore we flow in identity, each sentence honing that which we are. We use the signifiers of the group, the lexicon of the tribe. And we belong.

And yet, we are somehow sometimes more mindful of the tangible that the intangible. It’s as if the ephemeral nature of the spoken word renders them somehow less significant than our choice of top or trouser. It would seem that we believe words ripple no further than between the lips that vibrate them and the ears that receive them, even though we can recount words held in our heart and soul. Somehow we have adopted the belief that expressing ourselves gives us free rein to employ any word to reify any emotion at any given time, no matter how fleeting, frantic or freakish. It’s become more important to speak not just from our core truth, but from any shade of truth we feel in any passing moment, irrespective of where the words land. Without realising, we craft our appearance more than we craft our expression.

Most of us would never get a tattoo on our skin, knowing that we change enough that we couldn’t be sure that a word or symbol would resonate with us for a lifetime. But we forget that words can tattoo others inside, out of sight, with an impression of who you really are. So what do you bring into being in voice? What do you drape your connections with? What beauty do you send into the world in waves of sound daily?

Inspired by this quote:

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8 thoughts on “on skin

    • Golly! Thanks! Not sure that anything I muster can be called ‘eloquence’ but I am grateful you think it can! Thank you so much for taking the time to read, let alone comment.

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