Paraphrasing a quote I read-If you act like a certain person, after some time you become that person. I have also read many books purporting the value of being true to oneself. Hence, there is a dichotomy between projecting an image and staying true to oneself.
We live in a world where the image supersedes substance.
Image creation, image projection, image control, these are new age buzz terms revolving around creating an appearance, an illusion, an impression.
Image creation and control businesses are booming these days. Stars are being created overnight with little, marginal or negative talent. Case in point, reality television stars with an international fan following. Interestingly enough, their only talent being a ceaseless and impressively seamless supply of profane vocabulary. Or bloggers whose fashion lexicon includes a repetitive use of the words “chic” “stylish” and “to die for” and yet their Twitter and Facebook following has far surpassed the actual designers they are blogging about. Or for that matter most people in the entertainment industry whose “talent” is an inebriated night out on the (in)famous Sunset Strip or a one night stand with an underage Lolita or putting their fallopian tubes on overdrive by producing kids that would be akin to a bombshell being dropped on the policies of Premier Wen Jiabao.
Projection of an image has become crucial for people in the public eye for example in the entertainment industry, sports, politics or even religious leaders. Even the Pope is seen wearing Prada loafers! To give him the benefit of doubt, he lives in Italy, so most likely it is his personal style rather than projection of an image!
To some degree we are all in the public eye at one point of time or the other. We present a certain image to the various people we deal with during the day. Most of the times, the image varies from person to person. It is not an image that is uniformly consistent. We present an eager, ready to take on the world image to our bosses, a workaholic image to our co-workers, a sexy, coquettish image to our new love interest, and if you are a lawyer, a ball**** image to your clients!
For mortals like us, even though our images may not be meticulously managed by a high-priced agent, we are still projecting an image.
If we are projecting an image then how much of that image is a projection and how much of it is a true representation of our true selves, or is it an amalgamation of both. Or could it be that at some point the projected image takes over and the true self merely becomes a caricature. Could it even be that we actually become the projected image and loose ourselves?
I sometimes take an introspective look at myself. By profession I am a lawyer and I am mandated to project a certain image. An image of being aggressive, fearless, combative and for a lack of a better term a bitch!
My true self is contrary to the projected image; I am creative, sensitive and shy.
I have noticed that since I spend a greater part of the day projecting an image, it has tendency to creep into my personal life as well, where the image is not needed. It makes me wonder, have I allowed my projected image to perform a hostile takeover of myself. Does my true self exist anymore? Or have I simply become the projected image?
Since, I am writing this introspective piece there is probably still hope. Possibly a conjunction of the self and the projected image. Or on a higher, more spiritual plane letting the Self shine such that the Self is the Image.