rituals (self-portrait)

i shave everyday except on saturday & holidays.  sometimes, if i’ve spent the day at home, but intend on going out in the evening, i won’t shave until late in the afternoon.  i do not ‘wear’ the 3 day beard look well; it makes me look haggard & hobo-like, maybe if that look had been popular when i was younger it would’ve been alright, but i’ve always liked the feel of my smoothly shaven cheek (as have others.)

this morning, as i was intent upon my ritual, i stopped halfway through & thought about dick tracy’s arch-enemy prune face as well as herb alpert’s 1965 album “whipped cream & other delights”, letting my mind wander round & round, a whisk in a metal bowl.

i imagine that we all have morning rituals:  pour the coffee, listen to the news, read the paper, go online, make the bed, walk the dogs, feed the dogs, brush your teeth, shower, shave (the three esses in a nod to my army dad), dress (all in a pre-ordained order, heaven forbid it should change or one part of it occur out-of-sequence, then your whole morning is ‘ruined’, alas).

but today, today when i actually looked at myself in the mirror & i mean really looked, i caught a glimpse of someone else.  obviously not another person, but someone like me, but not.  i looked different somehow or maybe i just saw myself differently or in a ‘new light’ as they like to say (trite phrases ‘r’ us, ooh, that’s one too…) & i thought about the nature of the self-portrait (auto-portrait, a term i like even better than ‘self’) & it made me realize that the grand tradition of artists painting themselves (besides being a readily available model, good practice, etc. & so forth) stems from those moments when you see yourself & for once, just at that moment, you are able to see more of you, the inside you, & you want to capture that moment.

so i did.  i set down the razor blade.  i dried my hands.  i turned into the bedroom & my desk & picked up the camera & returned to the mirror & fixed the camera’s settings (it couldn’t have taken but a few seconds) & snapped the two photos posted here.

if you know me & even if you don’t, or perhaps we’re only online acquaintances, i believe you’re seeing me for the first time, like this.  it’s a slightly altered version of robert patrick; thoughts swirling, ideas forming, a jigger of emptiness (one can’t be ‘on’ all of the time), a brewing of difference & indifference.  rituals oftentimes keep you from self-examination (the dreariness of the same) but aren’t they the door to a more thorough understanding of ourselves?


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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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